Sprint Nextel is looking to entice first-time Palm Pre buyers with an extra $100 rebate.
In Sept. 8 posting on its Website, Sprint announced the special deal for the Palm Pre, which runs from now until Oct. 31. The $100 rebate is only for first-time buyers of the Pre smartphone and not for existing customers. In addition, the offer requires customers to move their current telephone number from their current wireless carrier to the Sprint network.
This is the official announcement Sprint posted on its Website:
"Until October 10, 2009 you can get a $100 service credit when you move your number to a Palm Pre from Sprint and activate a new line of service with a two-year agreement. The $100 service credit will be applied to your Sprint account within three invoices. The service credit will not display in the shopping cart at checkout. This offer is available now but can't be combined with other Pre discounts, rebates or offers."
(The official offer also has a number of other rules governing the rebate. For instance, while the official offer ends by Oct. 10, Sprint mentions that the deal requires purchase and activation by Oct. 31.)
Right now, the Palm Pre smartphone sells for $199 with the existing Sprint rebates. According to the Sprint Website, the Pre costs $549.99. With a two-year contract, Sprint offers a $250.00 instant rebate and then a $100 mail-in rebate. Now, the new, limited rebate brings the Pre price down to $99.
While the Palm Pre, along with the Palm webOS, has attracted a number of accolades for its design and features, there has been a debate about the smartphone's impact on Sprint, which remains the only wireless carrier for the Pre, and the company's bottom line.
Did Sprint offer the rebate to sell more phones or does it need to keep attracting new customers who might be holding out?
In July, Sprint posted a second-quarter financial loss despite the large marketing campaign that accompanied the launch of the Pre. However, executives said the June launch of the Palm Pre remains Sprint's single greatest launch in company history.
How much longer Sprint has exclusive right to the Pre is a matter of debate. In June, a Verizon Wireless executive said that the company expects to offer the Pre on its network by 2010.
Sprint is not the only wireless carrier to offer a new rebate on a smartphone lately. On Aug. 31, Verizon cut the cost of the touch-screen BlackBerry Storm to $50. That move by Verizon is expected to clear the way for the introduction of the Storm 2.
At the same time, Sprint is looking to attract new customers with other smartphones besides the Palm Pre. On Oct. 11, Sprint plans to offers its first device based on the Google Android operating system. The HTC Hero smartphone is priced at $179.99 with rebates and a two-year contract.