By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Overland Park, Kan. – Sprint became the last of the four national carriers to launch a frequent trade-in plan for unsubsidized phones and tablets.
For now, the Sprint One Up program is available beginning today only through Sprint’s company-owned stores, not through indirect retailers, but a spokesperson told TWICE, “We do plan to expand the Sprint One Up to additional channels.” The program also isn’t available currently in Florida and Washington D.C.
The program gives consumers the ability to upgrade a smartphone every 12 months for a monthly fee for users who sign up for the carrier’s Unlimited My Way and My All-in plans. Those plans were launched in July.
Under the program, consumers purchase an eligible smartphone or tablet with a down payment and pay it off in 24 monthly installment payments for the device. For a limited time, down payments are being waived. After 12 consecutive payments, customers can trade in their current device and upgrade to a new smartphone or tablet.
Single-line subscribers will save up to $45 a month compared with similar plans from AT&T and Verizon, the company also contended. In its statement, Sprint didn’t compare its plan to T-Mobile’s trade-in plan.
Monthly installment charges on top of normal monthly rate plans range up to $27 for the highest end phones. The iPhone 5c, for example, costs $22/month, and the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4 cost $27/month. For a limited time, consumers who sign up for One Up will pay $65/month instead of $80/month for Sprint’s Unlimited, My Way standard rate plan with unlimited talk, text and 3G/4G data.
For the holidays, Sprint is giving current subscribers who are not yet eligible for an upgrade to join the One Up program if they had had their current phone for 12 months. Those customers can give back their current phone and sign up for Sprint One Up if they meet credit qualifications.
The Unlimited My Way and My All-in plans were launched after Japan’s SoftBank bought a majority interest in the carrier, which promptly went on the marketing offensive.
With the My Way plan, consumers customize their wireless plan with a choice of data options, ability to mix smartphones and basic phones, and adding up to 10 lines on one account. One line costs $80. As customers add lines to an account, costs per line go down, with accounts of four to 10 lines getting unlimited service for as little as $50 per month, the company said.
The My Way plan works like this: Customers select the number of lines, all of which get unlimited talk to any wire line or mobile phone and unlimited text. Customers then choose their data for each line: $30/month for unlimited data on smartphones or $10/month for unlimited data on basic phones. Additional options include $20 for 1GB of data on smartphones or basic phone not added to the account. Customers can activate mobile hot spot functionality on smartphone for another $10 per month for 1GB of data while on the Sprint network.
The My All-In Plan also offers unlimited talk, text and data while on the Sprint network and 5GB of mobile hot spot usage for $110.
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