Over the past few years, US carriers have been changing up the way they sell us smartphones … and we want to say “for the better,” but is it? At least, while long-term service contracts and the subsidized prices that go with them have fallen out of fashion, phone-buying is still far from a straightforward process, with installment plans and leases continuing to distract us from those cold, hard sticker prices. But while things might not be perfect, at least we can all agree that we’re better off without contracts, right? Well, we thought we were at a consensus, especially after holdouts AT&T and Sprint finally stopped offering two-year contracts last month. But now one of them is already relapsing, as Sprint falls off the wagon and begins signing up new users on-contract again.
As of today, Sprint will hook you up with a new phone for full price, let you pay that out over two years of installments, lease the phone, and now once again get the phone at a subsidized on-contract price.
Why the change of heart? A Sprint spokesperson says the carrier’s been listening to its customers as it made the decision to bring back contracts, and is happy to be the network offering users the most options when it comes to how they get a new phone. We tend to like it when we have more options, but is more necessarily better in this case?
Before we go and get really cynical about why a carrier would return to the bad old days of contracts, maybe it’s worth asking you how you’d prefer to buy a phone? Cash upfront? A little each month? Or were you seriously hurting for the days of pretending phones cost next to nothing and just paying way too much for your service each month? Let us know in the comments.