Today Sprint announced a limited time deal that gives students a full year of free cellular service with the purchase of a smartphone at any Best Buy location. The offer includes unlimited talk/text and 1GB of data per month, with the option to have unlimited data for $10 per month.
The typical two-year contract isn’t required, but Sprint is charing a “student activated price” that’s actually a little more than the full, unsubsidized cost of most phones.
Any K-12 or college student can take advantage of the deal if they are a new Sprint customer. To sweeten the deal, Sprint is letting students refer other students and get another additional year of free service for every friend that signs up.
The biggest barrier for students who want to save money with a free year of service is going to be the hefty price tags on the smartphones Sprint is offering. A 16GB iPhone 5s costs $699 with no contract commitment and a year of free service, which is slightly more than Apple’s $649 unsubsidized retail cost. A 16GB iPhone 5c costs $599, up from Apple’s $549. Although Sprint claims you save $70 per month in the long run, paying $99 for the iPhone 5c and $199 for the 5s with contract looks a lot more feasible up front.
This appears to be a tactic Sprint is using to lure new customers in over the holidays, as the promotion is slated to end on January 4th.