ZTE finds itself in the same position as other manufacturers who want the market to take them seriously: pricing its products affordably with powerful, high-end specs while offering the device at a price that will appeal to most consumers. There’s always some give and take and consideration that goes into dilemmas like these, but ZTE has figured out a way to achieve this. The result? The company’s own financing program that allows you to pay off-contract monthly fees.
Similar (though not equivalent) to carrier off-contract plans, ZTE allows customers interested in buying a device such as the ZTE Axon (which costs $450) to pay for their device over 24 months. The off-contract financing program will be provided by SmartPay Leasing, which will give those with questionable credit a $2000 financing credit that must be paid back within 24 months. With that said, you can pay off the cost of your device as quickly as possible, without penalties, but the interest rates will range anywhere from 3.5% to 20% based on your credit situation. The $450 Axon will end up costing $1000 on ZTE’s new financing plan if you engage the 12-month option.
As the case has been made before, carriers do the same. When you upgrade and sign a traditional contract (as has been the case prior to the rise of off-contract plans), you would pay for your 3G/4G LTE data service in addition to the cost of your device (spread out over 24 months, of course). Carriers have never refrained from subsidizing phone costs because they recoup them each month with your monthly payment. Off-contract plans allow you the option of paying for your device with no strings attached (you can pay off your device in as little as 3-6 months, if you want, then upgrade), but buying the device out-of-pocket at full price can be a hassle for some.
ZTE says that once you’ve paid off your device, you can then upgrade as you would at any carrier: simply turn in your device to SmartPay (not ZTE), and you can then select the new device.
What do you think? Does ZTE’s financing plan sound like a deal? Would you be willing to participate in this plan, or do you think that off-contract/prepaid carrier plans are better?