updated 04:21 pm EST, Fri February 14, 2014
New deal requires 50 percent of device paid off prior to trade
Not that long after implementation, wireless carrier T-Mobile is readying significant changes to its Jump program. Starting February 23, new signatories to the frequent upgrade plan can trade in a phone whenever desired -- but users must have paid at least 50 percent of the original retail price of the device, and must also trade in the phone. The $10 monthly fee and breakage insurance remains unchanged.
Given most vendor-specific annual upgrade cycles from Apple or Samsung, the new program will still allow for no-cost upgrades after a year, netting no benefit from one program to another. However, Android ecosystem devotees may find a Samsung device attractive for six months, then another vendor's preferable in six months -- this class of user is the most impacted by the new program's specifics.
Existing users can keep the current terms of the program, meaning upgrades are allowed every six months, and T-Mobile will cover the price of the phone. If a user has only been on the Jump program for a few months, a shift to the new program must wait until the next upgrade is due.
Also added to the program are tablets -- T-Mobile tablet owners can sign up for the new program after February 23. Smartphones and tablets are not interchangeable on the program.