T-Mobile’s Jump program was a major bragging right of the company as being an Uncarrier, offering you the choice on when to upgrade your phone after only six months, as long as you trade in your old phone. Now, after only seven months, things are changing. On February 23, Jump will, instead of offering an upgrade at the six month mark, let you upgrade anytime you want, as long as you pay off 50 percent of the balance of your phone. But hey, at least it also covers tablets now.
The policy change, after such a short time, suggests that among the many Uncarrier-like things T-Mobile has done since January 2013, Jump may have, well, jumped the gun. We haven’t heard how many of the first users of Jump decided to get new phones, but the numbers must have been high for T-Mobile to make such a dramatic change.
With this new policy, T-Mobile customers are no longer subject to the 6-month minimum wait to upgrade, but they can’t start until the phone is half-way paid off – which makes Jump more like a once-a-year upgrade policy now (And it wasn’t a great deal even as a 6-month policy). T-Mobile customers are also still subject to the $10 monthly fee, the down payment of the new device (if applicable), and the monthly installment fee. Jump customers will also be required to still trade in the old device and be subject to credit approval, just like the original Jump deal. This change does technically mean you can upgrade as often as you want, and it adds tablets to the list of qualified devices, but you still have to pay for half the device before upgrading, or pretty much wait a whole year.
With this all in mind, suddenly Jump doesn’t look very reasonable at all. If you were to buy a iPhone 5S today and pay the $27 installment plan plus $10 Jump fee per month, after a year the phone would cost you a whopping $444 (66 percent of the retail price) to upgrade – and you still have to trade it in. If the iPhone has any damage or other issues, then you’d also have to pay a $175 deductible, bringing the cost of your Jump upgrade just about the same as paying retail.
Since T-Mobile users are not under a contract, Jump users are under no obligation to continue the service and can cancel anytime. We suggest that they do.