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T-Mobile Jumps to Twice-a-Year Phone Upgrades for $10 per Month

Wed, 07/10/2013 - 3:37pm
Ben Munson

T-Mobile promised to get bold at its July 10 press event in New York and the carrier made good by taking on one of the major pain points for wireless customers: lengthy waits for phone upgrades.

Called Jump, T-Mobile’s new upgrade program charges customers a $10 monthly fee in return for the ability to trade in their phones up to twice a year—after being in the program for six months. T-Mobile customers will turn in their device—provided it’s in good working order—and the carrier will wipe out the remaining payments while letting them pick up a new phone at the new customer up-front price. The fee also includes a protection plan for devices.

The program starts July 14 and is designed to address what a joyfully profane CEO John Legere called “Oh sh*t” moments, leading the audience in repeating the words each time he described another common problem that afflicted mobile phones.

“We are going to redefine a stupid, arrogant, broken industry,” Legere said, foregoing explanatory statistics and data to reassure that T-Mobile has been listening to customers in order to achieve that redefinition.

T-Mobile’s Jump is indeed moving in the opposition direction of AT&T and Verizon, that both this year extended the upgrade waiting cycle for customers to 24 months.

T-Mobile’s new upgrade generosity is similar to something that UK carrier O2 already offers called Refresh that allows customers to get a new phone by slapping the new subsidy on their contract while allowing them to pay out their existing subsidy.

In the U.S., though, where T-Mobile has been working hard to set itself apart from other carriers, it’s a first. But T-Mobile also announced some news that moved it closer to its competitors.

CTO Neville Ray appeared at the event with an update on T-Mobile’s LTE rollout. After touting the 228 million POPs of HSPA+ at T-Mobile customers’ disposal, Ray excitedly announced T-Mobile had surpassed its goal of 100 million POPs of LTE by mid-year, hitting 157 million POPs. T-Mobile welcomed former spokeswoman Carly Foulkes on stage to switch on the new markets, taking its LTE market total up to 116 metro markets.

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