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Phones 4U intros Jump plan to speed smartphone upgrades

Separates phone cost from airtime package

Phones 4U

Phones 4U has come up with a new phone package it claims makes it easier to change handsets.

Called Jump, the plan separates airtime from handset. So, a £37.99-a-month, two-year Jump contract actually comprises £15, which goes off to your network operator, and Phones 4U's phone-specific fee, the Jump Service Charge (JSC).

A 16GB iPhone 4S JSC is £28.49, for instance.

The JSC covers the phone. Change it, and Phones 4U will work out a new monthly payment based on how much you had left to pay on the old package, minus any trade-in value on your previous phone plus whatever extra monthly JSC your new handset warrants.

Switch, though, and you could ramp up your monthly JSC payment. Go to an iPhone 4S after a year with another handset - Phones 4U quotes a typical monthly JSC of £22.99 - and you won't pay £28.49 but £33.47, according to Phones 4U's calculation, or £38.44 if you switch after six months.

And there's still airtime to pay on top of that.

How much value that represents compared to, say, a £35-a-month iPhone 4S package on Three depends on what airtime you get for that £15 component. Phones 4U didn't say. But Three does want £39-99 up front for the second phone, which Phones 4U doesn't. There may be an up-front cost for the first phone, however, depending on the model you select.

The Yoof-oriented retailer said Jump - which stands for "just upgrade my phone" - will typically add only £3-4 to a monthly bill, which is essentially the upgrade phone's up-front cost spread out over the duration of the contract.

Is it worth it? You'll have to do the sums depending on the kind of handset you think you're going to want to upgrade to and when. ®

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