The USA mobile industry is changing. Is this happening for the good? We are not quite sure yet, but we do know we are seeing alterations many of us were asking for for a long time. One of the biggest problems with America’s cellular companies was the bureaucratic way in which they handled businesses, tying us to long-term contracts or forcing us to pay very high amounts of cash for smartphones.
The change began when T-Mobile decided to get rid of contracts and offer smartphones (and other products) on monthly payments. All other carriers had to compete and followed suit with device installment plans, but it wasn’t until earlier this month that Verizon decided to actually kill contracts. Today Sprint finds itself trying to catch up and has announced the Now Network will no longer offer 2-year contracts by the end of 2015.
Instead, Sprint will offer only its Easy Pay and leasing options (of course, you can also buy devices at full price). Not sure what those are? Let’s give you the rundown.
Sprint Easy Pay
With Sprint Easy Pay, you pretty much pay for your smartphone’s full price over the course of 2 years. You would just have to make a down payment and walk out with your phone. The remaining balance will be charged on a monthly basis for exactly 2 years. There’s no finance fees and the phone will be completely yours once you are done paying it.
This system is very simple, and it’s likely the most affordable way to go for some of you. The name of the program is quite self-explanatory; you would be renting a handset from Sprint. The monthly payment is lower and there is no need for a down payment, but you won’t own the device at the end of the lease. The phone will have to be returned (unless you pay an extra fee specified in your terms of service). The company also just announced a new iPhone Forever plan, which allows you to upgrade to the newest iPhone as soon as it is available. Just in case you are into hat phone.
With that, the only major carrier that seems to be supporting contracts is AT&T. That is, unless they make an announcement soon. And the carrier also offers its respective installment and early upgrade plans, so this is really no big deal at this point.
I happen to be very excited about switching to a model in which we no longer have to depend on service contracts. As consumers we get more freedom to switch our services and manage our handsets. Don’t like something? Just pay off your smartphone and take it to the next carrier! Now we need to work on getting all phones unlocked. Many carrier-specific devices are now free of SIM restrictions, but not all.
What do you guys think? Are you liking the new business model USA carriers are adopting, or did you like your subsidized smartphones?