In April of this year, Sprint’s standard phone leasing agreement worked liked this: the customer paid off their new phone or tablet in monthly installments. These payments were made over 24-months.
This was done so that the customer didn’t have to buy their smartphone device at full price upfront. It was also done to keep the customer “locked” in for 2 years.
Depending on how much the smartphone device cost, the 24 payments within the 24 months should have the smartphone in the free and clear. If there was still a balance due, you would pay the device off if you wanted to own it completely and keep it. Once you own it, the device would now be yours to sell or trade for a new one.
The leasing options depended on which device you went with. You can check out the types of phones and leases here.
Then came the 18-month lease option
Sprint then decided to throw in a special 18-month lease option reserved only for high-end devices. These were called iPhone for Life or Galaxy Forever agreements. Essentially, the same rules in a shorter amounts of time applied. However, these special plans came with options to upgrade to a newer model (this is where the iPhone FOR LIFE and Galaxy FOREVER names come in) after 12 consecutive payments (read: good standing with Sprint).
On these 18-month plans, you could upgrade at the end of the lease term, purchase your phone (at additional charge) to own it outright, or you could return your phone and cancel Sprint service entirely.
The new standard
The 18-month lease options must have worked out well for Sprint. They’ve decided it should be available to all smartphones, not just the high end devices.
Here is how it works:
If you get on the Flex plan (with good credit), you get to take advantage of the 18-month lease option with upgrades after 12 months of consecutive payments.
The old 24-month installment option is technically gone. However, after 18-months, if you see yourself actually sticking with the device for the long haul and it isn’t yet paid off, you can sign up with Flex (if you have not already) and make 6 additional payments or pay off the balance.
That's basically it. 18 months is the lease standard for all. Keep reading and find out if this is for you.
Is this new lease option any good?
Yes. If you are someone who knows you like to switch devices every two years or you want the latest device as soon as it comes out, having the option to pay off a device sooner with the option to upgrade sooner is better.
If you are someone who really just likes to pay things off and keep devices as their own, longer, this works out well, too.
Finally, if you are trying to build credit with Sprint, having the option to upgrade after making consecutive payments like their Sprint Forward plan, can help you move from one category of choices to another, the Flex plan.
Overall, these changes to the Sprint’s plans and deals seem to be trying to make life easier for customers, current and new.
Want to learn more about Sprint deals and options? Check out our deals page with more information about Sprint.
Don't forget you can always compare cell phone plans throughout the site to find the perfect plan for you!
Sprint is considered one of the "big four" carriers in the United States. Sprint's many retail locations are scattered throughout the country, and the company is headquartered in Overland Park, KS.
- Network Sprint operates a nationwide 3G/4G CDMA network on the 1900 MHz PCS band. Sprint's LTE band frequency will support bands 25 and 41.
- Coverage: Sprint consistently ranks #4 in national network coverage tests.
- Where to Buy: Sprint sells their plans and phones online and at their over 4,500 stores.
- Bring Your Own Phone to Sprint: To bring your phone to Sprint, it must be unlocked and have previously run on CDMA technology. Find out more about bringing your own phone here.
- Tethering: Customers who purchase Sprint's Unlimited Freedom Plan will get 10 GB/month for tethering purposes. Customers without the Unlimited Freedom Plan can purchase network data for $15/1GB.
- Prepaid: Sprint's prepaid arm is called Sprint Forward.
- Taxes & Fees: Sprint will charge state taxes and fees on top of your monthly cell phone plan cost.
Fact: Sprint's origins stretch all the way back to 1899 (!) with the founding of Brown Telephone Company in rural Kansas. Learn more about Sprint via our carrier review.