Samsung may follow Apple with Galaxy handset lease program

To better compete for cost-conscious customers and create a secondary income stream for refurbished phones, Samsung might have a monthly leasing program of its own.

With handset subsidies dying a slow, painful death in the U.S., device makers have to find new ways to make their phones attractive to customers on a budget. Apple did just that earlier this month with its new iPhone Upgrade Program and Samsung is reportedly considering a similar plan.

An industry executive claiming knowledge of Samsung's plans tells Forbes, "It's a no brainer why they wouldn't do this."

The source did not have pricing details to share but between Apple's plan and those of the U.S. carriers, we can get an idea. I'd expect monthly prices to be similar to what carrier lease programs offer.

As far as a timeline, sooner rather than later would be better for Samsung else it misses some or all of an upgrade cycle from customers who opt for carrier-offered leases.

There's a benefit for Samsung to get those purchases because the plans typically require customers return the handsets when upgrading to a new one. That provides Samsung with a secondary revenue stream: Having a large inventory of refurbished units to essentially sell a second, or even third, time.

Another reason this is a smart move for Samsung -- and Apple, for that matter -- is that the true, full retail cost of the phone is hidden from consumers who don't read the fine print. That's a big plus when your handsets are priced at $800, $900, or even more.