a really good deal?

The smartphone has become an essential tool in our daily life. In France, the mobile phone market has evolved significantly, offering consumers several options for acquiring the most modern smartphone. Among these options, renting a smartphone has become a popular alternative to buying. But is this option really beneficial for the consumer?

In this file we look at everything you need to consider before making your smartphone rental choice.

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The rise of renting

Around the 2010s, the telecommunications market in France experienced a major turning point with the end of subsidies for some operators and the emergence of non-binding offers. A framework that favored the appearance of new types, including the purchase or rental of smartphones, offered by some providers, such as Free.

At the time, the subject responded to a demand from customers to be able to switch providers more easily in a context of subscription price wars, which intensified with the arrival of Free Mobile on the market in 2012 with very high-priced subscriptions. aggressive. Since then, the offer has been significantly enhanced with pure players of smartphone rental, which sometimes offer even more attractive prices.

How does smartphone rental work?

Smartphone rental is similar to a subscription where, for a monthly payment and often an initial payment, the user gets a smartphone of their choice. It's generally not credit, although some platforms offer credit-based or credit-like formulas. leasing and other purchasable credits.

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Between providers, your smartphone rental generally includes a 24-month commitment period – after which the consumer can return the device, upgrade to a newer model, or buy it at the remaining price. On third-party platforms such as Boulanger, Uzit, Mobile.club or Next Mobile, the commitment period is more flexible – with options from 6 months of contract.

Cost comparison: rent from operator

Take the example of a high-end smartphone like the iPhone 15 Pro. With a provider like Free with the Free Flex, an initial payment of €499 is required, followed by monthly payments of €23.99 over 24 months at no extra cost, while offering the option to own the phone at the end of the rental period for a €104 purchase option .

Ultimately, the device then costs the customer €1,229 after the discounts currently offered by Free. What exactly is the price Apple charges. Choosing the Pro Max version, however, allows you to save a few tens of euros after discounts.

SFR offers classic rental for 24 months, with advance payment. For a Galaxy Z Flip at €1,199, it will cost you €827 discounted and then €8 per month for 24 months. That's a total of €1,019 which still represents €180 in savings.

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At Orange, the model is more ambiguous, with the option of buying a bare smartphone or buying it with a package generally with a 2-year commitment. There is always an initial deposit and rates are often more attractive in the first few months than during the rest of the commitment period.

For a 256GB Galaxy S24, Orange, for example, is offering a €489 deposit with a 200GB 5G subscription at €32.99 per month for 6 months and then €44.99 per month (24 month commitment). The price of mobile rental is not separate, which confuses the matter a bit.

Renting on a third-party platform: pay attention to insurance and options

Third-party platforms such as Boulanger, Uzit, Mobile.club or Next Mobile generally offer more flexibility during the engagement period. But these services also push their customers to buy expensive options that quickly rack up the bill. An insurance policy is generally offered by default from these sites – knowing that if you choose an iPhone, you are likely to prefer to buy the AppleCare + warranty which is difficult to compare with other insurance policies.

So, at Boulanger for example, renting an iPhone 15 Pro Max 256 GB (€1,479) for 24 months comes to €1,662.26, with an additional cost of €183.26. For comparison, AppleCare+ on this product is sold for €229 by the company. On other platforms, such as LoueTonMobile, the comparison is more complicated, as these sites offer remanufactured products that are no longer sold new. Then it is recommended that you carefully compare the prices available online so that you do not pay too much for the smartphone.

Small bonus of these platforms: you remain free to choose your provider – and switch at any time, as long as your subscription is without commitment.

Advantages of renting

  • Flexibility : Renting allows you to change your smartphone regularly without a large initial investment.
  • Maintenance and warranty : Rental packages often include warranty and device maintenance, reducing worries in the event of a breakdown.

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Disadvantages and limitations

  • Total cost : Over time, renting can be more expensive, especially when you factor in insurance options and costs in the event of damage – but this varies greatly by rental company.
  • Engagement : The rental type binds the user for a fixed period, often 24 months.
  • Operator Restrictions : If the user wishes to change operators before the end of their commitment, they may face complications, especially if the phone is still leased. Most carriers require that the device be returned in good condition or the balance of the monthly payments be paid before they will allow an exchange – an easy problem to navigate if you go through a third-party rental platform.

Bottom line: you should rent your smartphone

Leasing a smartphone has undeniable advantages in terms of flexibility and access to the latest technology without a high initial investment. Some operators offer rather simple and straightforward rental options with even a small reduction in the overall cost of the device. There are also third-party rental players such as Boulanger, Uzit, Mobile.club and Next Mobile – the latter allowing more flexibility in the duration of the commitment without requiring you to stay with the same provider.

However, this option also has limitations and may, in the long run, turn out to be more expensive than buying. Indeed, some mobile operators and most third-party platforms offer insurance and other options that are checked by default and should be carefully considered to avoid the risk of paying too much for your device. So the choice between renting and buying depends on your budget and priorities – renting often makes it easier to get a premium smartphone, in some cases saving you money. However, careful consideration of the conditions remains necessary to avoid surprises.

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