Samsung teams with Microsoft to ensure you’ll never stop paying for phones

Samsung Access isn't a bad deal though.

Credit: Christopher Hebert/IDG

If you want to buy a new Samsung Galaxy S20, there’s no shortage of ways to do it. You can trade in an old phone, sign up for the upgrade program, get zero-interest financing, or take advantage of the numerous discounted bundles on If none of those are to your liking, Samsung is launching a new program today called Samsung Access.

Billed as a “revolutionary subscription for your Unlocked Galaxy S20 5G,” Samsung Access consists of two main components: a new Galaxy S20 with Samsung’s Premium Care insurance and a subscription to Microsoft Office 365. It’ll cost you $37 per month for a Galaxy S20, $42 for an S20+, and $48 for an S20 Ultra—about $10 a month more than a new phone would cost on its own and roughly $8 in monthly savings over paying for Premium Care and Office separately.

The hook is that you’re never really going to own your phone. The Samsung Access program is predicated on the notion that you’re always going to upgrade to a new device, and as such, you’ll be able to upgrade your phone at no extra charge after nine months of paying for Access, which is really the whole point of the program. If you want to upgrade before your 9-month date it’ll cost you an extra $100.

Since the program is based on a 36-month cycle, trading in after nine months means you have 27 months of payments left, which will require you to essentially trade in your old phone for a new one and start the process all over. You’ll get credit toward your old phone and start paying for your new one and essentially start the whole process over just like a standard upgrade program.

I searched through the terms and conditions and Samsung doesn’t address what happens if you finish paying for your phone but still want to keep Access. Speaking from experience, however, three years is a lot to expect from a Galaxy phone, so you’ll definitely want to upgrade before then. And if you do, Access really isn’t a bad deal. You’ll get the latest Galaxy hardware, an Office subscription that can be installed on five devices, and 1TB in OneDrive Cloud storage for a flat discounted monthly fee. And presumably, you’ll be able to lower your Access subscription to a lower tier at the time of upgrade.

So if you want the newest Galaxy phone, love Office, and don’t mind paying a phone bill for the rest of your life, you can sign up for Access at

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Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
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