Early upgrade programs are all the rage in the U.S. wireless industry lately, with T-Mobile launching its JUMP! program in early July and AT&T and Verizon following with their own offerings shortly thereafter. That leaves Sprint as the lone member of the big four without an early upgrade program of its own, but according to a new report, it won't be that way for much longer.
CNET has revealed the details of "Sprint One Up," a new program from Dan Hesse and Co. that will allow Sprint customers to upgrade to a new piece of hardware every year. Once a Sprint subscriber decides to enroll in One Up, he or she can get a new phone or tablet for no money down and instead spread the full cost of the device out over 24 months. After one year, the customer will have the option of trading their device in to Sprint and upgrading to a new model. Subscribers that leave Sprint early will need to pony up their balance the following month.
The Sprint One Up program will reportedly be compatible with the Now Network's new Unlimited, My Way and All-In plans. The price of the plans will be discounted by $15 for Sprint One Up customers, though, dropping the Unlimited, My Way plan with unlimited talk, text and data to a rate of $65 per month. Sprint's All-In plan, which includes unlimited talk, text, data and 5GB of mobile hotspot data, would drop from $110 to $95 per month with Sprint One Up.
One Up is expected to be available to existing Sprint subscribers that have been under contract for at least one year. In order to take part in the program, existing users will likely need to trade in their current device unless they're already eligible to upgrade at a discounted rate.
Sprint hasn't made any official comments about launching an early upgrade program of its own, but it's not entirely surprising to learn that the it's got one in the works. Not only is it the the only major U.S. carrier without such an offering, but we've seen AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon heavily advertising their own programs lately, and so I'm sure that Sprint doesn't want its own offerings to look lacking in comparison.
The value of these early upgrade programs will vary from person to person, but it's nice to see that Sprint will at least give its customers the option to upgrade every year with One Up. We'll have to wait until the program is made officially official before critiquing it too much, but should these rumored details hold true, the $15 per month discount on Unlimited, My Way and All-In plans seem like a nice perk that could help convince new hardware junkies to actually enroll in Sprint One Up.
Sprint One Up is reportedly scheduled to launch on Sept. 20, which just so happens to be the same day that Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be hitting stores. Stay tuned and I'll bring you more details on the program as they become available.