Google Fi has just launched a phone subscription plan that is actually a pretty sweet deal. For $15 a month over two years, you can get a Pixel 4a plus a device protection insurance plan. That works out to just $10 more than the current unlocked retail price, plus theft and accidental damage protection. In two years, your phone is paid off and yours to keep, but you can also keep paying that monthly fee to upgrade to a new device. But there's also an even better deal available. If you don't care about insurance, the subscription is $9 a month — that's just $216 over the two years requried and way less than $350 up-front and unlocked price.
There are some caveats, like you need to be a Fi subscriber activated within the next 30 days to take advantage of the deal, insurance claims do have a deductible attached to them, and if you cancel your plan, you're on the hook for the remaining balance. But for folks already subscribed to Fi, this is pretty cheap and essentially "on-contract" pricing, complete with a two-year upgrade plan. Still, if you actually sit down to do the math, it's a no-brainer if you're a subscriber.
The Pixel 4a is a really, really good phone, especially considering its already low $350 price. At this price, I think it's a screaming deal, and anyone on Google Fi looking to upgrade soon should seriously consider it. It isn't clear if other phones will eventually be added to this monthly plan, though, so it might be worth a short wait if you had your eye on the Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5.