If you’re someone who is always lusting after the coolest new phone, but lacks the budget to constantly buy those phones at full retail prices, then a new company called Rentobile might have what you’re looking for. Rentobile rents popular handsets to customers who want the latest and greatest, but who are stuck in a contract or otherwise can’t get the latest phones.
The company isn’t a mobile operator, and they don’t sell service plans. Instead, they buy phones from each carrier at full retail price and then offer them to customers for a monthly fee. Currently, Rentobile offers many popular phones, including Apple’s 3G iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerry Storm, the Samsung Omnia, and many others. If Rentobile doesn’t have the particular phone you’re looking for, they will go out and get that phone from a carrier’s retail store for you.
Rentobile currently offers between two and five devices for each of the top four carriers in the U.S. They also have unlocked phones. Monthly rental prices range from $20 to $50 per month. You can save some money on the monthly rental fees by becoming a member, though there is also a membership fee. In addition to savings on rental fees, members are notified when Rentobile receives new devices. Members also receive a discount on mobile device accessories. Membership runs $9.95 per month, but you can save up to 50% by purchasing a yearly subscription.
To encourage users to swap phones regularly, Rentobile requires users to switch phones after a year. Of course, you’re welcome to swap phones as often as you like.
Recognizing that some people abuse phones, Rentobile offers insurance. According to the company, coverage against excessive wear and cracks is mandatory. All phones that you rent are either new or in like new condition.
We’re not sure what to think of this service. On the one hand, it’s certainly nice to get a new, shiny device regularly. On the other hand, this service could get costly, particularly if you choose one of the pricier phones each month. The company is relatively new, so they’re looking for new customers to get their business rolling. Will you be the next to sign up?