Sprint just kicked off a program it's calling Bring Your Own Sprint Device (BYOSD), an initiative that will allow the carrier's old, deactivated handsets to be freely used across any MVNO that piggybacks on Sprint's bands. That includes Boost and Virgin Mobile, of course, along with dozens of other prepaid providers. The company describes this program as a way of "diverting phones from landfills" and cutting down on a growing number of inactive devices throughout the US. Sprint also reasons that reactivating old handsets allows MVNO customers to avoid the so-called subsidy "burden" or paying full retail cost for mobile hardware; many prepaid carriers don't offer discounted rates. Some MVNO companies have already offered the option of reprogramming an old Sprint device, but now the carrier is endorsing the practice.

"This program not only gives our MVNO customers a chance to make a positive impact on our environment, but also allows them the chance to do so in a way that benefits their bottom line," said Matt Carter, president of Emerging Solutions & Global Wholesale at Sprint. The company's newfound generosity and unshackling of older handsets comes 24 hours after the White House said consumers should have the right to take out-of-contract phones to any carrier they'd like.