Sprint Offers iPhone 5C Free, as Carriers Get Ready to Compete

For the first time ever, all four major carriers will begin selling the newest iPhones on the same day. Sprint is already looking to stand out.   

The Apple iPhone 5C not cheap enough for you? How about free? Would that be cheap enough? Sprint is now offering $100 off any phone, to subscribers who switch their numbers to Sprint. For the 16GB iPhone 5C, that puts a big doughnut on the price tag.

Sprint is currently also offering an Unlimited for Life deal that offers unlimited service, including high-speed data, for $80 a month for as long as you'd like the service. According to Sprint, this could save a user $360 a year, compared to competing plans.

The Apple iPhone 5C, along with the iPhone 5S, will go on sale Friday, Sept. 20. And with every major carrier now offering the phones, Sprint—which is also expected to introduce a monthly payment plan for devices on Sept. 20—is right to try and distinguish itself.

Expect the others to do so, as well.

Verizon is arguing that the "iPhone deserves the best network."

Connect your iPhone 5C or 5S to Verizon's Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, and "instantly stream videos, download music and movies at blazing speeds," the carrier says on its site. "Only Verizon's 4G network is 100% 4G LTE."

With Verizon Edge, subscribers can also get the iPhone 5C for no money down and a $23.06-a-month payment.

Verizon is also hosting a Trade & Upgrade Event during which users can trade in old iPhones and other devices, and receive a Verizon Wireless gift card.

T-Mobile, which for the first time will launch the iPhones alongside its peers (it started selling the iPhone 5 months after the other carriers), is playing the "un-carrier" card and also offering the iPhone 5C for no money down and 24 monthly payments of $22.91.

"Now, with T-Mobile, you can enjoy your iPhone the way it was meant to be enjoyed—without restriction!" T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a Sept. 12 statement, referring to T-Mobile's Jump program, which enables users to upgrade every six months.

AT&T for now is sticking with promoting its Next program, which lets users pick up an iPhone 5C for no money down and 20 months of $22 payments.

Even Walmart is looking to make a deal on the iPhone 5C. On Sept. 10, the day Apple introduced its newest phones, Walmart introduced a smartphone trade-in program. Customers can bring an old phone into a participating Walmart or Sam's Club store and receive a credit, from $50 to $300, toward a new smartphone purchase.

On Sept. 12, it added that it will sell the 16GB iPhone 5C for $79, and the iPhone 5S for $189, when customers sign up for a new two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint or T-Mobile.

The iPhone 5C can now be preordered online through all the carriers, as well as in Walmart stores.

Why Apple hasn't made the 5S available for preorder, it hasn't said, though analysts suggest it's because the fingerprint reader on the device is in low supply and the handsets are expected to be limited.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek has told investors that yields for the Touch ID sensors are "terrible" and build rates during the third quarter are likely to be 20 million iPhone 5C units and 5 million to 10 million iPhone 5S units.