Could A 12 Month Lease On Your Next Android Phone Make Contracts More Appealing?


Think about it. A newer, sleeker, more powerful Android device comes out just about every month. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just borrow the latest Android powered smartphone — for a monthly fee — and trade it in, say… every 12 months for a new model? That’s kind of the idea TMNG Global is pitching to major carriers around the US, offering the first of its kind, mobile device leasing program here in the states.

The way it works is carriers would offer 1-year leases — with no money down — on smartphones for their customers for only $20-$30 a month. And just like when leasing or financing a car, the customer would then be required to pay for insurance on the handset, should any harm befall the device. According to MDLx, the subsidiary of TMNG who would be handling all the paperwork, this would provide consumers who not only don’t want to be locked into a 2-year agreement, but keep them up-to-date with all the latest in mobile technology (read: Android users).

The “Mobile Device Lease xChange” hasn’t officially been picked up by any big name carriers although MDLx is said to be in talks with several tier one carriers so we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out. In my experiencing working with Best Buy Mobile, getting customer to fork out $300, $200, even $100 dollars on an Android device that would last them through their contracts was like pulling teeth. For those of you wondering, seems the UK is always 1-step ahead the US with O2 leasing iPhone 4S’s for $86 a month on a 1 year term.

Having new Android releases every few months suddenly sounds a lot more fun, right?

[Via GigaOM]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Why not have an even shorter lease term?  The phones won’t depreciate as much.

    1. 6 month lease? I’d buy it. 

      1. “6 month lease? I’d hit it !”

  2. So.. it would still cost $240 dollars for a year of leasing the phone and then you have to give it back at the end? I paid $200 for mine (under contract) and I get to keep it. Would this not make the customer sign a contract? I don’t get it. 

    1. I completely agree, I suppose if you weren’t on contract this would make sense but it’s still pretty expensive at the end of the day and you have no physical property to show for it. 

      Now, drop the price to $10 (on some sort of contract) and you may have a deal. 

    2. Yeah, but that’s only 1-year. Your’e locked into 2-years with your Infuse 4G. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a Skyrocket about now? ;D

      1. Yes. Don’t know if it’s worth that kind of money though. And how do you know what kind of phone I have, creeper Chris?

        1. O_O  *jumps out window*

          1. Chris is obviously some sort of wizard.

          2. or he remembered every single comments on this site… 

        2. It’s not worth $40 for a new phone???

  3. No thanks I’d rather pay the amount for the phone. Now if the carriers could have 1 year contracts again that be nice. Or a 2 year contract that let’s you get up to 2 phones within your contract at like 50 or 75 bucks more than the 199 or 299 a phone is on normal contract. I like selling my phones on Craigslist or giving to my dad or gf and get a new one

    1. In Canada, they have 3-year contracts. Sounds horrendous but they generally pay a lot less per month.

  4. “O2 leasing iPhone 4S’s for $86 a month on a 1 year term” …which works out to be $1,032 per year, compared even to an unlocked, off-contract purchase of the 64GB iPhone 4S at around $849…. I’d take the unlocked, off-contract price. Unless that price includes data and voice service?
    Though I have to admit, the “$20-$30 per month” is infinitely better ($240-$360/year), I’d rather just get a high priced($300 max)/high grade phone (Galaxy Nexus, SII) that I know would last 2 years easy. I mean, if I can deal with a Samsung Moment for 2 or so years, I’m sure I’d be perfectly happy with a high end phone for 2 or more years.

    1. pretty sure the 86 a mo includes the voice/data plan.

      1. So the phone would cost $1030/yr leasing it and voice/data plan is included. We already pay that much for just the plan now, not including the $200-$300 for the phone you pay up front. 

        1. Pretty sure that’s Right; Data and Voice plans are quite a bit cheaper in Europe, and at the end of the year, you gotta give the phone back (in this case). 

  5. Don’t sound like to much of a deal to me

  6. I’d rather just have Android phones not be obsolete in 6 months.

    1. How exactly would that happen? Whether or not anything new is released, you’re still in the same boat with a 6 month old phone. Should all progress stop just to make you feel better?

      1. No reason to be a jerk. But no, progress doesn’t need to stop. They just need to stop releasing something new every six months. HTC and Motorola said they are going to release less phones anyway.

        1. Sorry, wasn’t trying to sound like a jerk. 8)

          But what functional difference does it make if you buy the best phone in the world and you love it and it does everything you want, but then something else is released in 6 months? Your phone still works. It’s not obsolete.

          1. I like to have the best and when something better is released I get jealous. It’s just psychological.

  7. Boost Mobile has no contracts and most of their phones are less then $200 to buy out right so this would be useless for me

    1. yeah but their phone selection isnt very robust at all

  8. U sure it doesn’t mean $86 a month Total, including the service? Because ya $86 a month for just the phone not including the $75+ service charge the carriers currently charge would be way too much…

  9. How about manufacturers release new hardware once every 12 months, and support/update the software for 18 months. That would make me happy and I wouldn’t mind signing a contract.

    This idea of like 5 new phones every couple of weeks by the same manufacturer and software support for like 2 months only doesn’t fly.

  10. Yeah this really makes no sense. Why would I pay 30 a month to lease a phone that I have to give back after a year, when I can own it for the same price, or in most cases less.


  11. $240 and you don’t get the phone.  However, when selling a year old Android handset you usually lose that much anyway even if it’s in wonderful condition.  I see it worth it!

  12. i hope this is a freaking joke.

    86 x 12 is over a thousand dollars.

    you can buy a phone on contract and then buy another phone out right and still be under a thousand dollars, and you would actually own something. 

    this is ridiculous get this bs outta here. 

    1. I think that probably includes the plan

    2. That’s the iPhone which costs a helluva lot more in the UK. Upwards of $900.. 

  13. The land of freedom and liberty,
    leashed on contracts on the next step of technology revolution.

  14. talking about the iphone. i doubt they would charge much less for like a galaxy nexus or any brand new. 

  15. $20 – $30 a month sounds good to me if I can swap it for the latest & greatest phone every 3 – 4 months and just keep paying the monthly fee. Cause nowadays, the latest android smartphone becomes a fossil after a couple months. And if you keep that phone for 2 years you’re going to be INSANELY outdated.
    If leasing is the only way to get your phone updated I’m all for it. The bottom line is that something needs to change with the current system we have. My Bionic is almost a dinosaur, and I can’t upgrade til spring of 2013. It’s ridiculous. If they can’t offer leasing they should at least start some kind trade-in program. But the problem with trade-ins on phones is that, unlike cars or video games, no one wants to buy an older previous-gen phone, so there’s not much value in that market.

  16. That is something I would be interested. Though, only if $30 mo. –  would also includes the insurance or, I can purchase my own insurance like SquareTrade and the lease comes down to $20. Then again maybe not, I guess I would need to read up on it more.

  17. This is pouring gas on the fire,encouraging the manufacturers to keep pumping out even more phones.

    The hardware that is hitting the market nowadays(dual/quad core,lots of storage/memory) is capable of running the latest firmware & software updates,no need to constantly “upgrade”.

    I think I’ll hang on to what I’ve got for quite a while(MO PHO w/SPRINT + an extended battery).It’s a great phone that lasts all day w/o the low battery phobia.

    Also,I’ve yet to hear of anything truly groundbreaking regarding ICS to warrant buying another phone.

    Perfect example of this is the MOTO DROID RAZR & MAXX,talk about buyer’s remorse/phone envy.There’s no reason the first D/R shouldn’t have had the extended battery.The manufacturers do this to us because we tolerate it. Time to stop the madness,but hey,it’s a free country.

    1. “This is pouring gas on the fire,encouraging the manufacturers to keep pumping out even more phones.”


  18. I feel like that is a lame idea. Maybe I don’t know what I am talking about. But if I could swap at 8 months at the latest, I would feel better about it. Or hope the lease doesn’t go over 25 bucks a month. But I guess this is way better than what we got going on now. Would save me a lot of trouble of having to keep my phone in perfect condition, then selling my phone, then buy a phone  paying the difference. 

  19. When is it enough shit someone always wants there hands in ur pocket.

  20. But then you can’t root it and shit. I would rather just own my stuff.

  21. But aren’t operator-subsidized phones basically the same? A $600 phone that you get for like $200 with a contract? Or less…

  22. How about carriers bring back 1-year contracts :(  I remember the good ol days when I first started with Verizon, I had a 2 year contract, but I was eligible for an upgrade after 12 months at discounted pricing if I signed a new 2 year contract.  They did away with that quickly.  

    1. I generally don’t defend carriers, but our phones in the US are heavily subsided, just for arguments sake say you take a phone that retails for $750 probably a good average considering they subsidize androids (500 – 799) generally and iphones which are up to 900 or 1000 bucks. take off the average $200 a customer pays your left with 550 for the service provider to pay, if you average that over 12 months, that’s $45 a month, that’s half of what I pay a month for my individual line, it’s too much for a carrier to subsidize, make it 2 years now the subsidized payments per month is $22.50 which is much easier for the carrier to foot, for one year contracts you’d have to pay a lot more for monthly service.

      I generally don’t agree with carriers but on a subsidized phone model 2 years contracts are a must, unless you decrease the subsidy which users would scream bloody murder over, or increase the monthly service charge a lot, which customers would be even more angry over. They took the path of least resistance because the majority of users don’t mind holding on to a phone for 2 years, before smart phones I kept a phone for 3 to 4 years because I saw no need to upgrade a phone that I used for calls and texts.

  23. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw. Looking forward for your next one.

  24. I’d like one year contracts with an $200 upgrade discount annually. A trade-in program would be nice also.

  25. $86 a month for an iphone? You end up paying over $1000 for a phone that you don’t even own. Just buy one without a contract. You’ll pay much less. This is ridiculous. 

  26. Most definitely.

  27. too much for something I don’t get to own, plus the obvious rooting issues that it would entail, I’m sure you could still do it, but if it dies while your rooted and you can’t get it back to an unrooted state the insurance may not cover it. which is why I don’t pay for insurance and just use a good case and screen protector. I do wish the carriers would offer another option though, maybe a more expensive and less subsidized phone every year if you want to upgrade every year or at least provide the European bring your own device model with the accompanying much lower service fees.

  28. Eh, I only paid $75/ea for 2 Galaxy S phones new on TMo. With all the extras I have Im sure I would sell both for the same price today I paid for them 18 months ago. 

    Im the biggest bargain hunter among everyone I know. I havent paid full price for nearly anything I own. And deals like this is why the middle and lower middle class love to blow money on. No thanks!

  29. Nice concept…I wouldn;t mind a new phone every year (would always go for the next nexus device)

    But sadly, I like to keep my old phones. I would never sell my Nexus One, even though my Galaxy Nexus is the only one I currently use.

  30. If it was $30 a month and could be used on secondary lines, this would be a great deal. Verizon I believe still offers annual upgrade on primary lines (you pay a small “early upgrade fee”, but it’s pretty cheap). 

    So instead of $200 upfront and having to wait 2 years (on secondary lines), $30 a month wouldn’t be too bad, if it includes the insurance. If it’s $30+$7 a month, then no way. 

  31. This would be a good idea if great phones only came out once a year… with a new super-omfg-bbqsauce phone launching every month, you’d still have to pay full pop for the latest and greatest.

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