In the past few days, both T-Mobile and AT&T introduced some interesting new payment plans: the T-Mobile Jump and the AT&T Next. Both plans were designed to shorten the amount of time users could upgrade their devices, which means that consumers could be paying more to upgrade their phones more often. Here's what you need to know about the two new payment plans from T-Mobile and AT&T
Jump doesn't really have any gibberish or PR speak attached, it's really simple: pay $10 bucks more per month and you can upgrade your device as often as twice a year. It's pretty clear cut. Not only that, but Jump also protects users against malfunction, damage, loss or theft. According to T-Mobile, the new plan is basically just $2 more than current plans for device protection (that weird insurance charge you get convinced to accept).
Yes, $10 per month is relatively expensive, but in the grand scheme of things, you'd probably be saving money by switching to T-Mobile. The T-Mobile Simple Choice starts off at a pretty low rate of only $50/month (comparatively, I pay double that for Sprint) and $60 for 2.5 GB of data, but adding $10 for the opportunity to change your phone twice a year is a pretty cool deal.
You can add T-Mobile Jump to your current payment plan on July 14th.
Comparatively, the AT&T Next plan is not as good at T-Mobile's Jump. New or existing upgrade eligible AT&T customers can upgrade their device after 12 payments. There's also no down payment for the new device, unlike T-Mobile. While this deal sounds great, there are some catches.
First, you'd be paying anywhere between $15-$50 per month EXTRA for your new device, in addition to voice and data plans. As Laptop Magazine writes, you don't really get a deal for the device or plan, its shortens the time it takes for you to upgrade. While there aren't any activation fees, T-Mobile's Jump is definitely cheaper.
Here's Laptop Magazine's comparison between the two plans.
How does AT&T Next compare with T-Mobile Jump in terms of overall costs? Say you wanted to buy a Galaxy S4. On AT&T you’ll pay $32 monthly for the phone, plus the fee for whatever data plan you sign up for. With a 3GB data plan with 450 voice minutes and unlimited texts, that comes out to $90 per month. So after 12 months you will have paid $1,464 before being able to upgrade to a new phone.
On T-Mobile Jump, you pay $10 per month for the privilege of upgrading up to twice per year, a fee that also covers phone insurance. A 2.5GB data plan that also includes unlimited voice and texts costs $60 per month. The Galaxy S4 costs $159 up front (when you include the SIM Starter Kit) and then $20 per month. That comes out to $1,239 after 12 months, or a savings of $225 versus AT&T.
So, as you can see, T-Mobile's plan offers more upgrade but that means you'll need to pay the hefty upgrade fee ($200 for a new iPhone, usually). Depends what you want. It should be noted that AT&T's network, especially with 4G LTE, is much higher.
To contact the author, email email@example.com.
Follow Ian Kar on Twitter.