Sprint's iPhone 5C is free; its iPhone 5S is $99

Michael Santo's picture

Think that $99 for the iPhone 5C and $199 for the iPhone 5S (both 16GB) is too much for your wallet to spare, Sprint has a deal for you, running through Oct. 10, 2013.

The deal is simple, but those who already are Sprint customers will be sad. The idea is any line-switchers, coming from another carrier, will get $100 off any phone. That includes the iPhone 5S and 5C, which don't launch into retail until Friday.

The iPhone 5S doesn't even have a pre-order capability. Although Apple and carriers are allowing pre-orders of the iPhone 5C, the iPhone 5S can't be ordered online until Sept. 20, which is when they reach retail.

Sprint is a two-edged sword. For those who want unlimited data, the carrier is a great option as it currently the only one out of the Big Four wireless carriers that currently offers unlimited data, with absolutely no throttling or data tiers with overage fees.

On the other hand, however, .Sprint is far behind the times when it comes to a fourth-generation network. The network continues to build out its LTE network, but trails both Verizon -- the first to launch an LTE network -- and AT&T, the second carrier to do so -- badly in terms of coverage.

If your area doesn't have LTE coverage, you would be stuck with Sprint's 3G CDMA service, which is slower than most would care to live with. Before switching to LTE, Sprint relied on WiMAX for its 4G service, but it became apparent that WiMAX technology could not keep up with LTE.

Still, with this promotion, Sprint's pricing for the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S undercuts everyone else's. It means that -- on contract -- the iPhone 5C is free and the 5S is only $99, assuming a 16GB model and a two-year contract.

The iPhone 5C is basically the iPhone internally. As opposed to earlier years, though, Apple is selling the iPhone 5C instead of a year-old model, at the $99 price point. Last year, Apple sold the iPhone 4S at $99 when the IPhone 5 was introduced.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 5S is Apple's flagship model for the 2013-2014 period. Minimally changed from the iPhone 5, it has a fingerprint reader to unlock the phone, an upgraded A7 processor -- 64bit, for the first time in a smartphone -- and upgraded camera functionality.

Long lines are expected on Friday, Sept. 20, as Apple has not allowed pre-orders of the iPhone 5S. Any who want to have -- or must have -- the newest flagship iPhone on launch day will have to be standing in line.