Is Sprint’s Early Termination Fee Jumping To $350? (Update: Confirmed)

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.