T-Mobile has made its new JUMP! program official, allowing customers to upgrade their smartphones up to twice per year for $10 per month. This is a first in the industry and stands in stark contrast with AT&T's and Verizon's 24-month upgrade cycles. T-Mobile also announced a major expansion of its LTE network, reaching 116 markets.
Customers can sign up for JUMP! starting July 14th. The service also protects against malfunction, damage, loss or theft. T-Mobile says that this cost is just $2 more than most customers have been paying for handset protection alone.
Financed through T-Mobile's Equipment Installment Program (EIP), subscribers can upgrade twice every 12 months after they've been in the JUMP! program for six months. You need to trade your existing handset, which must be in good working condition. You just pay the up-front cost for the new device and continue paying the hardware portion of T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan, which is typically $20 per month.
The new JUMP! initiative could really help T-Mobile boost its smartphone sales. The carrier is currently in last place among the big four with 10.1 percent of sales, compared to 12.7 percent for Sprint, 29 percent for AT&T and 34.6 percent for Verizon.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that other carriers "just don't get it" and that "customers are kicking our doors down." Don't be surprised to see other carriers pay closer attention to their upgrade plans soon.
T-Mobile says its 4G LTE network now covers 73 of the top 100 markets, focusing on major cities, while T-Mobile says Sprint covers just 22 of the top 100. According to T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, the carrier is "making progress where it counts."
The carrier says users should expect 10-20 Mbps download speeds, which is higher than the 5 to 12 Verizon promises.
An additional $10 per month is nothing to sneeze at, but given that T-Mobile's Simple Choice Plans start at a fairly low $50 per month ($60 for 2.5GB of data), many will likely take advantage of the offer to avoid smartphone obsolescence.