So Sprint will be offering the 16Gb Nexus 5 for $150 with a new 2 year contract.
Google sells the phone direct for $350. This means the contract subsidy is only $200. This compares to the $450 subsidy on a new iPhone 5S.
The most economical thing to do is get a subsidized iPhone 5S on my new Sprint contract, then sell it, sealed in box, on eBay for $600 (seems to be going rate). Buy a Nexus 5 straight from Google for $350 and pocket $250 in cash.
I'm not happy about this. There's another carrier that won't make me go through this nonsense.
Well, it doesn't help that they jacked up the price of the 16GB model of the Nexus 5 $100 over what Play store is charging. Yes, Sprint is charging $449 for the 16GB model as opposed to Plays $349.
Actually the subsidy is $200 - the $36 activation fee that you have to pay when you buy the phone from Sprint. And I bet the one that Sprint is selling is locked. And, if you are in a State like California that charges sales tax on the full retail price, you will have to pay tax on $450 if you buy from Sprint but on $350 if you buy from Google Play.
Actually, at least in California, you pay only about $100 less buying the subsidized phone from Sprint vs. the Google Play store.
My total price, including tax and shipping, from Google Play was $389.53.
I did a mock order for an upgrade from Sprint, the total price including tax showed as $249.20. However, you then need to pay the $36 activation fee, bringing the total price up to $285.20.
Resale value of the unlocked Play Store version will also likely be higher (of course we don't know for a fact that the SIM will be locked on Sprint, but history tells us that it will be.)