updated 10:20 am EDT, Wed August 31, 2011
Sprint raises ETF on September 9
A leak late Tuesday has pointed to Sprint being one of the last major US carriers to dramatically hike its early termination fees. Dealers have been told that, as of September 9, the cancellation fee for smartphones, tablets, and other "advanced" hardware will jump from $200 to $350. The fee spike seen by SprintFeed would only apply to new contracts after that day and will still be prorated.
Sprint's move will follow those from AT&T, Verizon, and others, and may be motivated by similar factors. Carriers who have hiked ETFs in the past have justified it as compensating for the higher cost of subsidizing phones and the possible loss if a customer exits a contract early.
The timing is nonetheless suspicious as it comes just days before the Epic 4G Touch reaches the network and about a month before the presumed Sprint iPhone 5. Both AT&T and Verizon instituted their own ETF increases right as major flagship phones like the Motorola Droid and iPhone 4 were arriving, making it harder for any new customers to switch providers.