This whole system of two-year contracts and early termination fees is far and away the worst thing about owning and enjoying a smartphone. Granted, contracts reduce the actual price of the phone by quite a bit, but it’s still super annoying to sign on with some brand new superphone only to have some super-duper phone launch a few weeks later. And if the contract itself wasn’t annoying enough, Sprint decides to raise its early termination fee by $150.
Thanks to a pair of eagle eyes over at Sprint Feed, we’ve gotten a sneak peek at some “Dealer News” that says the current $200 ETF at Sprint will now be a $350 ETF. Starting September 9, breaking your contract on any smartphone, tablet, netbook and notebook will result in you coughing up $350.
That means if you already have a contract with Sprint, and choose to opt out of it for something like the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch that was freshly unveiled last night, you’ll only owe Sprint $200. But if you’re considering a move over to “the now network,” you best jump on it. You only have a little over a week to lock yourself in.
Sprint’s been positioning itself as the one carrier that still offers unlimited data. In the wake of the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger, being the network that “looks out for the people” will go a long way for Sprint. But even CEO Dan Hesse has said that “nothing is guaranteed forever.” Is this price hike on the early termination fee a sign of things to come? We certainly hope not, but only time will tell.
Update: Sprint has confirmed with PhoneScoop via email that it will in fact raise its ETF to $350 starting September 9. Here’s the official statement:
Beginning September 9, Sprint is introducing a new pro-rated policy for ETFs for customers purchasing advanced devices such as smartphones, tablets, notebooks and netbooks. Customers with these advanced devices will be subject to a $350 ETF, which will be pro-rated based on the number of months remaining, should they decide to cancel service before the end of their service agreement.
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving almost 49 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone.