Bellevue, Wash. – T-Mobile kicked off the first in a planned series of marketing initiatives with the introduction of a phone trade-in program that lets consumers trade in a phone for a new one up to three times per year.
The 18 monthly lease payments under the program, called Jump! On Demand, are “about the same” as the company’s current phone-financing program, the company said.
The new program starts June 28 only in participating T-Mobile stores, but the carrier said it plans over time to offer it through other retailers.
Under the program, consumers make lease payments for 18 months with no money down. After 18 months, they turn in the phone and make no more payments, or they lease a new phone and start a new plan. They can also make a final payment and own the phone. With the final payment, the consumer’s total payments will equal the retail price of the phone, T-Mobile said.
Customers can also pay off all Jump! On Demand payments any time in advance to own the phone without penalty.
One major difference between the new program and the carrier’s current Jump! financing program is that the current program does not offer leasing.
The carrier said its most popular smartphones will be available with Jump! On Demand, including the 16GB iPhone 6. For a limited time, that model is available at $15/month for 18 months after trade in. The price is promoted as the industry’s lowest monthly cost to get an iPhone 6 when trading in an existing phone.
To underscore the difference between the new program and rival carriers’ trade-in programs, T-Mobile contended that its customers could get six new phones during the time it takes to get one upgrade from Verizon.
“Verizon’s quietly turned their ‘early upgrade’ program back into a two-year contract – as if nobody’ll notice. And AT&T isn’t much better,” Legere charged.
Verizon Edge customers originally had to pay off 50 percent of their phone before upgrading, then the carrier required 75 percent, T-Mobile said. “Now, they make you pay off 100 percent of your phone before you can upgrade, which can take 24 months,” a T-Mobile statement said.
More than 10 million people signed up for T-Mobile’s original Jump! program, and they upgrade their phones 30 percent faster than the industry average, or every 14 months compared to the industry-average of almost 20 months, T-Mobile said.