Since taking over the company a little over a month ago, Sprint (NYSE:S) CEO Marcelo Claure has moved quickly to reverse the fortunes of the No. 3 wireless carrier in the United States. He has lowered prices, dropped the confusing "Framily" plan, and generally been much more aggressive than his predecessor, Dan Hesse. 

Now, Claure has moved quickly and boldly again in an attempt to benefit from Apple's upcoming release of its latest iPhone model. The Sprint CEO reached out to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) early in his tenure, flying to San Francisco to meet with the company's CEO, Tim Cook, on his first day on the job, CNN Money reported. What he pitched Cook was a new pricing plan called "iPhone for Life" that offers unlimited data at a lower price than Sprint's existing contracted plan along with a new iPhone at no upfront costs. People who join the plan would have the right to upgrade every two years to the latest iPhone.

Cook agreed and Sprint was able to announce the deal at the same time it launched pre-ordering for the new phone.

"For Apple to stand behind something like that, they got to believe in it. They are using their name," Claure said last week at a Goldman Sachs media and telecom conference.

What is iPhone for Life?
iPhone for Life lets customers get a new iPhone at no uprfront cost with an unlimited data plan for $50 plus a $20 monthly fee to lease the phone. That fee covers the 16GB iPhone 6, with the 6 Plus costing $25 a month, and prices varying for phones with larger storage capacities. Because the phone is being leased, the customer does not actually own it. The deal "guarantees" access to a new device every two years, but the fine print in the Sprint press release announcing it, makes it clear that pricing could change.

Is it a good deal?
Sprint attempts to make it clear on its website that iPhone for Life is the best way for its customers to purchase the new iPhone. The company offers three ways to get the new phones (aside from paying full retail for it) the iPhone for Life lease, a finance plan, and the traditional subsidized contract offer.

Sprint Offer

A look at Sprint's three offers for the iPhone 6. Source: Sprint website 

As you can see on the chart above, the iPhone for Life offer is the way for Sprint customers to have an iPhone 6 with the least out-of-pocket cash and the lowest monthly payment. The major negative, compared to the other two options, is that at the end of the deal, you do not own your phone. That's a significant negative as past model iPhones do retain significant value. As of Sept. 15, Gazelle.com was offering Sprint customers $175 for a used 16GB iPhone 5S in good condition and $190 for one in flawless shape. Even the older iPhone 4S still fetches $55 for good condition and $65 for flawless on the resale site.   
 
Customers choosing to pay for their phone on Sprint's finance plan will end up paying $170.16 in extra charges over the course of two years, while contract customers will spend $840 in extra monthly service charges. 
 
What both iPhone for Life and the finance offer make clear is that Sprint wants to stop subsidizing the cost of iPhones for contracted customers, even if that means lowering monthly bills. What's less clear is whether iPhone for Life makes Sprint's finance offer stack up well next to rival lower-cost carrier T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS).  
 
The No. 4 wireless carrier no longer offers subsidized phones and only offers iPhone 6 for outright sale or in a 24-month finance deal, which at $27.08 a month is almost identical to Sprint's. After that it gets a little confusing as T-Mobile does offer a service plan for $50 a month, but that plan is not identical to Sprint's as it includes unlimited talk and text, but only 500 MB of high speed wireless data. Data is unlimited, but after the cap is hit, speeds slow down, whereas the Sprint plan offers unlimited high speed data except for the rare peak use periods where the company throttles its heaviest users.
 
AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) offer similar leasing plans as well as the traditional subsidized purchase model, but both charge more for service plans than Sprint and T-Mobile.
 
So, is it a good deal?
iPhone for Life is close enough in price to Sprint's financing offer that it seems like it's not a big enough incentive to make it worth it for someone to not own their phone. Sprint does not offer early upgrades through iPhone for Life, which means that if 12 months from now Apple introduces the iPhone 7, For Life customers will either have to pay off their lease or wait a year. Add in the fact that the plan does not guarantee rates after the first 24-month period and the promotion seems of limited value.
 
Sprint is, however, offering the cheapest overall price for iPhone 6 with unlimited data, which should help it hold on to and even win some customers. Claure deserves credit for working with Apple to create a unique option for his company's customers and the company's overall aggressive pricing puts it back on equal, if not better, footing with T-Mobile when it cones to competing for customers. iPhone for Life however seems more like a gimmick than good deal and, in most cases, financing your iPhone through Sprint (or purchasing it outright) makes the most sense.
 

Daniel Kline is long Apple. He has ordered a new iPhone 6 on a subsidized contract plan. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.