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T-Mobile shook up the American telecom business with its T-Mobile Jump program. For a $10 monthly fee, T-Mobile Jump offers two phone upgrades every 12 month, as well as insurance. Days after the program was announced, AT&T countered with AT&T Next. This program allows AT&T customers to pick up a new phone every year “with no down payment, no activation fee, no upgrade fee and no financing fees.” The word on the street is that Verizon is whipping up its own program to compete with AT&T Next and T-Mobile Jump. Some pundits believe that Sprint will play the generous-upgrade game too, while others believe that it has more important issues to deal with now that Softbank rules the roost.
All of you know that the four major American mobile carriers suck. They just suck in different ways. Initiatives like AT&T Next and T-Mobile jump help them suck a little bit less. While some people are thrilled with more lenient upgrade terms, others believe that these programs are just new schemes designed to get you to spend more money and extend your contracts. The mobile phone market — particularly the Android space — moves so fast that many tech nerds are thrilled with the idea of being able to upgrade phones (relatively) quickly. Don’t mistake these programs as the mobile carriers suddenly “getting it” or becoming benevolent. It’s all about trying to get more money from you every month for a longer period of time.
Personally, I’m not tempted by these programs. My main line is a grandfathered Verizon plan combined with a corporate discount — that’s too good to give up. My second line is that cheapie $30 T-Mobile plan that’s also too good to give up. Additionally, I don’t see myself buying anything but iPhones, Android Nexus phones, or Google Play Edition phones. I hate carrier bloatware and slow OS updates. All that said, I totally understand that I’m an atypical customer and can see why many people are excited about these programs.
How about you? Are you interested in AT&T Next, T-Mobile Jump, and whatever the Sprint/Verizon equivalents will be called? Kindly share your thoughts on these programs in the comments section.