T-Mobile offers infinite upgrades _ with a catch

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm •  Published: February 20, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — T-Mobile is allowing people who participate in its $10-a-month Jump program to upgrade their phones anytime, eliminating the previous limit of two upgrades a year.

As introduced last summer, Jump participants get insurance to cover loss and damage, plus the right to upgrade before fully paying off the phone in installments over two years. The customer must turn in the old phone. There was a six-month waiting period before the first upgrade and a limit of two upgrades per year.

Starting Sunday, the waiting period and the upgrade limit are both eliminated.

The catch is that customers must have paid at least half of the phone's costs before turning it in. Typically, that means customers who have had the phones for less than a year would have additional payments to make right away.

But in an interview Thursday, marketing vice president Mike Katz said most customers will likely keep the phone for a year anyway.

"Most customers are upgrading phones when a new model of their device comes up," he said. "For the iPhone or (Samsung) Galaxy series, those customers (are upgrading) every single year."

All four national carriers have made pricing and plan adjustments over the past few months in response to each other's offers and to a proliferation of new phones from Apple, Samsung and other phone makers. For years, the national carriers all pretty much had the same offering. T-Mobile broke from the pack last March by introducing no-contract plans in which people paid for phones separately, in installments. That led T-Mobile to introduce the Jump program for frequent upgrades a few months later. Changes from other carriers followed.