Sprint Flex Plan: Is it Worth It?

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Considering an upgrade to the latest model smartphone through one of the Sprint plans?

The Sprint Flex lease program is the carrier's version of the early upgrade program. This plan allows you to upgrade any time after 12 monthly payments, or continue paying and eventually own your device.

Stay tuned for a Sprint Flex lease review as well as a look at cheaper options.

Sprint Phone Upgrade Plans

Sprint plans consist of two types of installment agreements for those who want the latest devices.

Monthly Installments

  • Standard 24-month payment agreement
  • Possible down payment depending upon device and credit standing
  • Own your phone after 24 payments
  • Extra charge of $5 per month for the option of upgrading after 12 monthly installments

Sprint Flex

Flex is a lease program that can be converted to a purchase if you wish. It can be a bit confusing due to the different options, so here's a breakdown of the basics.

iPhone Forever, Galaxy Forever, & Sprint Deals

  • 18-month payment agreement on one of the two most recent iPhone or Galaxy S series models, or one of the devices that Sprint offers as a Sprint Deal (these change)
  • No extra monthly charge

Any Other Phone

If you choose a device other than iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or one of the Sprint Deals, you can use Flex, however, you'll pay $5 extra per month depending on the phone you choose.

Once you've signed the 18-month installment agreement you've got several options:

  1. Upgrade after 12 monthly payments or after 50% of your remaining balance is paid by trading in your eligible device in good, functional condition.
  2. Finish the 18-month lease then turn in your device
  3. Make the 18 installments and then pay a lump sum to own your phone
  4. Make 18 payments then finance the remainder to own your phone
  5. Continue making payments on your leased phone (without owning the device)

All upgrades are subject to a $30 upgrade fee.

You have to be careful because if you don't make a decision at the end of your 18-month leasing term you will continue to be charged.

As BGR reports, these lease payments do not count toward the remaining balance on your phone. You must opt for the Sprint purchase price option by paying one lump sum for the balance or by opting in to make six more payments to own your device.

Is Sprint Flex Worth It?

If you're set on the idea of a brand-new phone every year or two you'll need to be able to sort out which upgrade option makes more sense.

The answer to that depends on your goal (leasing or owning) as well as the device and where you buy it.

  • Monthly payments can vary depending upon whether you're buying directly from the Sprint website, a Sprint retail store, or a Sprint partner like Best Buy.
  • Not all financing options are available from all sources. For example, ordering online may only afford you the options of Sprint Flex or buying the phone outright.
  • In order to get 0% interest financing you've got to have credit in good standing and you may have to make a down payment depending upon which device you choose.

Know the Facts About Sprint Flex Sales

Here's where it gets tricky. There's always a deal being offered, but with these phone leases, you've got to be careful and read the fine print.

For example, Sprint is currently offering iPhone X on Sprint Flex for "half off" - or $20/month for 18 months. This is a good deal if you want to lease and upgrade on a continual basis.

What you need to be aware of is that if you're planning to buy your phone outright at the end of your lease, you will still be responsible for the full remaining balance of the phone. The discount only applies to a lease.

Here's what I mean by this:

  • Lease on Flex, upgrade at 12 months to a new lease agreement, total paid out in 12 months: $240
  • Lease on Flex, opt to buy your iPhone X at the end of 18 months, total paid out during lease: $360, total due for remaining device balance: $639

In other words, you're getting a discount on the lease time - not on the final balance of the phone. So if your intention is to purchase your device, you're just delaying the due date of that other $20 per month until the end of your Flex term is up.

How to Save Money on Your Phone Upgrade

What if you didn't have to pay an extra $30 or $40 on a monthly basis just for your smartphone? You can save 50% or more off the suggested retail price by buying a used or refurbished device.

Cost Examples

Let's compare two examples - one is with Sprint Flex, the other with a Sprint MVNO TextNow.

iPhone 8 (64 GB) with Sprint Flex

iPhone 8 (64 GB) with MVNO

Phone Price Upfront$0$500
Activation Fee$30$0
Total Upfront Cost$30$500
Monthly installment Price with Flex$29.17$0
Sprint Unlimited$65$0
Monthly unlimited TextNow price on network$0$39.99
Total Monthly Cost$94.17$39.99
Total Cost for 2 years$2,354.08$959.76

Total Cost for 2 years + Upfront Cost

$2,384.08

$1,459.76

By purchasing your phone upfront and switching to an MVNO on the same network you can save more than nine hundred dollars in the two years it would take for you to purchase your phone outright through the network's plan!

Be sure to use our comparison tools to get the best price on a refurbished phone.

Benefits of Buying a Refurbished Cell Phone

  • It's cheaper by half or more, and you'll have no monthly payments.
  • Take your phone to any carrier so you can get the best rate on your wireless service.
  • The growing popularity of this option means there are plenty of reliable sellers to choose from.
  • You'll own your phone free and clear which means you can sell it for cash when you're done with it.

Learn more about buying a used phone plus compare prices in seconds.

Buying a Refurbished/Used Phone

We've done the work of finding the best phone sites so you can find your new device quickly and easily. Read reviews of our top five picks:

Save Even More Money With an MVNO

The best way to maximize your wireless savings is to combine your great new-to-you phone with a cheap cell phone plan from an MVNO.

What Is an MVNO?

Mobile Virtual Network Operators are smaller wireless carriers that lease space on the big four networks. This means they provide service on the same networks that AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint use.

MVNOs can afford to give you the cheapest wireless rates because they don't have the same huge expenses as the big guys. They typically conduct all business online, which means no brick and mortar stores to maintain, and no pricey marketing.

Benefits of MVNOs:

  • Savings of 50% or more
  • The same reliable 4G LTE networks you've always known
  • Custom plans that let you choose what you pay for
  • No credit checks, no contracts, and no early termination fees
  • High customer service ratings
  • Simple online signup
  • Bring your own phone and keep your number

Sprint MVNOs

There are several Sprint MVNOs to choose from if you're happy with the Sprint network but not their prices. Check out our guide to the best Sprint MVNOs before you commit to a contract again.

Recap

Takeaways:

  • If you absolutely must have annual upgrades to the newest smartphone, carefully choose the best Sprint upgrade for your needs.
  • The most affordable way to buy a smartphone is refurbished or used.
  • MVNOs are the best way to get a cheap cell phone plan to maximize your savings.
  • Sprint MVNOs keep you on the network you love without sacrificing quality.

Don't forget to see exactly how much you can save over your current carrier using our cell phone savings calculator.

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