Sprint undercuts T-Mobile, offers iPhone 6s for $1/month in leasing payments with an iPhone trade-in

That was fast. Sprint (NYSE: S) is hoping to best rival T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) with its own trade-in program for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) newest iPhones and is offering a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $1 per month in leasing payments and a 16 GB iPhone 6s Plus for $5 per month with the trade-in of an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The Sprint offer, which will be available for a limited time, comes a day after T-Mobile said it would offer the 16 GB iPhone 6s for $5 a month and the 16 GB iPhone 6s Plus for $9 per month in device payments when customers trade in their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

Sprint will also offer a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $10 per month in leasing payments and a 16 GB iPhone 6s Plus for $14 per month with the trade-in of an iPhone 5s. Sprint's new offer is part of its "iPhone Forever" leasing program, which allows new and upgrade-eligible Sprint customers to get the newest iPhone as soon as it is available if they trade in their old iPhone and start a new lease.

Higher memory configurations of the iPhone 6s are also available in the Sprint trade-in program, with the 64 GB iPhone 6s at $5.7 per month and the 128 GB model available for and $10.53 per month. For the iPhone 6s Plus, the 64 GB model will cost $9.77 per month and the 128 GB model will cost $14.53 with an iPhone 6 trade-in.

Sprint spokeswoman Jennifer Walsh told FierceWireless the carrier's offer does not have an end date right now, but will be "available for a limited time and we are continuously evaluating our offers."

Walsh also said that the offer makes financial sense because the iPhones customers trade in can be refurbished, and presumably sold through Sprint's prepaid carriers, for insurance programs or in other resale channels. She also indicated that once customers renew their lease with Sprint they will likely be paying more than $1 month. "The $1/month lease offer, available for a limited time, requires a trade-in of an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus that can be refurbished," she said. "The promotional price is only for a customer's first lease on iPhone Forever, i.e., once they upgrade next, their lease rate will be based on the current offer at the time they get a new phone."

"Once again it is clear that the best place to get the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is Sprint," Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement. "New and existing customers who trade in their current iPhone 6 can now get a device for only $1/month, making it the best way to get the iPhone -- and a yearly upgrade is included in this charge. We are certain that more people will continue to switch to Sprint because of the great service and value we offer."

Through Dec. 31, customers on any other carrier who switch to Sprint or existing Sprint customers who are upgrade-eligible and turn in any other smartphone will get a promotional rate of $15 per month on a 16 GB iPhone 6s or $19 per month on a 16 GB iPhone 6s Plus. Customers who choose not to trade in an existing smartphone when they buy a new iPhone can get a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $22 per month and a 16 GB iPhone 6s Plus for $26 per month at Sprint.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has said on Twitter that the carrier's iPhone pre-orders are up 30 percent from a year ago. In the wake of that, T-Mobile said yesterday that under its "Jump! On Demand" device leasing program, if customers trade in an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ or Note 5, starting tomorrow they can purchase a 16 GB iPhone 6s and pay $5 per month in leasing payments. If customers trade in an iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy S5 or Note 4, the price jumps to $10. Or for almost any other smartphone trade-in the price is $15 per month. With those same trade-ins at T-Mobile, the price for a 16 GB iPhone 6s Plus would go from $9 to $14 to $19 per month. 

Under T-Mobile's program, the monthly device cost for the new iPhones drops by $1 for each increase in internal memory, depending upon the various trade-in options.   

Importantly, in order to get the T-Mobile discount from the trade-ins, customers need to own their existing device. Without a trade-in, the lease payment is $20 per month for the 16 GB iPhone 6s and $24 for a 16 GB iPhone 6s Plus.

Additionally, T-Mobile said that if customers hang on to their iPhone after their 18 month Jump! On Demand agreement is up, they can get a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $524, or $125 less than the full retail price.

Under AT&T Mobility's (NYSE: T) "Next 24" equipment installment plan, customers can get a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $21.67 per month and customers can upgrade after they make 24 installment payments. AT&T also offers other Next options, but they come with higher per-month installment charges. Under Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) device payment option, customers can get a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $27.08 per month, but must pay off the full cost of their device before they can upgrade.

For more:
- see this Sprint release
- see this BGR article

Related articles:
T-Mobile offers iPhone 6s for as low as $5/month in device payments if customers trade in an iPhone 6
Apple: iPhone 6s, 6s Plus sales on pace to surpass last year's 10M in opening weekend
AT&T not threatened by Apple's handset installment plan
Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program should worry carriers for 1 big reason: it makes them less relevant
Apple counters carriers' EIP with iPhone Upgrade Program: new phone every year starting at $32/month
Sprint hits back at T-Mobile with its own $15/month iPhone promotion, says customers can upgrade to a new iPhone any time


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