Rumor Round 2: Uncarrier Phase 3 To Include Refurb Phones In Stores

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 11.48.34 AMHappy Friday folks and welcome to rumor round 2 for T-Mobile’s Uncarrier Phase 3. The good news in this, the second rumor on Phase 3 that I’ve posted is more confirmation for the idea that T-Mobile will remove deposits for Simple Choice customers. Now, before I move on…it seems some clarification is in order for the word “deposit.”

A deposit is a dollar value carriers can require above and beyond the price of a phone to customers that aren’t considered “well-qualified.” It’s generally based on credit history and can range from a hundred dollars to well beyond that. Now, credit can also affect the purchase price of a device on T-Mobile which is why the carrier always prefaces their retail down-payment pricing with the words “based on well-qualified.”

As for the second part of this rumor, there’s more wind kicking up the dust that T-Mobile will offer refurb smartphones in their retail company-owned locations. This is a rumor that first came to my attention shortly after the end of the company’s Phase 2 event in New York City. T-Mobile has carried refurb phones on their website for years, but this would be one of the first times you could pick those up in stores. There’s no indicators about how pricing would work or whether it would be different than the company’s online refurb pricing. I’d say this rumor is pretty reliable and could come to pass. There’s a good chance some of these “refurb” devices will be devices that are traded in under the company’s JUMP! upgrade platform.

Last but not least and I can’t urge the skepticism I have with this part but it’s come to my attention that T-Mobile may consider opening up their network to free calls to Mexico. I can only hope that along with Mexico, T-Mobile would include free calls to our neighbors to the north but I can’t emphasize that the entirety of this free call to international zones should be taken with a heaping grain of salt.

What do we think about Phase 3 rumors so far?

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  • bdbman

    Employees will hopefully educate customers on what a “referb” actually is. They don’t magically take a pbone that was run over into a new looking one. The device is no more predisposed to problems as a new one is. In some cases they are more reliable considering the number KFC tests they go through vs the every x number that get checked when manufactured.

    • bdbman

      Good lord auto correct… *number of tests

      • 21stNow

        That’s OK. It’s lunch time! ; )

  • kev2684

    the moment they announced jump i think this move was quite obvious. reselling refurb phones from previous upgrades raking in more money for the company. it was a great strategy.

    customer A pays a little more than half $ of the phone, turns it back-in, carefully inspect and fix whatever’s broken and resell as refurb for another a little more than half of the phone to customer b. they get at least 2 accounts using one phone. they’ll have the supply of brand new/refurb high-end phones for both post-paid and prepaid customers with profit over the actual value of the device..

  • who when where

    Another way for T-Mobile to remain on the trailing edge of technology is my first thought. Then again they do need some way to get rid of their “Jump” inventory. I wouldn’t mind so much if refurbs were only sold online. There is too much room for abuse both from unscrupulous employees (passing off a refurb as new) and from unscrupulous customers (buying new and making a minor cosmetic scratch and demanding a replacement. )

    This will also extend the life cycle of phones and and OSs. We may never get another OS upgrade on old hardware.

  • Carlo J

    I would love it if they aimed at Americans that travel internationally – it would be great if I could use my phone overseas and not get raped. This benefit would help convince a part of the market that T-Mobile has not historically not targeted to come on over.

    • fsured

      That would be pretty cool they allowed deep discounted roaming on cell providers that are owned by the same company.

    • UMA_Fan

      There’s WiFi calling in case you didn’t know. I’ve always thought in some cases it might be more economical to buy a mifi from overseas and hook your tmo Sim phone to that and use your phone wherever as a local US based phone via WiFi calling

  • 21stNow

    So like college bookstores, huh. Since this is related to JUMP inventory, I guess that we can expect AT&T and VZW to follow suit soon. This may make Ebay and craigslist take a hit with customers.

    Can Phase 4 offer a discount to full-price upfront buyers? If ever there were a such thing as a loyalty discount, this would be the scenario. Loyalty doesn’t come from fulfilling contracts. Or shall I keep dreaming…

    • fsured

      I don’t think they have ever mentioned there being a “4th” phase. I would think the phones that get traded in at the stores would need to be sent somewhere to check for damage, do any needed cosmetic touch ups, and wipe the phone of any personal data. *That last one should done by whoever trades in the phone anyway.* Sort of like a factory re-certified procedure before selling them back. Inventory then might not depend on how many of any one device is traded in at a location but whatever inventory gets shipped to the store.

      It’s all speculation until details of the whole process gets released, if they haven’t already.

      • 21stNow

        I know that there isn’t a Phase 4 in reality. It was just a dream…

    • Stone Cold

      If a carrier offered loyalty discounts that would be huge IMO. I agree the contract does not define loyalty. I am going on 9 years with T-Mobile.

      • JBrowne1012

        Funny thing is that T-mboile USED to have loyalty discounts and promotions…

        • 21stNow

          But, to take advantage of loyalty offers, you had to sign a contract. That was my point-that contracts don’t define loyalty. I could never take advantage of any of the loyalty offers because they were never off of the full-price of the phone when I called in.

    • JBrowne1012

      I highly doubt it will put a dent in any online services like ebay and craigslist you forget that any Jump program isn’t giving you full value for what your phones are worth that is the sole reasons places like ebay and craigslist exist. Besides even if refurbished phones are there its only going to be maybe what $100 off at the most? think about it.

      • 21stNow

        Customers on the JUMP program have to turn in their old phones if they want to upgrade to a new one in six months. Ebay and craigslist are not options for them. If they keep their old phone, then they aren’t getting the true advantage of the JUMP program anyway.

        Even if customers do still sell old phones on Ebay and craigslist, the price that they get will depend on having buyers that are willing to pay for it. Some buyers may be tired of the hassles (especially with craigslist) and may choose to be able to go to a store and get a refurbished phone right away. If the pool of buyers diminishes, so do the prices. Then sellers aren’t as inclined to sell on those avenues. I’m not suggesting that Ebay and craigslist will cease to exist; not hardly. But they can take a hit with this.

  • Irfan

    I have a question , for example I have a t mobile smart phone which trade value is for example 100$ I hand over to them so actually I sell it and t mobile bought it and I m going to new or refurb from them it’s called trade in if I m not wrong so when I sell mine then they have to pay or they include in new or refurb phone the sales tax …..

    • steveb944

      I’m assuming this is how it works. You get your $100, you use that to pay them for your new device+tax. Consumer never gets a tax break.

      Before trading in you should check out swappa, as well as Sold app that just released.

    • fsured

      I think you are on the right track. Since you are trading in the phone they are giving you the value of the item and you get credit for a new item. When you buy the new phone then you get charged taxes for that new item. When T-Mobile sells that phone you traded in they charge the new customer tax on that phone.

      You are asking if there is sale’s tax when you trade in that phone. There could be a tax that T-Mobile pays since they are buying the phone from you but you don’t see it. Might be something that gets logged into the computer when they process the trade in.

    • RedGeminiPA

      At least in PA, there is no tax due from the company who’s giving you the trade allowance. You, the customer, are NOT a business who is responsible for collecting and submitting sales tax. The only sales tax due is on the balance after your trade allowance. Again, that’s how it works in PA: cars, cell phones etc.

      Example: The phone you’re buying is $400. They give you $100 trade allowance. You’ll owe $300 + tax on the $300.

      Here’s a twist, which it could very possibly work this way: They give you what is essentially a gift card for $100. You will then pay tax on the full $400, then they apply the $100 gift card as a type of payment.

  • psychoace

    Hopefully this means the online store will receive more refurbed units as well. If you look right now the online store shows 0 refurbs. Also I’m not even seeing refurbished phones as an option on the upgrade page. Maybe because they have none altogether or they are holding off for this next phase. Who knows.

  • steveb944

    If they included South America it would be awesome. That way we could avoid our $15/ month fee for calling there.

    Phase 3 better be big because the CEO has been getting my hopes up with this final phase. Beat everyone down T-Mobile!

    Edit: There’s only 3 phases right?

    • MMM


  • noc007

    Like many others, I expected the refurb inventory to increase with the addition of JUMP and selling them in store is the next logical step. Clearing out their BlackBerry inventory will free up room for demo models for the refurb devices. It would be nice to be able to get a refurb at a substantial discount on a model that was released half a year ago.

    I do hope they include Canada calls as a no-cost addition to our plans. In the event I do make an international call, I’d like to be required to punch in a few extra digits. My employer has offices in Canada and I’ve made a few calls to that 10 digit number without knowing it was going to cost extra; at least it didn’t hit $10 which is what the unlimited outbound international calling costs.

  • Burningguitar

    Ok, so how about some rumors on when the heck we could get the iPhones we ordered last Friday? ;)

    • bob90210

      The iPhones will arrive as part of phase 8.

      • Burningguitar

        HAHAHAHA! That made my day, thanks Bob! :D

    • RedGeminiPA

      What was your estimated shipping date when you placed the order? That’s your answer. No rumors needed.

      • Burningguitar

        None given. There was nothing on the order printout from the store, and the next day an email only said “backordered, we will send you an email when your order ships.” In total limbo… :(

  • Rod

    Anybody been to a T-Mobile store lately and notice thier shiny new NFC payment terminals? Paid my bill with Google Wallet. Yet they still block it and still no ISIS sim cards. Shame

    • tmo4life

      We do have ISIS some cards in store. Reps might not know but all tHey have to do is looking on back and it says Isis.

    • Chris marble

      I used Google Wallet on my Nexus 4 to pay for my bill last month. It worked great!

  • AndroidProfit

    The refurb idea is GREAT!

  • KlausWillSeeYouNow

    Maybe it’s me, but selling used phones in stores just doesn’t blow me away. Sorry.

    • Liam

      I agree with you. However it will probably blow away a lot of people who use Metro, Boost, Virgin, Aio, etc because they can’t get a phone from one of the big 4 carriers without a huge deposit.

      They already offer no contracts, and could probably convert a lot of people from those $40 Metro plans to $70 + $device with this and also steal customers from other carrier’s pre-paid brands.

      Hopefully this influx of customers (and their monthly cash) will lead to more cash for the 600mhz spectrum auction and expanding coverage.

    • Stone Cold

      It will be popular with bad credit folks.

      • brenda

        Well I dnt know about the people with bad credit because people with bad credit can get a new phone without huge deposit no need for refurb I took my sister to a tmobile store last week my sister has HORRIBLE credit one time got so bad police knocked ob her door to come to an agreement to pay off all her credit cards so yes her credit is bad. She wanted to get metro pcs a galaxy s4 but metro sells it for 500+ over here in LA we went to the metro i. east la on Atlantic she was all like hell NO we just walked down the street to the tmobile store ended up paying exactly 360 that’s with taxes included for a brand new galaxy s4

        • KlausWillSeeYouNow

          You paid $360 for a brand new S4?!?!?!?!?!?!

          Surely you jest. How? You couldn’t shoplift one at that price!

        • brenda

          I didnt my friend did when we got there the guy said he gonna chck my friends credit score which like I said its worse than mines because I had to put zero down for a phone but my friend had to put a dwn payment all came down to 360 which is much better than what metro was offering.

        • KlausWillSeeYouNow

          360? Out the door? Really? I’d buy an S4 at that price!

        • brenda

          Yes dnt know if the guy just charged her that because he was flirting with her but yes 360 out the door.

  • Willie D

    Phase 3 does not sound promising so far. Refurbished phones and removal of deposits? Mexico calling? Why Mexico? Why not Canada as well? Mexicans have a plethora of ways to call Mexico low cost yet I can’t call my friends in Canada unless its ONLY from my home phone for no cost.

    • 21stNow

      Have you tried Google Voice? Calling to Canada from the US is free.

      • czaplin

        That’s what I’m using.

    • guidomus_maximus

      Generally this kind of thing is the fault of the place you are calling TO, rather than the place you are calling FROM. This is because CANADA can screw you to death on LD charges and T-Mobile gets the blame since they have to bill you for it. CANADA has no incentive to cut you a deal.

    • JBrowne1012

      Why do you have friends in Canda Eh?

    • DMac

      You are right Willie, not exciting at all. I was really hoping that all phones would be free down payment for everyone, and plans would change to $10 a month for unlimited everything, no extra equipment charges and free tickets to Europe once a year, I am so disappointed, T-Mobile has to really start changing things that benefit me!…. Forget this crap, I am going to Verizon to pay more than double so I can have Lte @ my trailer in the woods!

    • brenda

      Funny how u say why mexico? Lol I mean in the US more people have family in Mexico than in canada . So if tmobile would take out a plan like this I think the obvious choice would be mexico since more people here have family in Mexico than canada..

  • taron19119

    If this is done right t-mobile we’ll be come the gamestop of cellphones and I can see people buying more phones and people that can’t get a phone for 99 down we’ll buy a used phone for about 50to 99 down if the price is right I we’ll get a new gs5 and a use iphone 5s

    • JBrowne1012

      Horrible analogy Gamestop is a horrible company that is practically a monopoly now for gamers to buy and sell used games as far as physical stores go.

  • jose

    So how much would a gs3 cost.?

    • LC

      How would anyone know? This is a rumor at this point.

      • jose

        I am guessing about half of the original msrp.? What do you think LC.?

  • Arnold

    I’d love me some free talk/text to Canada!!!

  • jose

    Probably half the original MSRP.?

  • So, If I had to put a $75 deposit down on Simple Choice, what happens to that $75 now? I assume Ill still have to pay 40% down on the device. (Like I did, Xperia Z)

    • John

      Because that was before this was announced it would be held still, per the original terms. After the preset amount of time it’d be applied to your account.

  • NuShrike

    How about ISIS announcement?

    • gadget_hero

      I wonder if that’s going to even happen. Capital One pulled out of ISIS, and MasterCard and Visa aren’t part of it so even if it does launch I wonder if it will be DOA.

  • drivethruboy168

    The last time I checked, the International Talk and Text plan with T-Mobile for $10 includes unlimited calls to mobile phones and landlines as well as unlimited text to Canada now!

  • Liam

    Let’s be honest, the only thing that will make Uncarried Phase 3 relevant to most of us is the announcement of them upgrading their Edge towers to LTE. I know a lot of us are also crossing our fingers they pick up a good chunk of 600mhz spectrum next year so that they can expand their coverage.

    However we all know that isn’t going to happen, not in 2013 at least. So this actually makes sense, especially when you consider JUMP as well like David mentioned.

    With JUMP they will (hopefully) have people trading in their devices every 6 months, and they can then turn around and sell those devices to customers with poor credit for with No Deposit.

    “Oh you want a GS4? Well that is $99 down, plus $20 a month and will require a $200 deposit, however we have a factory refurbished GS4 we can give you with no money down, no deposit and still only an extra $20 a month, and it still comes with a warranty, etc.”

    Could be a good selling point for people who would normally choose Metro, AIO, Virgin, etc.

    International calling to Mexico sounds pretty lame, however Canada could be useful – though iMessage and FaceTime audio have pretty much solved this problem for me. However Mexico could net them huge amounts of numbers in southern portions of states like California, Arizona, NM, and Texas and most likely would not cost them much to implement.

    • gpt2010

      This is lame if Phase 3 mainly concerns deposits. I don’t think it as an impact at all if you have “qualified credit.” Well calling Mexico/ Canada for free would be great if I knew someone who lived in Mexico/ Canada. I was hoping for something that would blow the industry away. Phase 3 isn’t it.

  • Dakota

    Mexico would be a good play with such a large population that is already price sensitive. Ive got family tired of the US BS & moved to Canada.. I use Viber or have them call me. The corporate Tmobile store in my local major mall closed & now there’s only a tiny kiosk with one employee & a few handsets. Reports are that Straight Talk now offers ATT LTE.. I wonder if Tmobile will let them offer LTE. $45 no contract plans are super attractive. (Do simple plans still carry the same additional fees of contracts?)… With free texting apps & I Message for ios.. You can get an AT&T plan for &$70 for 3gb..That actually would be slightly cheaper.. Yes it’s a contract. Yes it’s not unlimited minutes but rollover, free nights weekend is more than enough for an average consumer.

    I wonder the strategy of Tmobile apparently putting all their advertising dollars into Hader Jump commercials. I don’t know that’s alone enough to get people switching. If LTE is working, talk coverage, speed, price & direct comparison with other carriers. Jump alone is still complicated and theres a lot of clutter with every other carrier offering a similar program

    • 21stNow

      FYI, if you are talking about the 450-minute plan from AT&T, it’s 5,000 night and weekend minutes per month. That may be more than enough for you, but I just wanted to give you the heads-up that it’s not unlimited.

  • gadget_hero

    It may not be so far fetched to get free calls to Mexico, as AT&T (via Cricket) has let it be known they plan on doing just that in fact once they acquire Leap’s Cricket brand.

  • gadget_hero

    My only major grip with T-Mobile is my coverage now. The plans are good, handset choice is good. I wonder if they will expand coverage via LTE or if you will continue to fall off the bandwidth cliff when you leave HSPA/LTE.

  • DMac

    Everyone saying these possibilities are lame are Right!. not exciting at all. I was really hoping that all phones would be free down payment for everyone, and plans would change to $10 a month for unlimited everything, no extra equipment charges and free tickets to Europe once a year, I am so disappointed, T-Mobile has to really start changing things that benefit me!…. Forget this crap, I am going to Verizon to pay more than double so I can have Lte @ my trailer in the woods!

    • Joomz

      I hope people know your being sarcastic.

      • DMac

        At least someone did.

    • Georgie1234

      When I first started reading your comment I thought you were a m0ron but after I finished I realized you were making fun of them.haha

  • tech916

    Free calls to Mexico and Canada would be a step in the right direction toward NAFTA, and THE North American Union initial phase.

    • davis

      I can’t tell if this is a joke or not