Sprint launches 2-for-1 leasing promotion for Samsung's Galaxy S8

Samsung's Galaxy S8 hit shelves in the U.S. Friday after a strong showing of preorders.

Sprint launched an ambitious promotion in an effort to leverage Samsung’s latest flagship phone.

Samsung is spending roughly the same amount to market the new Galaxy S8 as it did to market the S7, according to recent reports, but has stepped up overall ad spending to help recover from the Galaxy Note 7 disaster. Preorder sales of the Galaxy S8, which hit shelves in the U.S. Friday, were outpacing those of the Galaxy S7 two weeks ago, the company said.

And the nation’s fourth-largest carrier is hoping to leverage the high-end phone to gain ground in an extremely competitive market.

Sprint launched a two-for-one deal enabling users to pay $31.25 a month to lease two devices when they activate a new line. The promotion will last only one week and will enable customers to upgrade to a new Galaxy device any time after 12 lease payments under the carrier’s Galaxy Forever plan.

The S8 and S8 Plus support HPUE (High Performance User Equipment), an up-and-coming technology the carrier demonstrated at a media event in New York City in December. HPUE is a handset-based technology that allows Sprint to extend its 2.5 GHz coverage by up to 30% per cell, including indoors. Sprint co-led the development of HPUE in the Global TDD LTE Initiative (GTI), with companies like China Mobile, SoftBank, Qualcomm Technologies, Samsung, ZTE, Broadcom, MediaTek, Skyworks Solutions, Alcatel, Motorola, LG and Qorvo.

“The launch of GS8 is an important milestone for both the Sprint network and the global HPUE ecosystem,” said Sprint CTO John Saw in a press release announcing the new promotion. “With HPUE, our customers can expect even better coverage and faster data speeds, particularly indoors where HPUE can extend the reach of our 2.5GHz service. This is a tremendous innovation that makes GS8 an even more compelling choice for customers.”

Indeed, the specs of Samsung’s latest phone have become a focal point for U.S. carriers. T-Mobile announced that the S8 is the first handset to leverage the carrier’s 4x4 MIMO, carrier aggregation and 256 QAM technologies, and the phone supports LTE-U, which both Verizon and T-Mobile plan to deploy.

The Galaxy S8 marks an escalation in the fight for the high end of the smartphone market, IHS Market said this week. Samsung’s total cost to make the phone is $307.50, the market research firm said, which is $43.34 more than the cost of making the Galaxy S7.

“The higher total BOM costs for the Galaxy S8 seem to be part of a trend that reflects something of an arms race in features among Apple, Samsung and other phone manufacturers, as they all try to add new and distinguishing hardware features,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services for IHS Markit, in an IHS press release. “While there are new non-hardware features in the Galaxy S8, such as a virtual assistant called Bixby, from a teardown perspective the hardware in the Galaxy S8 and that of the forthcoming new iPhone is expected to be very similar.”