Samsung Electronics will launch a leasing program for its latest Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets through its own stores in South Korea when sales begin March 11.
Much like Apple's iPhone leasing program launched last September, buyers of the South Korean tech giant's flagship phones can use them for a year after just paying monthly fees, then upgrade them to newer models.
Users sign a 24-month, monthly instalment plan, but if they upgrade their phones in 12 months, they are exempt from the remaining payments.
Samsung will only offer the program via its Samsung Digital Plaza in South Korea, its own physical stores, when official sales begin. It will not be available in other telco stores where Koreans usually buy their phones.
Samsung will partner its affiliate Samsung Card, its credit card company, with monthly instalments paid to the financial firm. Users can select any mobile of South Korea's mobile carriers -- SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus.
Choi Sung-joon, chairman of telco watchdog Korea Communication Commission, said he hoped that the rental service will reinvigorate the local smartphone market, which has stagnated since a strict subsidies limit being enforced, as well as market saturation.
Samsung will start pre-orders for the S7 series through telcos in South Korea from March 4.