Report: Sprint discontinues leasing program for Android phones

Source: Flickr user Chris Potter

Sprint has discontinued its leasing program for Android handsets, according to a recent report from Wave7 Research.

“Sprint no longer sells Android smartphones on lease, having ended (Samsung Galaxy) S7 leasing in recent days,” Wave7 said in a note to subscribers. “Leasing was available with the (Samsung Galaxy) Note 5, but Sprint discontinued sales of the Note 5 in August around the time of the Note 7 launch.”

The nation’s fourth-largest carrier continues to extend its leasing plan for newer iPhones including the 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus.

A Sprint spokeswoman declined to confirm the move, opting instead to tout the carrier’s equipment installment plan. “Sprint offers $0 down (for qualified customers), interest free option on our installment billing product which is on all handsets,” the spokeswoman told FierceWireless via email. “We work to ensure that our customers have as many options as possible to pay for their device in the most affordable way.”

CEO Marcelo Claure said a year ago that Sprint would move entirely to a device-leasing model by the end of 2016, doing away with two-year contracts. The carrier finally dropped two-year contracts in January in favor of the leasing model, but it resurrected contracts just one month later.

Device leasing has provided yet another mechanism to help Sprint regain its financial footing. In November Sprint said it would receive $1.1 billion in cash from a handset leasing company that had been established by parent company SoftBank and other investors that was designed to put the financing of leased devices off Sprint’s balance sheet and provide the company with more liquidity. Sprint has used a similar model to leverage its network assets.

The financial benefits of leasing apparently haven’t been compelling enough for Sprint to continue to pursue the leasing model, however – at least not with Android phones.

“Sprint has been slowly moving away from leasing, as in late June, Sprint discontinued leasing with the popular GS7 Edge and the Galaxy Forever upgrade program – which was available for four months – was also discontinued,” Wave7 wrote. “Leasing was not available with new devices launched by Sprint in recent months, including the iPhone SE, the LG G5, and the HTC 10.”

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