Looking for a free iPhone with your two-year carrier contract that isn’t a three-year-old model with a small screen, slow processor, and weak camera? If you’re open to switching to Sprint — even temporarily — you’re in luck.
Sprint is offering a new promotion of $100 off any phone when you switch your number from a competing carrier. Since the entry-level 16GB iPhone 5S is just $99, that brings the price down to a big fat $0. And Sprint already offers the 16GB iPhone 5C for free, so you could optionally upgrade to the 32GB model and get that one free as well.
And that’s a pretty good deal.
In fact, if you wanted to be a little bit evil, get a new iPhone cheap, and not stay with Sprint, you might even be tempted to go the full nine yards, pick up the new iPhone, switch to Sprint, pay $0 for the device, and cancel after 14 days. Early cancellation at Sprint only costs you up to $350 per line, so you’d essentially be getting a new iPhone for just $350, plus any additional activation fees of course.
Not too shabby. But you wouldn’t do that, would you?
Prices like these will make the new iPhone sell well in the U.S., where it already has great market share. The more interesting question for me is if these prices are any indication of what carriers like China Mobile are going to do overseas, where Apple’s share has been sinking.
If carriers in Asia and Europe adopt similar strategies, and can switch customers from the habit of buying their device to essentially leasing it on contract, Apple could really make some hay over there as well — where it needs it the most.