Last week, Sprint surprisingly ended its One Up early upgrade plan after just four months, and we were left wondering if the carrier had decided not to offer an alternative to T-Mobile's Jump going forward. Turns out Sprint was just revamping things a bit: the carrier just announced Easy Pay, another early upgrade plan for new and current Sprint customers that sounds similar to how T-Mobile currently currently sells smartphones — though, as usual, there's a catch.
Under Easy Pay, current customers can upgrade to a new handset any time they want — they'll pay a down payment, and then the remainder of the phone's unlocked price is split into 24 months payments. If they want to upgrade again before that 24 months is up, they just need to pay off the remaining balance on their current phone. While there's no change in your monthly contract if you use this plan, at least customers using Easy Pay have the option of keeping their old phone or selling it through Sprint's buyback program. Either option should help customers mitigate the cost of paying off the balance on that old phone.
Sprint also says that this is a "limited time" offer. So if you're a current Sprint customer or thinking about switching to Sprint, and want a new phone before your contract is up, you might want to look into this now. There's no guarantee this will be around with the next Galaxy S or iPhone goes on sale.
Update: This post was updated and corrected to clarify that the offer applies to new customers as well.