Last July, T-Mobile unveiled its JUMP! upgrade program that allows subscribers to trade in their existing phone, wipe away any remaining payments and upgrade to a new handset at the same price as a new customer. The other three major carriers then followed with early upgrade programs of their own, like AT&T Next and Verizon Edge. Now a new rumor suggests that T-Mobile is turning its focus back to JUMP! after making a few other Uncarrier moves so that it can make a few tweaks to its early upgrade program.
Sources speaking to our pals at TmoNews have said that on Feb. 23, T-Mobile will make some big changes to JUMP! The first is to eliminate the six-month waiting period that customers must go through between each JUMP! upgrade. Instead, customers will be able to upgrade at any time, so long as they trade in their device and have paid 50 percent of that phone's cost. Meanwhile, customers with the current JUMP! plan will be grandfathered in and will still be able to upgrade before paying off half of their device, so long as they've been enrolled in JUMP! for six months or more.
Another change that's reportedly coming to JUMP! is the removal of the limit on how many frequently a customer can upgrade. Under the current JUMP! program, subscribers can upgrade twice per year. Finally, it's said that tablets will be eligible for JUMP! starting on Feb. 23.
These rumored changes are still a bit hazy right now, but as it stands now, the impending JUMP! tweaks sound like a bit of a mixed bag. The removal of the six month waiting period is nice, as is the inclusion tablet hardware. However, the requirement that new customers pay off half of their device before JUMP!-ing will result in many folks having to wait much longer than six months before they're able to JUMP! to a new phone, especially if they choose the $0 down payment option. The good news is that Feb. 23 is less than two weeks out, so if today's leak holds true, it won't be long before T-Mobile officially lays out all of the details of its JUMP! changes. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: T-Mobile has confirmed the JUMP! changes scheduled for Feb. 23. The big magenta carrier's statement is as follows:
"T-Mobile sparked a revolution in the wireless industry in 2013, beginning with the elimination of service contracts and a call for ‘Contract Freedom.’ Our innovative JUMP! handset upgrade program is an important cornerstone of our Un-carrier movement, and soon (starting February 23) you will be able to upgrade as many times as you like:
Whenever you’re ready to upgrade, trade in your device and T-Mobile will pay your remaining device payments up to 50% of the device cost. There is no more waiting period or limit to the number of times you can upgrade per year.
And we didn’t stop there – we’ve also added tablets to the program! We’re excited about how these program enhancements give our customers even more freedom to upgrade when they want, instead of when they’re told.
The old-guard carriers all tried to follow our lead last year, but none can match the variety of freedoms we provide to our customers with JUMP!"
This announcement backs up the leak that surfaced yesterday, meaning that customers that enroll in JUMP! after Feb. 23 will be able to upgrade at any time, but in order to do so they'll have to trade in their existing device and pay off half of its full cost. T-Mobile subscribers that sign up for JUMP! before Feb. 23 will be grandfathered with the original JUMP! plan.