In an apparent reversal of its previous position, Sprint apparently will not be eliminating the option of two-year contracts from its repertoire of phone plans for new customers. Sprint’s CEO made a widely-publicized statement earlier this year that the company would be killing two-year contracts by year’s end.
It was believed that, with the start of 2016, AT&T would be the only one of the big four carriers to still offer the two-year contract option that was once a staple of most carriers’ phone plans. Over two years ago, T-Mobile famously dropped the option, and Verizon recently followed suit, although that carrier still allows existing customers to purchase phones on a two-year contract plan.
Reports earlier this year state that Sprint would be the next carrier to eliminate the practice.
“The $199, that is a thing of the past. The industry has changed. Consumers used to pay $199 for a phone, but they used to pay a much higher monthly fee. So I think one of the great things about the industry is we have unbundled it,” says Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, referring to the typical cost of a smartphone on a two-year subsidized contract.
Although Claure’s statement was not an official confirmation of the removal of the two-year contract option, it was widely reported in the media and believed that 2016 would signal the end of the carrier’s subsidized contract plans.
Now, it appears that may not be the case, based on a new report.
“Sprint continues to offer customers choices to obtain their new device in a way that best fits their budget,” a Sprint spokesperson respondedby email when contacted to confirm the move.
Among the choices listed, alongside purchasing the phone at retail, leasing the smartphone and participating in an installment or plan was the alternative of signing a two-year contract.