One of the major pain points of wireless service is how long we as consumers have to wait before being “eligible” for an upgrade on a new smartphone. Sprint’s contract makes you wait 22 months before getting an upgrade, and both Verizon and AT&T make you wait a full 24 months before you qualify. T-Mobile had previously made customers wait 20 months for a new device, the lowest of the four major carriers, until their recent sweeping changes across the company and move away from wireless contracts.
In yet another major change from Magenta, they just introduced JUMP, an upgrade program that will allow you to get a new smartphone as often as twice every 12 months. Pretty incredible, right? So what’s the catch?
In order to participate in the JUMP program, you add an extra $10 special “feature” to your monthly Simple Choice rate plan within 14 days of buying your new phone on T-Mobile’s installment payment plan. That covers the cost of the “Premium Handset Protection” add-on, which is basically just insurance for your phone in case it’s lost, damaged or stolen. When a new phone comes out that you just have to have, you trade in your old phone and walk out the door with a new one.
Day 1: Get a Samsung Galaxy S4 on the installment payment plan. That’s $99 out of pocket for your down payment, then $20 a month thereafter until it’s paid off (24 months).
8 Months later…
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is released (I’m making this up for the example. I have no idea when the GS5 will be available). You just have to have it, so you head to the T-Mobile store to trade in your tired old GS4.
In the 8 months since you got your GS4, you’ve paid:
$99 (down) + $20/mo (installment payments) x 8 months + $10/mo (JUMP) x 8 months = $339
As long as your phone is in working order, has no liquid damage or cracked screen, you’ll hand it over along with plunking down your next down payment (let’s assume it’s $99 for the GS5) and walk out the door. You’ll continue paying your monthly installment for the new phone, but the one you traded-in is now “paid in full”. If you want to continue with the JUMP program so you can get whatever the next latest and greatest phone is at a future date, you also continue paying the $10/mo JUMP fee.
Sounds pretty simple, right? It’s definitely an innovative approach to getting customers newer devices more often than just every two years. And let’s face it, with how quickly technology changes, most of us (especially the tech lovers among us) can’t imagine having the same phone that long.
More details on T-Mobile’s website, here. T-Mobile.com