Sprint is said to be gearing up to launch a new upgrade plan that would provide a way for consumers to easily upgrade to new handsets.
Dubbed as the “One Up” program, it’s said to be launching on September 20, 2013. There are no monthly fees to sign up for One Up, but to be eligible for the upgrade program consumers must have been on Sprint’s postpaid plan for a minimum period of at least one year, which means that Prepaid customers aren’t eligible for the One Up program.
Under the program, the total cost of the phone is divided into 24 months, so if you have a $649 phone in mind, you’d be paying Sprint $27 a month for the next two years. Aside from that, Sprint offers a $15 discount on an unlimited talk, text, and data plan that costs $65 a month. Sprint One Up customers will be paying a total of $92 a month, which means that in one year, they will spend a total of $1,192 on their device. That’s not too mention the activation fee of $36, which will be reflected on your first monthly bill, not when you get the upgrade.
- In time for iPhone 5s
Overall, the deal doesn’t look that bad, since you get a new phone an affordable monthly service and you can upgrade to a new device after just one year. Sprint’s upgrade program will be launching in time for the iPhone 5s and 5c’s retail launch, which is set to happen on the same day. The timing alone should entice a lot of iPhone users to upgrade to the new iPhones, even if they don’t offer much difference to the old iPhone 5.
Carriers compete for early upgrades
If you’re not a Sprint subscriber, or you have no plans to change your carrier, you’ll be glad to know that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all have upgrade plans to help their own customers get the latest handsets.
T-Mobile, aside from launching its UnCarrier plan early this year, also launched Jump!, an installment plan that allows consumers to upgrade devices every six months as long as they pay $10-a month Jump subscription plan to be eligible for an upgrade, and the old device must still be working. If their phone is damaged, consumers may pay a fine of somewhere between $20-$70 to be able to get the upgrade. The old terms of the phone will be disregarded for the new terms of the new device.
Let’s say you want the 16GB iPhone 5c which costs $528 for the full retail price, on Jump, there’s no down payment, so the price will be $22 for 24 months. Plus the $10 monthly Jump subscription, and $70 for unlimited talk, text and data. So you’d be paying $102 per month for the next six months, which is quite affordable when you’re the type of person who likes to upgrade your phone twice a year. If you choose to upgrade after a year, you would be spending $1224 for the iPhone 5c. A bit pricier than what Sprint offers, but still reasonably cheap.
AT&T promises no activation fee, no financing fee, no down payment, and no upgrade fee on its Next upgrade program. This allows consumers to upgrade devices after 12 months, or if they wait until the 20th month, AT&T will waive the installment payments. So on Next, the iPhone 5c costs $22 for the next 20 months or when you decide to upgrade after 12 months, plus a 3GB data plan that costs $30, unlimited Nation for $69.99, and unlimited messaging for $20, you’d be paying $141.99 per month or a total of $1,703.88 for 12 months, or $2,839.8 for 20 months. Steeper than what T-Mobile and Sprint will be offering.
As for Verizon Edge, the iPhone 5c costs $23.06 per month plus $70 for a 4GB unlimited everything plan, and $40 for the smartphone line accessory, for a total of $133.06 per month. But unlike the others that do not let consumers pay upfront, Verizon collects the first monthly payment of $23.06 when you get the iPhone 5c. So in a year, you would have spent $1,596.72 for the iPhone 5c before you can upgrade.
If consumers do not wish to continue with the upgrade plans from any of the carriers, they will have to pay the remaining balance of the device in full. Based on the rough computations of the offered upgrade plans, it seems Sprint will be offering the least expensive plan when One Up finally launches on the 20th, with Verizon offering the most expensive. So if you don’t want to be tied to your carrier for two-years, the upgrade plans may work out best for you, plus it would make it easier to upgrade to newer devices when they come out. Or you could just go for a trade-in, as there are many retail stores offering a decent amount of cash for your old devices – working or not.