As the majority of people have heard, Sprint has a phone plan for people who love iPhones. Particularly people who like to get the new iPhone every time one comes out. They advertise that for just $15/month you can upgrade to a new iPhone every time one is released (which is every year). What they pitch sounds simple, but let’s take a closer look at EXACTLY what it is. All different plans have their ups and downs and it just depends on what it is you need in a plan. The plan below may be perfect for some, and not so much for others.
First, Let’s Start with the $15/mo they Advertise
This $15/month is only applicable on 2 conditions:
- Turn in a working Smartphone. This means a smartphone that is in working condition (everything works and no broken screen) and is currently the phone being used on your line. So you can’t just bring in an old phone you have lying around that isn’t being used, they want this phone to be active on your plan. (This is what I was told when I went in to do the iPhone Forever)
- You get the 16GB iPhone
The more accurate condition would be “You can get $7 off your iPhone Forever plan by turning in a working smartphone in good condition currently being used on your plan”
Monthly Lease Breakdown shows GB = Normal Pice ($7 Discount Price)
iPhone 6 & 6s
- 16GB = $22($15)
- 65GB = $26.77 ($19.77)
- 128GB = $31.53 ($24.53)
iPhone 6+ & 6+s
- 16GB = $26 ($19)
- 65GB = $30.77 ($23.77)
- 128GB = $35.53 ($28.53)
*As of 9/24/15 these prices are for both the 6 and 6s versions, there is a possibility this could change in the future.
…price required to pay each month will vary depending on the exact type of iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus model you purchase, and the quality of the iPhone 6 that is traded in. With that in mind, customers can expect to pay around $5.77/month (64GB) or $10.53 (128GB) when purchasing an iPhone 6s, and $9.77/month (64GB) or $14.53 (128GB) when buying an iPhone 6s Plus. Those who trade in an iPhone 5s will also be able to participate in the offer, but can expect slightly higher monthly rates due to the older model of the iPhone.
Second, ‘Leasing’ Your Phone
This is where it can get kind of complicated. The lease you sign up for is $22/21 months or $15/22 months. If you are going to keep your iPhone for the entire lease, you need to consider a couple things.
- The idea of ‘iPhone Forever’ is that you will upgrade when the new iPhones are released. Apple has been consistent about releasing a new phone every year. This means you will never actually reach the end of your ‘lease’ because the lease is priced at 2 years
- If you are planning on keeping your device, don’t get the iPhone Forever plan. It will be cheaper to buy it outright or to do the 24 month Easy Pay
Using iPhone Forever as it is intended to be used
Say I get the 6s here in a couple weeks. I do the iPhone forever for $22/month, and as usual Apple releases a new phone about this time next year. When I upgrade to that new phone I will have paid around $264 to lease the phone. Which saves me $385 from buying it.
$22 x 12 months = $264 | The 16GB 6s is $649 full price, and the 6 is only $100 cheaper
This basically means you are getting a new iPhone every year at less than half the cost of the full price iPhone. If you think about it, it’s the same as if you bought the phone full price, and turned around and sold it for about $350. The difference being you get the discount monthly, not having to fork out a huge chunk of money at the beginning and then selling it at the end
If you keep your lease for the entire 21/22 months
$22 x 21 months = $462 (1 year 9mo) | As of 9/24/15 the full price of an iPhone 6 16GB is $549
So I am saving $87 & I have to return the phone to Sprint because I leased instead of buying. If you decided to keep your phone at the end of the lease, kiss the $87 you saved goodbye and throw on another $100. It’s $187.00 to purchase your device at the end of the lease and keep it, but that price does not include any applicable fees, taxes, or service credit/adjustments.
OR $22 x 21 months = $462/21 months (1 year 9mo) | As of 9/24/15 the full price of an iPhone 6s 16GB is $649
So I am saving $187 *Since these phones don’t release until tomorrow, I don’t know how much it would cost to purchase the device at the end of the lease
At the end of your lease/when you upgrade to that new iPhone, Sprint is going to want their phone back. They are not going to want their phone back if it is broken in any way. You will end up having to pay full price to buy the phone, or the cost of fixing the phone. So obviously, the answer to this (other than you being careful not to murder your phone, and a really good case, LifeProof anyone?) is insurance.
When it comes to insurance, you have 2 options…
Sprint’s TEP (Total Equipment Protection) plan, which they will likely add onto your account anyway when you get the phone (Just call and cancel it if you go a different route)
- $9/month throughout your plan
- Coverage for loss, theft, damage and malfunction
- $200 Deductible
- $99 for 2 years
- Coverage for damage and malfunction
- Two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of $79
- When I read the fine print, it appear this coverage can be transferred a single time. So… I’m thinking you might be able to transfer to your new iPhone i.e. (Buy iPhone, use 1 year of coverage. Upgrade to new iPhone, switch over for the 2nd year of coverage)
So the differences here should be obvious
- Sprint is $108 per year, Apple is $99 for 2 years (and transferable?)
- Sprint covers loss and theft, Apple does not
- Sprint required a $200 deductible when you need to fix your phone, Apple requires $79
In my opinion, I would opt out of your Sprint coverage and go for the AppleCare+ coverage. Unless you think you will lose your phone or it will be stolen. Otherwise most people just have to worry about breaking the screen and such. In which case AppleCare+ is your best option.
Fourth, Sprint’s Loophole on the Idea of ‘Forever’
So recently Mouse Print’s Edwin Dworsky points out that in this case, “forever” only means until the end of the lease.
iPhone Forever: Applies to upgrade on lease. Upgrade does not include same generation model iPhone. Does not guarantee monthly payment amount, phone selection, or service plan rates. Contingent upon product availability. Not transferable. $15 Promo Requires trade in of smartphone in good, working condition that is not on current lease or Sprint Easy Pay.
So you get to keep your current $15/mo or $22/mo for now, but by the time they have the iPhone 7, there is a chance that they could up the price of leasing to more. It hasn’t been said it will happen, and you never know for sure until it does, but here is an example example:
You get the 16GB iPhone 6s at $15/mo. and when the iPhone 7 comes out, Sprint has decided it’s monthly lease rate for the 16GB iPhone 7 will be $25/mo. You can upgrade to the 7, and will not owe on the remaining lease you had for you 6s, but the new lease comes with a new price.
However, if you don’t want to change to the new price you can keep your phone until the end of your lease and either buy it, or get a new phone that isn’t on a lease. So there are options.
Fifth, Don’t Forget About That $36 Activation Fee!
I should also mention that I am not sure what “upgrades are included in your lease price” means. They may make it sound as if you can go in there, hand them your old phone, walk out with a new one and not pay anything.
However, there is a $36 activation fee each time you upgrade your iPhone. Currently Sprint will reimburse your activation fee in 1-2 billing cycles if you get your “S” phone by November 5th.
Remember that each time you upgrade you might have to some new accessories. In the case of the 6 vs 6s it appears so far that the majority of accessories will work for both because there hasn’t been a drastic size change. However on something as specific as a LifeProof case, you might end up having to buy a new one. So if buy high end cases and screen protectors, you may be buying them new every year too.