Newsflash: With the subsidy fees baked into your cell phone bill, in effect you’re already renting your phone.
Think about it — you pay a portion of your smartphone’s cost up front. Your carrier covers the rest, and bills you for it in installments in the “service fee” portion of your bill … except the installments usually don’t stop once you’ve paid off the cost of your phone, unless you opt for one of the newer plans from T-Mobile (TMUS), AT&T (T) or Verizon (VZ) that focus on paying off your phone in installments. Sure sounds like renting to me.
If you absolutely must have the latest and greatest phone before your regular two-year upgrade, certain plans, like T-Mobile’s JUMP, let you trade in your phone sooner, but it’s really more for bragging rights than cost-saving.