Samsung Galaxy S6
Now that carrier subsidies on smartphones are all but gone, mobile service providers typically offer payment plans to minimise the huge upfront price of flagship handsets. But Apple found a way around that last autumn.
Launching the iPhone Upgrade Program, Apple opted to offer the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus directly to consumers, allowing them to pay for a phone gradually over the course of 24 months - and have the option to swap it out for a new iPhone after a year, beginning a new two-year payment plan with the latest phone in hand.
Samsung was apparently inspired by the offering, as it often is with Apple's endeavors, because a new report from ETNews in Korea (via 9to5Google) claims that the company will launch its own upgrade program with the release of the Galaxy S7 (S6 shown above), which is widely expected to happen in March.
According to the report, the program should be nearly identical to Apple's: you'll agree to a 24-month payment plan for the Galaxy S7 (or Galaxy S7 Edge, quite likely), and then if you want to upgrade to Samsung's next flagship phone after 12 payments are made, you can trade in your used handset and do so. If so, you'll essentially restart the 24-month plan. And if not, you can just pay off your original agreement and own the Galaxy S7 outright.
We first heard this rumour back in September, not long after Apple's own plan was launched, but this is the first time we've seen a definitive target hinted for the debut. ETNews says the upgrade program should go live with the Galaxy S7 in Korea first before extending into the United States and elsewhere, and hopefully it'll be available on day one in most countries - otherwise a lot of likely S7 buyers probably take a pass rather than wait.