Edit: Whoops I meant to post this in the Service Providers section. If any mod could kindly move the thread, it'd be appreciated.

Scroll to bottom for tl;dr

Couldn't really afford the bill for my Pre- anymore last year. It was actually in my mother's name though.... had to let it get canceled. So lately I've been surviving on a crappy prepaid phone (which I just gave to my friend).

I was in the mall today, bored. So I walked into Sprint and was immediately engaged by an employee who I had previously asked a couple questions. He is extremely friendly and is by far the most pleasant sales rep I have ever dealt with.
I asked him a few questions about deposits, and if I'd still have to sign a contract even if I already have a phone. Before I knew it, I ran out to my car to grab my Pre (glorified mp3 player, until now).

He utterly convinced me that I would almost surely not have to pay a deposit. I owe paypal over $1,000 and another $800 to banks, none of which I've paid back yet. He said I could be walking out with an activated phone without having to pay a dime... how could I resist!
So he ran my credit, said he has good news... up to 5 lines, no deposit. I was shocked. I am grinning the whole time and we are both laughing it up, having a great conversation while he gets everything squared away. He waived activation fees and everything... I literally was paying nothing!
When we were all done, he said I literally saved his job.

For some reason, a lot of my data did have to be wiped. Apps, music, pics, etc... nothing I really cared about, though. But memos, calendar, etc were transferred.
I just barely installed WebOS 2.1 successfully and oh man it is truly awesome. The smooth scrolling alone is worth the trouble of upgrading.

tldl: You must still get a contract with Sprint even if you already have a phone. Reasons for this should be obvious. Also, Sprint apparently has very, very low credit requirements (the guy said $150 is the highest he's seen and he's only seen that once). I walked out the door with a reactivated Pre, and not a dime spent. Hopefully I can keep up on my bill this time.