Sprint will be raising its early termination fees (ETFs) to $350 on September 9th.
Following a report by PhoneScoop that Sprint would be upping its ETFs, HuffPost Tech can now independently confirm that the wireless carrier's early termination fees--that hefty chunk of change you have to pay if you cancel your cell phone service with a carrier before your contract is officially up--are indeed going up on September 9.
Here's the email we received from a Sprint spokesperson this morning that confirms the change:
Beginning September 9, Sprint is introducing a new pro-rated policy for early termination fees (ETFs) for customers who purchase advanced devices such as smartphones, tablets, notebooks and netbooks. Customers who purchase advanced devices beginning September 9 will be subject to a $350 ETF (which will be pro-rated based on the number of months remaining) should they decide to cancel service before the end of their service agreement.
Sprint's current ETF is $200 on two-year contracts, far lower than competitors AT&T and Verizon. AT&T has an ETF that starts at $325, according to its website, while Verizon charges $350, per its own website. T-Mobile, whose merger with AT&T the Department of Justice has just moved to block, currently charges $200 for an early termination.
This new ETF only affects customers who sign contracts after September 9th.
Why did Sprint up its ETFs? Sprint, like almost all wireless carriers, aims to sell more subscriptions by subsidizing the cost of purchasing a smartphone for users who sign up for a multi-year contract. Sprint says that it costs more money to cover smartphone users—whose "Advanced Devices" are more expensive than feature phones—so it should cost more for these smartphone users to get out of their contracts before they're up.