Feeds

T-Mobile to let US customers swap phones twice a year

Out with the old, in with the new – for a monthly fee, of course

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

In its latest challenge to the two-year contracts of its competitors, US wireless carrier T-Mobile has announced a new plan that allows customers to upgrade their handsets to new models as often as twice a year.

"At some point, big wireless companies made a decision for you that you should have to wait two years to get a new phone for a fair price," T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere said in a canned statement. "That's 730 days of waiting. 730 days of watching new phones come out that you can't have. Or having to live with a cracked screen or an outdated camera."

Unveiled at a press event on Wednesday, T-Mobile's new Jump! plan allows customers who buy their phones under the carrier's Equipment Installment Program (EIP) to trade in their handsets twice a year, once they have been enrolled in the program for at least six months.

EIP, you may recall, is T-Mobile's answer to handset subsidies, which the carrier did away with in March amid much fanfare. Under the EIP program, customers pay a down-payment on their phones and then pay off the balance of the device's full list price over the next 24 months.

Previously, customers were only eligible to replace their phones once they finished out the 24 months (or paid off the balance on their old phone in a lump sum). With Jump!, customers can now switch to new phones up to twice a year, provided they turn in their old ones.

Customers who turn in their phones under Jump! have all of their remaining EIP payments negated and they can purchase their new phones under the same pricing and terms as new customers. The only requirement is that their phones must be in good working order – no broken screens, no liquid damage, and the devices must power on.

The catch is that Jump! isn't free. It costs $10 per month, so while T-Mobile says there are no charges or fees to swap your phone, by the time you're eligible to upgrade you will have paid a minimum of $60 on top of your regular EIP payments.

On the plus side, T-Mobile is treating the program as an extension of its existing handset protection insurance plans. When you sign up for Jump!, you also get protection from damage, loss, or theft thrown in for the same fee.

Jump! is only the latest attempt by fourth-ranked T-Mobile to regain market share from its larger rivals, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. Despite restructuring its rate plans and debuting the iPhone on its network in April, the carrier continues to struggle to retain customers.

According to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, T-Mobile accounted for just 10.1 per cent of US smartphone sales during the three months ending in May, down from 13.5 per cent during the same period a year ago.

But those same figures showed that 53 per cent of customers who bought an iPhone through T-Mobile had previously owned a feature phone, rather than a smartphone, which was significantly above than the 45 per cent industry average.

By making it easier for customers to upgrade their phones more often, T-Mobile may be betting that more of their customers will move from feature phones to smartphones, which are generally more lucrative for carriers.

T-Mobile's Jump! program officially launches in most US regions on Sunday, July 14. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit
USB-serial imitators whacked by driver update
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.