T-Mobile is rolling out a new Un-Carrier initiative that will allow customers to switch phones up to three times a year.
The new offer is part of the recently announced "Un-Carrier Amped" program, which aims to tweak existing Un-Carrier promotions. Jump! On Demand does away with the monthly $10 fee that is part of the original Jump Equipment Installment Plan (EIP). The original Jump! program will also still be available.
T-Mobile says that customers with JUMP! On Demand can upgrade anytime so long as their trade-in device passes a quick three-point check-up to ensure it’s in good working order. The carrier explains Jump! On Demand as including both the price of the device and the monthly $10 in a single payment.
CEO John Legere said that EIPs being offered by AT&T and Verizon have basically reverted to 2-year contracts. Verizon had previously only required that customers have paid off 75 percent of their device before they could upgrade but has since changed that a 24-month 100 percent pay-off to be eligible for a new phone.
"Verizon’s quietly turned their ‘early upgrade’ program back into a two-year contract – as if nobody’ll notice. And AT&T isn’t much better," Legere said in a statement.
As part of the promotion, T-Mobile is offering for a limited time the 16 GB iPhone 6 for $0 down at signing plus $15 per month for and 18 month lease. If the customer were to cancel service at any time during the lease, remaining payments of up to $27.08 per month become due.
Tammy Parker, senior analyst at Current Analysis, said in emailed notes that Jump on Demand is T-Mobile's way of getting into the device-leasing business while simultaneously satisfying customers who desire easier, more frequent smartphone upgrades.
"The timing is particularly interesting given that Verizon Wireless recently tightened up its Edge device financing and upgrade programme to make customers fully pay off an Edge device before they can upgrade," Parker said.
Parker sees the program as a differentiator for T-Mobile, putting it in direct competition with Sprint in the leased devices segment. That said, she also thinks that more granular tweaks to original Un-Carrier initiatives means T-Mobile has exhausted its bucket of "earth-shaking Un-Carrier moves."