Just one month after quietly discontinuing the option, Sprint has decided to revive two-year contracts. That makes it the only one of the big four carriers in the US still offering the 24-month payment plan. Sprint says it brought the option back after receiving feedback from customers. "We listened to our customers and are giving them more choices to get their new device," a company spokesperson told Fierce Wireless today.
Sprint's website now shows a contract option once again alongside a monthly installment plan, a full-price purchase, and a "lease," which is another of way saying Sprint owns the phone and you're paying to hold it until you decide to get a new device. Both Sprint and AT&T offered two-year contract options up until January 8th. T-Mobile stopped selling phones on contract in 2013 and Verizon said it would only offer them to existing contract customers starting last August.
The two-year contract was once a staple of the American phone business. Yet over time, US carriers have discontinued it in favor of more transparent options that have proven to be more lucrative in the long run. The two-year contract effectively locked customers into one carrier's network and hid the true cost of a phone by bundling it with the bill as a monthly fee. Now AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile sell only monthly installment plans and full-price phones, and are more lenient about customers switching networks.
However, Sprint customers apparently voiced enough concern for the company to bring the contract option back. All that really means is some people seem to enjoy pretending a phone costs less than it actually does. That or Sprint likes offering something its competitors don't.