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Sprint To Join Verizon, T-Mobile In Dropping Contracts?

Sprint is backing away from a statement that it would move completely away from contracts later this year but reiterated CEO Marcelo Claure’s observation that the wireless industry is moving away from contracts.

A Wall Street Journal story cited Claure in reporting that Sprint would offer only unsubsidized phones for purchase or lease by the end of the year.

A spokesperson, however, told TWICE that “Marcelo was simply providing commentary on industry trends” and was not offering a timeline for dropping contracts.

“Sprint was the first carrier to launch device leasing plans, and the industry trend is definitely heading in that direction,” the spokesperson said. “In fact, a year ago only 28 percent of our customers selected leasing plans, and now that number is over 50 percent. Clearly it’s an attractive option for customers, and we are taking it to a whole new level now with iPhone Forever.”

T-Mobile dropped contracts more than two years ago and began offering unsubsidized phones that could be purchased with one up-front payment or in installment payments. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint later began offering unsubsidized phones as an option to two-year contracts, and Verizon in recent weeks announced plans to drop the contract option altogether. Sprint also began last year to lease select unsubsidized phones. Sprint launched its lease program in late 2014 for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and since expanded it to additional devices but not all devices. T-Mobile this year also began to offer leasing options.