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The company has offered a similar $100 discount in the past, according to Sprint spokesman Scott Sloat. The latest version of the offer began on Aug. 30, but industry analysts believe that the program was designed to spur sales of the iPhone 5c. The 16-GB iPhone 5c, which is priced at $99, will essentially be free to new Sprint users, as will the iPhone 4S. The 32-GB iPhone 5c and 16-GB iPhone 5s will be $99.
[ Learn more about Apple's newest offerings: Apple iPhone 5s, 5c: Pros and Cons.]
Since it began selling the iPhone 4 and 4S two years ago, Sprint has proven successful with iPhone sales. A recent statement from Sprint said that more than 40% of its new iPhone customers are also new to the company. Sprint is using Apple's recent announcement to lure customers away from competing carriers, analysts say. With the $100 discount, Sprint is the least expensive place to purchase the new iPhones.
It remains to be seen how competitor companies will react to Sprint's move. According to independent analyst Jeff Kagan, "a real war" could break out as other carriers respond to Sprint's newest promotion.
"Both Sprint and T-Mobile seem to be growing some real marketing courage lately and going for the throat. As in any street brawl, you always wonder who will win," Kagan said to Computerworld. T-Mobile recently began to offer unsubsidized plans to customers.
The $100 discount applies to phones purchased online, by phone or in Sprint and partner stores. The offer will end on Oct. 10, Sprint said.
Even with a free iPhone, the Sprint transition will come at a price. In addition to the two-year contract, new Sprint customers will be charged phone taxes, service charges and a $36 activation fee.