MetroPCS, Cricket start financing high-end smartphones

iPhone 5 product shot

A big part of T-Mobile’s plan to end phone subsidies lies with device financing, which will ease the sticker shock of paying for a $500+ smartphone up front. But T-Mobile isn’t the only operator to have that idea.

Both MetroPCS and Leap Wireless’s Cricket Communications recently launched financing programs of their own to encourage their prepaid customers to buy high-end devices like the iPhone 5, FierceWireless is reporting. Metro and Leap executives both told Fierce that they are working with Progressive Financing – MetroPCS is additionally working with BillFloat – to offer low, up-front payments on otherwise expensive devices, making up the balance through monthly installments.

Cricket customers can walk out of the store with an iPhone 5 — which Leap normally sells partially subsidized for $500 — for $105. Customers will wind up paying more for the device via interest and repayment fees, Fierce reported, but neither BillFloat nor Progressive require a credit check, which fits well the carriers’ prepaid business model. Instead, the companies withdraw payments directly from a bank account.

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