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Two-Year Service Contracts (And Phone Subsidies) Are Back From The Dead At Sprint

Remember when Sprint said that it wouldn't be offering the tried and true two-year phone contracts anymore? Yeah, not so much. Fierce Wireless reports that the carrier is once again offering two-year service contracts, and the Sprint Wireless website bears this out. New phones are being sold with a significant discount, up to 100%, in exchange for customers signing a promise not to stop paying for 24 months. Everything old is new again.

If you'll recall, two-year contracts fell out of favor after T-Mobile made a big show of discontinuing them as part of its "uncarrier" initiative in 2013. Instead T-Mo started promoting a new payment program which allowed customers to buy phones in installments with interest-free financing, very much like European carriers have been offering for years.

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[Weekend Poll] How Did You Pay For Your Current Phone - Outright, Subsidized, Or Installments / Financing?

This weekend's poll is a pretty simple one, but one that I'm curious to see the results of given our worldwide audience: how did you pay for your current phone?

In the US, there are generally three ways (broadly speaking) you can buy a smartphone - on-contract from a wireless carrier (aka subsidized), outright (full price, no contract), or as part of an installment / financing plan. Carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile offer phone financing plans, offsetting the full cost of a device by spreading it over the course of one or two years. Some smartphone manufacturers like Motorola even offer no-interest credit financing if you buy a phone from them directly.

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[Deal Alert] Amazon Has Sprint's Galaxy Note 3 Is As Low As $112.49 With A New Account

The Galaxy Note 3 is one of the more desirable high-end phones on the market at the moment, especially if you like your mobile hardware big and pleathery. If you also like your service from Sprint, then Amazon's wireless store has a heck of a deal for new customers: a Galaxy Note 3 for $112.49 on a subsidized plan. That's more than $200 off the retail price. Black and white models are available, and shipping is free with Amazon Prime.

galaxy note az

If you're not a new customer or signing up a family member for a new line, the deal gets considerably less sweet: the price jumps up to $279.99, $70 cheaper than Sprint's $349.99 price for the phone.

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Verizon Wants You Longer, Harder: Subsidized Hardware Upgrade Cycle Extended To A Full 24 Months

As if you needed another reason to hate cell phone contracts. For the last few years, Verizon's upgrade cycle has been 20 months long - that is, you bought a new, discounted phone on-contract, and you could upgrade after 20 months. (Not to be confused with the cellular contract itself, which is a full 2 years/24 months.) According to an official statement from Verizon Wireless, customers now have to wait the full 24 months before upgrading.

Here's the relevant text from the announcement:

Upgrade eligibility begins at the end of 24-month contract. The change allows customers to plan on a single upgrade date for each of their connected devices and is in keeping with how the majority of customers purchase their new phones today.

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[Update] Nexus 4 Returns To T-Mobile Yet Again, Only Now The Subsidized Price Is $400? What?

Getting your hands on Google's latest iconic Android handset seems to just get harder and harder as the holidays approach. Today, T-Mobile has the device back in stock yet again, however, the subsidized price is now bizarrely raised to $400 with a 2-year contract for existing customers. Um, T-Mobile...what?

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This is still $100 off the "Suggested retail" price, which hasn't changed, but it's still $50 more expensive than buying it from Google outright. It's unclear if this is a mistake on T-Mobile's part, or if the company has been forced to raise the price for economic reasons. It's also possible that existing T-Mobile customers can get a lower price depending on the state of their contract, but this requires a log in to see.

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The Nexus 4 Is Back In Stock At T-Mobile For The $200 Subsidized Price, $500 Off-Contract

The Nexus 4 has been in-and-out of stock like a California burger joint, but today it's back—as long as you don't mind getting it from T-Mobile. The subsidized hardware with a two-year contract is available again from everyone's fourth-favorite carrier. If you want one without a contract, though, that's still an option. It will just run you $500.

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Of course, there's no knowing how long this will last. We'll update this post if the device well dries up, but if you really want one before the holidays, ordering sooner would be better than later. Get a move on.

Source: T-Mobile

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T-Mobile Starts Selling The 16GB Nexus 4 For $200 Today, Just In Case You Really Want That Subsidy

One of the downsides to Google's Nexus sales model is that, if you want to get your hands on a Nexus 4, you have to order one. Thankfully, T-Mobile is also going to be carrying the newest flagship phone. If you want to save some money up front in exchange for a 2-year contract, you can pick up the device for $200. It's currently available online here, as well as in select stores.

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Oddly, if you want to buy the phone off-contract from T-Mobile, it's going to run you a jaw-dropping $500. The handset is the exact same hardware that's being sold by Google, so there's no real reason to spend the extra $150 unless you really like T-Mo and feel like being generous.

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Verizon Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE Pre-Order Up, Starts At $529.99 With New 2-Year Enslavement

I'm not sure how well this 4G-ified Tab 10.1 is going to do in terms of sales, but it's coming nonetheless. And in four flavors! And by that, I mean there's two storage options (16GB or 32GB) and two color options (grey or white):

MANYTABS

These prices are, of course, subsidized with a new 2-year data contract. How subsidized? Try $100 off (yes, that's all). Sounds like Verizon is super confident about this thing, too. I think we can all agree, until carriers actually start giving these mobile data-enabled tablets meaningful contract discounts (or better data plans), there's next to no incentive for consumers to purchase them.

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Sprint Motorola XOOM With WiMAX 4G Now Imminent

Boy Genius Report dropped a piece of information this afternoon confirming a long-standing suspicion that the Motorola XOOM will soon be available on America's most budget-friendly carrier, Sprint - and it'll be packing a WiMAX 4G radio.

The tip came via Sprint store employees, who found XOOM case SKUs in the Sprint inventory system, along with an actual case in an accessory shipment, as shown below.

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Pricing has not yet been made public, but expect some kind of subsidy to be available with a 2-year agreement.

Is the WiMAX-ified XOOM just what you've been waiting for? Or do you like your XOOMs cheaper, contract-free, with only the wi-fize and fewer gee-beez?

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UPDATED: Want A Droid X? Don’t Want A Contract? Don’t Go To (Some) Verizon Retail Stores

UPDATE: Per our informer below in the comments, this may be limited to only some Verizon retail locations. But, there is confirmation that several actual Verizon locations would not sell unsubsidized devices in the link we’re sourcing.

Numerous persons are confirming in comments and side-notes on DroidLife that some Verizon stores are refusing to sell unsubsidized (full-price) Droid X’s to customers who are showing up and waiting in line for the device this morning. They are reportedly being directed to place orders online and have the phone shipped. While this is arguably little more than a shrewd business tactic, it certainly doesn’t make Verizon look any better given all the bad press the Droid X has been getting.

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