T-Mobile today announced a new smartphone leasing program called Jump On Demand. With the new program, customers pay a monthly fee in addition to their service plan that provides them with a new smartphone and the ability to trade that smartphone in towards another new smartphone anytime they want, up to three times a year. T-Mobile says there are no upfront costs or out of pocket expenses, not even taxes, with Jump On Demand, and it addresses the requests of customers that want the ability to upgrade their smartphones more often. The new plan option will be available starting this Sunday, June 28th.
T-Mobile isn't the first carrier to introduce a leasing plan for smartphones: Sprint launched an iPhone leasing plan last fall that required a monthly payment of $20 for a base model iPhone 6. T-Mobile says its new plan is cheaper than its original Jump option and other carrier leasing plans — it's only requiring a $15 per month fee for the 16GB iPhone 6 when you trade in another smartphone at launch — and it's about the same cost as its standard smartphone payment plans. Other smartphones will have varying monthly costs, such as the Galaxy S6, which runs $28.33 per month, and the standard cost outside of this launch promotion for the iPhone 6 is around $27 per month. T-Mobile did not say how long the iPhone 6 promotion will be available.
The program has the option to buy the phone at the end of the lease term
Jump On Demand does allow for the option to pay a final fee to purchase the smartphone after 18 months of payments have been made, or customers can trade it in for a new one and continue their monthly payments. For the launch promotion, the iPhone 6 will require a $164 final payment at the end of the 18 months if a customer wishes to own it outright, though that cost will likely vary depending on the smartphone chosen. Customers will also have the ability to make payments in advance without any penalty if they want to pay off the phone on a shorter schedule.
T-Mobile notes that its previous Jump program, which launched two years ago and let customers upgrade their phones on a longer schedule, will still be available alongside Jump On Demand. The standard Jump program carries a $10 fee in addition to the phone payments, though it includes handset insurance for that cost. (Jump On Demand customers will be able to purchase insurance for an additional $8 per month.) T-Mobile says that Jump On Demand will be available for a limited selection of new smartphones, while the original Jump program is available for a broader array of devices.
The carrier says the main appeal with Jump On Demand is the ability to upgrade much more often than usual — it claims that a customer on the program could upgrade six times in the same timeframe that Verizon allows one upgrade. Leasing programs are yet another way that carriers are attempting to sell smartphones to customers that are still conditioned to $199 and a two-year contract when they get a new phone. It's a way for carriers to hide the actual costs of the phone, which are typically upwards of $600, while still giving customers the feeling that they are able to get the latest and greatest whenever they want, so long as they are ok with not actually owning their phones, of course.