T-Mobile has updated its JUMP early-upgrade program to remove the minimum waiting period before customers can get a new phone, but you may end up paying more than before thanks to a tweak to the small print. JUMP, announced back in 2013, previously permitted an upgrade every six months in return for a $10 per month fee (which also includes insurance); now, T-Mobile has dropped that six month minimum, but expects subscribers to also pay off at least half the cost of their phone in the process.
Under the old system, after six months of JUMP subscribers could hand over their old device - which they'd been paying off on a monthly payment plan - and then grab a new one, continuing the regular payments and just stumping up any extra downpayment involved.
Now, however, there's no need to wait or indeed to limit upgrades to two a year, but that flexibility comes at a cost. Instead of counting the minimum period of ownership by time, T-Mobile has switched to a financial measure: users need to have paid off at least half of the value of the handset before they can upgrade.
That can be through their regular monthly payments, or indeed by making a lump-sum payment at the point of upgrade.
T-Mobile's changes are likely to impact those with an addiction to upgrades most; those who change device less frequently will almost certainly have covered half the cost of their current device when it comes to switching it out. The carrier is also including tablets in JUMP for the first time, too.
The new JUMP policy comes into force on February 23rd, with existing subscribers - including those who sign up between now and its implementation - given the choice whether to stick with the scheme as it has operated so far, or to switch to the updated system.