T-Mobile made big news today with a variety of announcements at their NYC event.
First and foremost the company unveiled what they’re calling a “groundbreaking approach” for those that like to frequently upgrade their mobile phones. It’s called “Jump” and allows T-Mobile customers to upgrade their handset twice a year, or every 6-months. By contrast, other providers, such at Sprint, AT&T and Verizon, only allow one subsidized upgrade every two years. Though more often than not, many of them will allow such an activity 20 months into contract in the hopes of slowing attrition. Here’s the details on the JUMP program:
- You need to be part of T-Mobile’s Equipment Installment Program (money down and a monthly payment)
- You have to be part of the Jump program for at least 6 months before you can upgrade your handset
- After that you can upgrade your phone twice in a 12-month period
- You’ll need to turn in an eligible phone in “good working” condition
- Your remaining payments from T-Mobile’s EIP program from the previous phone will be eliminated
- You’ll have to buy a new phone, which will be available at the same price as a new customer (upfront fee and a monthly payment of $30/month – it’s not clear if you have to continue to pay the $10 a month extra, but it’s unlikely)
While it sounds like a good deal, it is important to remember that many smartphone makers are now focusing their energy on just a few devices. We’ll also begin to see smaller leaps in power and features from device to device, so the draw to upgrade to another handset is likely to diminish in appeal. Moreover, at $30 a month (monthly cost of the phone and the Jump option), you could buy a brand new Nexus 4 with 16GB of storage in just 12-months, and that doesn’t include the one time fee that usually ranges from $50-100. Pretty much the same cost on getting a dependable cell phone insurance plan.
So is the Jump program a good deal? Well, your one year cost will start at $360, and that is assuming you only choose devices that T-Mobile sells to new customers for $0. If one were to start with an iPhone, and then get a $0 device, that cost would ballon to $506 thanks to T-Mobile’s iPhone 5, which requires $146 down. Of course, the aforementioned numbers assume you’re part of the program for 12-months – you should be able to drop out after the first upgrade. You can probably “jump” back in, but you’ll need to be part of the program for at least 6 months again before your next upgrade. That in mind, $300 and $466 more accurately reflects the minimum cost if you’re part of the program, and that’s not accounting for any fees, or your monthly bill.