Yesterday, we were given information by one of our sources on some upcoming changes to the JUMP! program. Shortly after publishing, T-Mobile got in touch to confirm that it is coming and to clear up some of the confusion, trying to make it as clear as possible.
Official PR spiel below:
T-Mobile sparked a revolution in the wireless industry in 2013, beginning with the elimination of service contracts and a call for ‘Contract Freedom.’ Our innovative JUMP! handset upgrade program is an important cornerstone of our Un-carrier movement, and soon (starting February 23) you will be able to upgrade as many times as you like:
- Whenever you’re ready to upgrade, trade in your device and T-Mobile will pay your remaining device payments up to 50% of the device cost. There is no more waiting period or limit to the number of times you can upgrade per year.
- And we didn’t stop there – we’ve also added tablets to the program! We’re excited about how these program enhancements give our customers even more freedom to upgrade when they want, instead of when they’re told.
The old-guard carriers all tried to follow our lead last year, but none can match the variety of freedoms we provide to our customers with JUMP!
As you can see, this is pretty much exactly what we read and wrote about yesterday. Except that there’s a little more clarity on a few parts. The biggest talking point between us in the comments section was the whole 50% thing, so let’s tackle that first:
50% device cost
For some customers, and for most of you who read this blog, this could be the downside to the new plans. From February 23rd, if you sign up to the JUMP! plan, you can – if you want to – upgrade your phone whenever you like. But to do so, you must have paid at least 50% of the cost of the phone, and trade-in your current phone.
Let’s take the Samsung Galaxy S4 as an example. We’ll use the current price and standard EIP just to make the example easier. Its full price is $624, and we’ll assume you have great credit and got it without paying anything up front. If you decide after 3 months (three EIP payments) that you no longer want it, and would like to switch, you’ve already paid $78 (3x$26). In order to JUMP! (upgrade/change phones) you need to have paid $312 of the phone’s cost. So, you have a balance of $234 left to pay. And you have to trade-in your phone.
Currently, an S4 will fetch you $150 using the company’s trade-in program, but that value has no impact whatsoever on how much you need to have paid towards your phone. So, if you have an iPhone that’ll fetch you $300 through trading it in, that doesn’t change the fact that you still need to have paid at least half of your phone’s cost. So, trading your phone in is necessary, but its value has no impact on how much of your device cost T-Mobile covers. It’s still up to 50%.
- You can upgrade whenever you like
- T-Mobile will cover up to 50% of the original device cost when you JUMP!
- You have to trade-in your current phone
Now, I know that may not sound great on first looks. It doesn’t seem like as great a deal. But if we think logically about how often someone might want to upgrade and consider other factors, it doesn’t seem quite as bad. At least, not to regular consumers. We – as tech nerds and the phone obsessed – don’t really fall in to that category.
If you’re an iPhone user, chances are you’re only going to upgrade once every 12 months, each time the next iPhone is released. The same can be said of Galaxy users. Even if you get your device with $0 down, chances are, you’ve already paid 50% of your phone’s cost through monthly EIP payments.
If you’re a phone nut, and like to change far more often, you can still do so and you don’t necessarily have to pay the big lump sum when you decide to change phones. You could – for instance – decide that you’re going to pay more than the regular monthly EIP charges to cover 50% of the phone quicker, or decide to pay an up front fee to soften the blow. Also, if you don’t happen to be someone with great credit, and you’ve had to pay an upfront fee anyway, this would significantly reduce the amount you’d have to pay to change phones.
For some, it’s clear, this isn’t going to be a good change. For most regular users, it is. You don’t find many chomping at the bit, impatiently wanting to change phones after just 1-2 months. But those who absolutely have to change phones that regularly can do, it’s just going to cost them. And for those who perhaps would expect T-Mobile should just pay off your entire EIP whenever you decide you want a new phone, perhaps looking at the numbers would persuade you it’s not good business sense to do so.
Existing JUMP! users
If you sign up (or have signed up) to the JUMP! program before February 23rd, you will continue under your original terms. You can upgrade from 6 months onwards, and change up to twice each year and T-Mobile will cover the entire device cost as it does now. However, you can change to the new JUMP! terms if you upgrade after the 23rd. Only if you want to.
If you currently have JUMP! and have only been on the program for a couple of months, you can’t just switch to the new terms. You have to wait until your next upgrade is due, and then change. And that’s only if you want to. You can continue on the original terms as long as you like, even if you upgrade. You’re grandfathered in.
From the same date that these changes go live, tablets will be included too. So, if you have a tablet from T-Mobile, you can sign up to the JUMP! program anytime from the 23rd of Feb. It’s worth noting that tablets and smartphones are not interchangeable. So, if you have a phone on the JUMP! program, you can’t swap it for a tablet or vice-versa. You can only JUMP! from smartphone to smartphone or tablet to tablet. Not tablet to smartphone or smartphone to tablet.
This is official. These changes are happening, and it’s no longer just a rumor from our sources. It costs just the same as it already does. $10 per month, and includes the same insurance benefits. Only the terms will be changing. T-Mobile thinks this is a good change for customers. I’m not quite convinced.
Still confused? Ask in the comments, grab me on twitter @TiP_Cam, or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll do my best to explain it.