How many times are you realistically going to upgrade in a year?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| February 14, 2014

T-Mobile, the Magenta carrier, and sometimes referred to as “The Little Carrier That Could,” has started quite the movement. While I’m sure AT&T, Verizon, and by extension Sprint, would love to claim that they’ve been working on these major changes they’ve been making for quite some time – and one of those carriers loves to call out “First!” quite a bit – there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that T-Mobile has been the one leading the charge. And forcing the other carriers to not only pay attention to the little carrier that could, but also start making some changes of their own.

To the credit of the larger carriers, they honestly could have just ignored T-Mobile and let the smaller carrier go about its business. Even with all the attention a certain CEO was bringing to some of the bigger events tuned to the mobile market, they could have ignored it and continued to do what they were doing.

But the future’s a scary thing, isn’t it? While Verizon and AT&T are two of the biggest companies in the world, and their presence in the mobile market is dominating – at least here in the United States – they couldn’t ignore the attention T-Mobile has been getting. Moreover, they couldn’t ignore the platitudes T-Mobile has been pitching to consumers. Despite the fact that Big Red and Big Blue started making some changes before Little Magenta started paying early termination fees, I think we all know that had they not, that would have been the defining moment.

The changes are still coming, of course. AT&T and Verizon introduced their Next and Edge plans respectively, and since then they’ve been tweaking them subtly. Just enough to keep attention on them, while T-Mobile continues to do what it thinks the mobile industry needs. For us, the consumers, the more T-Mobile continues to change, we should expect to see the other carriers following suit.

The changes are great. I just can’t help but have this nagging question in the back of my head.

With T-Mobile’s JUMP! plan, you get the ability to upgrade your phone after a certain amount of time. Unlike the old contracts, you don’t have to wait two years to get a new phone anymore. After six months, make sure you’ve got the necessary amount paid, trade in your device, and get a new one. Easy peasy, right? Right. So the other carriers unveil the same kind of plans, but the timeframes differ. Some are twice a year, while others are quicker. That’s how it was at the start, anyway.

Now? Well, Verizon’s EDGE will let you upgrade every 30 days if you want to, as long as you pay off the necessary amount, and hand back the phone you originally picked up on their EDGE plan. AT&T’s still got the same deal: you can opt to trade in your phone every six months, if you so desire. And now, there’s a rumor that suggests T-Mobile is about to change up their JUMP! plan, to allow for customers to upgrade any time they want, Just have enough paid off, hand off the old device, walk out with a new one.

Crazy good deal, right? Even at face value, Verizon’s every 30-day scenario sounds pretty cool, too. It’s certainly better than how it used to be, having to be weighed down by that two-year contract. Having the option to upgrade whenever you want, or pretty close to it, is pretty great. At least, that’s what the marketing is supposed to make us think.

That nagging question revolves around the idea of upgrading. The options are great, I can agree with this. But how often are you honestly going to use them? I can’t help but think that the 6-month limit isn’t really that bad of an idea, especially if you time your start date correctly. But I can’t help but wonder how many people are going to be realistically upgrading their phone every 30 days, or even faster than that. I know we’ve got some busy months, especially near the middle/end of the year, but that seems a little extravagant.

So, tell me: How often do you realistically see yourself upgrading your phone? If T-Mobile does institute a way for you to upgrade your phone multiple times in just a single month, or even a smaller span of months, is that something you’d actively take advantage of? Or do you think it’s a little too much? Let me know!