Taking a page out of Ting’s handbook, it looks as if Sprint has finally decided to officially embrace the “bring your own device” movement among prepaid customers. In an announcement earlier this morning, Sprint said that it will make it easier for its prepaid MVNO partners to accept old, inactive Sprint devices on their networks.
Sprint is framing this as an environmental issue – as a way to keep old smartphones out of landfills. But it’s actually much more than this: Sprint is also helping its prepaid partners avoid phone subsidies, which still exist in the prepaid market and are even riskier for prepaid carriers to take on, since there’s no contract and thus guarantee that a phone subsidy will eventually be made up.
This is also an extremely friendly move for consumers: After all, this announcement comes the day after the White House declared that it believes consumers should be able to take their devices to any compatible networks that they choose.
Sprint was careful not to name any specific MVNO carriers that will be participating in the program, so it is unclear whether or not the Sprint-owned Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile will be participating. In any case, score one for phone freedom advocates everywhere.[Sprint]