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Sprint encourages customers to unlock old phones and use them on prepaid networks

Sprint Unlocked Smartphones

A day after the White House came out in support of unlocking cell phones, Sprint (S) announced a new program that encourages customers to use their old devices on prepaid carriers that utilize its network. The “Bring Your Own Sprint Device” program looks to reduce the number of inactive phones in the U.S. and keep them out of landfills. At the same time, it intends to help Sprint’s MVNO partners attract customers by offsetting the burden of phone subsidies through the “reactivation of used and inactive Sprint-branded devices” on qualified price plans. Sprint’s press release follows below.

Sprint Gives MVNOs an Alternative to Phone Subsidies Through “Bring Your Own Sprint Device” Program

Latest program from Emerging Solutions & Global Wholesale enables MVNO customers to activate idle phones on the Sprint network, reducing the number of inactive phones in the market, diverting phones from landfills

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), March 05, 2013 – As the opportunity to reuse or recycle idle mobile devices in the United States continues to grow, Sprint (NYSE:S) Emerging Solutions & Global Wholesale today introduced the Bring Your Own Sprint Device (BYOSD) program.

BYOSD is intended to help Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) address the growing number of inactive devices in the marketplace and offset the phone subsidy burden through the reactivation of used and inactive Sprint-branded devices on qualified MVNO price plans.

In the United States alone, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 135 million cell phones are discarded each year. Reusing or recycling these phones could save enough energy to power more than 24,000 homes for a year. With BYOSD, MVNO customers simply bring a deactivated Sprint device to their MVNO, who must determine the device’s eligibility for the BYOSD program. Upon meeting those specifications, the device is then activated by the MVNO.

“BYOSD is another way that Sprint enables MVNOs to offer flexible, financially sensible and environmentally minded solutions to their end users,” said Matt Carter, president, Emerging Solutions & Global Wholesale at Sprint. “This program not only gives our MVNO customers a chance to make a positive impact on our environment, but also allows them the chance to do so in a way that benefits their bottom line.”

“A program like this can help to remove the subsidy burden off of burgeoning MVNOs, helping them to thrive in the competitive wireless landscape,” said Steve Hilton, principal analyst with Analysys Mason.

Sprint ranks No. 3 on Newsweek’s 2012 Green Rankings of the nation’s 500 greenest companies and is the only telecommunications company in the top 25.