With the announcement of Apple’s new iPhone 6 Tuesday came a flurry of new cell phone plans from carriers hoping to capitalize on consumers’ excitement about a new device.
“The carriers are really looking to take advantage of marketing blitz that comes with a new Apple product,” said Weston Henderek, with NPD Group. “So, they’re all looking to come out with some of a catch to really grab a consumer’s attention.”
Sprint is being particularly aggressive, offering a plan for unlimited service at a discount when customers lease the phone. With this “iPhone for life” plan, Sprint will also give out upgrades every two years, similar to a car lease.
Smartphone plans are a highly competitive market for carriers, says Ramon Llamas, the research manager for IDC’s mobile phones team.
“Mobile phone subscriber growth is leveling off,” he says. “Without much more green space to grow into, it’s a game of, ‘How do we steal customers from the other guy?’”
Following a move by T-Mobile a few years ago, many companies are dropping plans that force customers into a multi-year contract. They’re also increasingly abandoning the subsidies that heavily discount the phone but tend to come with higher monthly fees.
“The cost of service has been separated from the cost of a handset,” says Colin Gibbs, with GigaOm Research, though some companies, including Verizon, still sell subsidized handsets with a contract.
Bottom line, if you want the new iPhone, there’s lots of companies competing to sell it to you.
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