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Sprint to Offer Early Upgrade Buyout Program

Posted In Featured, News - By Mark Hearn On Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 6:33pm PST With 52 Comments

Recently Sprint has ran a battery of internal offers to promote customer morale and it appears that the Now Network is at it again. We’ve received a recent memo discussing plans for an upcoming trial promotion, known as “Upgrade Now.” Set to run from 2/12/12 – 4/14/12, this offer will give select Sprint customers the opportunity to buy their way out of their contract in exchange for an early upgrade. In addition to the applicable Upgrade Now fee, the customer will also need to commit to a new two year service agreement. Details and eligibility requirements coming up after the break.

Non-Eligible Customers:

  • Customers that have upgraded less than 8 months ago
  • Corporate accounts
  • Customers in collections
  • Airave and tablet accounts
  • iDEN devices

The Upgrade Now fee will be based off of the remaining term of the account holder’s contract, as demonstrated in the chart below.

Customers that have upgraded devices between 9-11 months ago would have an early upgrade fee of $165. Customers that have upgraded between 12-14 months ago will have an early upgrade fee of $125. Customers that have upgraded between 15-17 months ago will have an early upgrade fee of $95. Customers that have upgraded between 18-21 months ago will have an early upgrade fee of $55, with anything beyond that period simply incurring the standard $36 upgrade fee.

Again, we’re being told that this offer only applies to targeted customers and is only running at corporate store locations. Considering that most top-shelf smartphones carry a full retail price of around $500 and with an upgrade are marked down to around $200, an additional $165 worst case scenario is still a reasonable amount of cash saved. If you’re in need of an upgrade and don’t mind ponying up a few extra bucks for an early discount, this just might be the ticket. However at a bare minimum, you’ll need to meet the aforementioned criteria and have your account reviewed by a corporate store rep.

About - Mark is the founding father of SprintFeed. He is a nerd's nerd if ever such a thing existed. His love affair with the Now Network started with the release of the Treo 600 back in 2004 and has been going strong ever since. Highly opinionated and somewhat eccentric he shares his ramblings about his network of choice here at SprintFeed.

  • Su Rio Xperiment 94

    what if you are a new customer from 4 months ago?

  • http://twitter.com/WillieFDiazSF William Diaz ✔

    Read what it says… If you have a new phone (that includes new customers, upgrades, or any phone/device that was provided at a discount) then NO, you are excluded. You are not eligible for this program.

    Lets think about it… Paying up to $125 PLUS the discount for a phone, usually running $199 (plus tax of upwards of $70) is $325 (not including tax) for an early upgrade? Factor that in with an Early Termination Fee, the MOST you could pay if you got say, the best phone Sprint offers and you left shortly after would be $299 (iPhone) plus $125 plus $350 = $774.99 PLUS TAX (varies in your area). The iPhone for that without a contract renewal on Sprint would be $800 anyway. You save $25.00 if you factor in all the fees. Forget it.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it works that way. ETF only applies to people terminating their contract to leave Sprint.

    You only pay the RLOF plus the discounted price of the phone. So let’s say you have 12 months left. Pay $125 for the RLOF, + $199 for the upgrade pricing of the iPhone 4S, and you’ll have a new iPhone for $324 instead of buying one at full retail ($650). Sounds like a good deal to me. If you want the 32gb iPhone 4S from your example, then you’d be paying $424 instead of $750. Still a good deal and both scenarios will save you way more than $25.00!

    Don’t forget you can even sell your old phone on places like eBay to offset the RLOF!

  • Anonymous

    Whatever man. No way will I commit to another 2 years for any reason. I’m down to less than 6 weeks and I can’t wait to finally be out of Shawshank.

  • Su Rio Xperiment 94

    Where exactly does it say for new customers or new devices? It just says for select targeted customers who have UPGRADED.

  • Nd4Spdr

    I’ve never understood why people make a big deal about contracts. They’ve got nothing over you! I’ve been with Sprint for 10 years and am not going anywhere so getting a cheap phone every 22 months costs nothing!

  • Nd4Spdr

    Wait a minute… You said Sprint’s best phone but then you said iPhone. Which one are you talking about. Pick one or the other.

  • Styles Jason

    Well if they offer it for the iPhone 4S — I will pay out the new contract I just started in October.

  • Dan Hesses

    Sprint nickel and dimes you to death. They lie about coverage. They have the worse dropped call rate. They have a bunch of very unprofessional managers in the call centers and retails stores. Dan Hesses should be fire as the company loses money everytime the report comes out. Amazing how this company survives this stupid type of management.

  • http://www.laylebaker.com/ Layle Baker

    Where in this do you see they would charge you an EFT for doing this offer? and $70 tax for $200 purchase, where in the USA has those tax rates?

    What isn’t 100% clear is if this upgrade fee *replaces* the normal $36 upgrade fee charged when doing a normal upgrade (sounds like it does, but not sure).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alex-Rodriguez/1385750750 Alex Rodriguez

    you don’t qualify bc it hasn’t been 8 months yet.

  • http://twitter.com/gregwlsn Greg Wilson

    I’m guessing Sprint wants to lock in as many current users as possible w/3G + 4G phones so they can pull in more “new” money with their LTE lineup. Galaxy Nexus, New Evo, SG III, iPad 2S. Then when it all settles down later this year, the f*cking for $ will truly begin.

  • Jeff

    Really? Care to back up any of those assertions with facts? I’ve checked coverage maps for all of the big 3 carriers plus T-Mobile and have found Sprint’s maps to be by far the most accurate, down to the street level. Areas where I get only 1 or 2 bars correspond to the lightest green areas on the Sprint coverage map, and areas where I get 5-6 bars (like at work) are the darkest green.
    As far as the “worst” dropped call rate…again, really? I can’t even remember the last time I had a dropped called caused by Sprint…when I call people who are on AT&T or T-Mobile they drop all the time, but not me. The ONLY time I can think I had a dropped Sprint call was when I was travelling and passed out of Sprint coverage into roaming but guess what-thanks to their coverage map I knew when it would happen and prepared my caller for it, so again if Sprint is “lying” about coverage then I would not have known this.
    Finally, I have had nothing but good luck with agents both on the phone and in the stores (particularly the corporate stores)-when my old HTC Touch Windows Mobile phone died for the 2nd time two years ago, I got a replacement Samsung Moment free, no questions asked.
    Oh, and I also pay about half what I would to AT&T or Verizon, for the same plan, AND with unlimited data.
    Next time, back up your assertions with facts, otherwise you’re just being a typical troll.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.losh Tom Losh

    This new option does NOT involve an ETF payment.

    If one leaves Sprint before contract end, one pays an ETF.

    If one wishes to stay and upgrade early one pays the new “Upgrade Now” fee and gets a new device at the lowest subsidized price advertised.

    Very simple and straightforward, not at all complex – and not involving an ETF (Early Termination Fee).

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.losh Tom Losh

    The “Upgrade Now” fee closes out what is owed on the “old” phone and resets the account – ends the 2 year contract which is there to assure one pays over time for their subsidized phone.

    The $36 “Activation fee” applies to the NEW phone just as if one were a new customer.

    The “Upgrade Now” fee finishes paying for the old phone and does does not replace the “Activation fee” on the new phone.

  • Alan Fortte

    Dan Hesses, you got burned. Badly…

  • Coachreed44

    i guess you have not read the recent consumers reports…

  • Stephen

    I looked at the list of “Non-Eligible Customers” for this offer. So who is left?
    Also, why would one buy a phone for a network (WiMax) that will be outdated starting this summer (if you live in one of the new LTE markets). Given that the carrier, Sprint, is committed to converting the entire network over to LTE. Granted Spint needs money, money, and more money to do this.

  • restricted22

    I was wondering: I’m on a family plan. One line on my account is in the “18-21″ month range and would be eligible for the cheapest upgrade/buyout option. I know that if a line on the account is eligible for a “real,” aka 22+ month, upgrade, I can apply it to any line on the plan and get the new phone on the line any line you want. Do you think I would be able to do the same thing with the upgrade/buyout option? Will I be able to pay the $55 and get the phone activated on a different line? What do you think?
    (I actually am due for an upgrade on my line, but I’m waiting for the Nexus and don’t want to burn the upgrade yet. Btw, I’m going to post this on engaget too to see if anyone there knows if the upgrade swap will work.)

  • Muffin

    So can I use this deal to switch from a phone to a tablet?

  • Igobyzach

    Yes, what you would do is upgrade the line that you are talking about and complete the sale. When you get home give Sprint a call and tell them you would like to swap some devices on your account and tell them what devices need to be activated on what lines. I work at a certain Sprint reseller and we do this all the time for our customers, but some corporate stores may frown upon the “upgrade shuffle” so I recommend doing it yourself so you don’t miss out on this opportunity.

  • Holaloha

    Upgrade would mean a new device my friend.

  • Tino Q.

    So…new contract in 2012 means no new device until 2014…HELL NO!!!!!! My contract ends on July 2013, why waste my money? I already have one of the best phones on Sprint (Moto Photon) so there isn’t anything new for me there, and the new LTE devices will be here by the time I need an upgrade. Anyways, I wouldn’t buy my way out, I rather keep on getting good deals every 22 months.

  • Anonymous

    You must have an iPhone on the AT&T network, huh?

  • Anonymous

    Then you don’t understand the nature of a “contract” so keep it moving. My comment wasn’t intended for you.

  • http://twitter.com/WillieFDiazSF William Diaz ✔

    What Im saying is essentially you are paying off your Early Termination Fee ahead of time, the pro-rated portion built into this “Upgrade Now” fee.

    If you do the math, you can see you have two options.

    1. Cancel service by porting out to keep your number, pay the prorated-ETF, come back and get a new phone at the discounted price. Start new 2-Year contract.
    2. Pay the Upgrade Now fee equal to (+/- a few $) get a new phone at the discounted price. Start new 2-Year contract.

    Personally, I see it as a way to pay off your termination fee to start the contract over with the new phone discount. Essentially that is what you are doing. Otherwise, Sprint would have kept the 1-Year Upgrades.

  • http://twitter.com/WillieFDiazSF William Diaz ✔

    Im comparing the fee to the ETF… See the post above.

    As for the tax. It doesnt matter if the phone is FREE or $200, you will pay for tax on the FULL RETAIL PRICE of the device in some states, like California. If you get a phone for FREE, but the retail price of the phone is $1000, you will pay $100 in tax. This is in many states but not all, and it is calculated (for whatever reason) on the sales of full retail price of wireless phones, data cards, etc. I dont know why that is, but you can google it.

    From my understanding, this fee does not cover the upgrade fee of $36. That fee is for upgrading. This Upgrade Now fee is to buy out the contract time remaining so you CAN upgrade sooner. (aka buying out the ETF).

  • Levanderyacht

    Yes that’s how I was able to get the SGS2 USED UPGRADE I used my daughters phone number to upgrade my phone number so if I want to upgrade he phone I will have to wait till my phone bungee upgrade is up which is next month

  • Rod

    So I just went into store and they said I am not eligible even though the contact is up in 8 months. In the store they could not tell me why. I then call Sprint Customer Service and they tell me the same thing without being able to tell me why.

    I am not a Sprint employee so I don’t have a corporate account.
    It is for a phone (Epic 4G), not a tablet account.
    The contract is up in October so I an over 8 months from the start if the contract.

    Any ideas in who I should talk to about funding out why I am not eligible?

  • Mr J

    ive made a couple calls to different stores… everybody seems clueless as to this promotion.

  • newgnr

    yea me too. I called three stores and went into one and the district manager happened to be in there and she had no clue and she called her boss and he had no clue either, it sucks big time

  • Mr J

    This is bogus. Nobody at Sprint seems to have heard about it.

  • Matt

    Went to a corporate store today and they would not honor this program.

  • Spirosand

    I am with those who say this program doesn’t really exist. I’ve been to two different sprint coorporate stores, and both know nothing about this program at all. Has anyone actually upgraded under this program, or is this bogus?

  • RJO

    I went to a Company owned store looking to upgrade my EVO, and the clerk had no clue about this, the manager also made a call and said they had no idea, called customer care and they said they had no idea either… My contract is up in April, im not sure if I want to stay with Sprint.

  • Aftermath112112


  • Rumplestilskin

    I’m an indirect agent and I’ve done this multiple times. Takes about 6 hours for it to post though.

  • Haase4life06

    Called Sprint and went to my local Sprint store both new about this idk why everyone is haveing trouble I paid 45 plus and am picking my gs2 on Monday can’t wait! Call consumer support and tell then your looking to do the early upgrade program!

  • sprint guy

    people are dumb that are so set on no contract. for example….if you dont do a contract and want to pay $650 for a new iphone 4s GO FOR IT. or you can pay $200 and do a new 2year contract. if you break the contract then you have to pay $350 MAX…WOW you just spent $550 total. so paying less money with the option to pay even less sounds good to me

  • Kristi

    Called Sprint “Retentions/Account Services” about a new fee they added to my bill and they offered this deal to me without me mentioning it. Also, offered a $50 credit because of the new breakdown if you have a corporate discount. You have to speak with someone in Retentions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=661408669 Joe Golling

    it worked! called customer service or account services (cant remember), they approved it, i paid it, now I got a new phone!

  • Sjohnkoshy

    Neighbor just did this and picked up an iPhone 4s for $150 out the door. She ended up selling her Evo 3d back to sprint for like $100. You have to call customer service and then you could pick up the phone at a store.

  • BenChase7

    Nice…Thanks for the update!

  • SprintDM

    Just read about this program tonight. It worked for a SERO account holder.

    Called the SERO number (1.888.882.4030), she didn’t know about the program but directed the call to Account Services (not sure about the difference); The agent asked where the info was read…- answered on an online forum. He did some research and came back and asked if I was willing to pay $45. Agreed. The contract was to end in July 2012.

  • sean

    Worked for me. Called Customer Service and they transferred me to account services. Bada Bing Bada Boom.

  • Gifford407

    When does it start again??

  • http://twitter.com/lostdecoy lostdecoy

    I just called today and was eligible. My upgrade is not until August but they let me pay $45 to upgrade as of today.

  • Kaen019

    Samsung Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch, is my suggestion. Own one myself, definitely light-years beyond the specs/capabilities of the iPhone 4S or even what the eventual iPhone 5 will be able to do.

  • Kaen019

    Well, obviously you are one of the masses who ignorantly believes everything they read or hear about as opposed to making educated & logic-driven statements.

  • somebody

    if my 2 year upgrade is up and i want a phone thats 499.99, how much does the upgrade take off that price?

  • sabbygb

    They must hate me. I’ve not had any luck at all with this – on the phone or in the store :(

  • Corey Harris

    Ironic, as they are the only ones who are able to honor the damned thing.