You Can Now Upgrade Your Phone Twice a Year on T-Mobile—For a Fee

The $10 a month JUMP! program lets users upgrade their phones up to twice a year, and provides device protection.

T-Mobile, self-declared "uncarrier," today debuted a new program called JUMP! that would allow consumers to upgrade their mobile phones up to twice a year, for a $10 monthly fee.

The wireless provider also announced that its 4G LTE network has been expanded to 116 metropolitan areas, reaching 157 million people in the U.S. The company iaims to reach 200 million people in more than 200 metropolitan areas by the end of the year.

The uncarrier moniker came from a marketing campaign kicked off in March when T-Mobile announced an unlimited plan without contract. Back then, President and CEO John Legere boldly declared:

This is an industry filled with ridiculously confusing contracts, limits on how much data you can use or when you can upgrade, and monthly bills that make little sense. As America’s Un-carrier, we are changing all of that and bringing common sense to wireless.

It's worth noting that the uncarrier speak led to backlash when it was revealed that those who bundled hardware with their plans would have to pay the phone's full cost, a detail that caught the attention of Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The new JUMP! program levies a $10 monthly charge (plus fees and taxes), and customers can upgrade up to twice a year after joining the program for six months.

JUMP! also wraps in device insurance, protecting against malfunction, damage, loss or theft. Customers are subject a deductible of up to $170 for phones that are lost, have broken screens or suffer from water damage. A T-Mobile spokesperson told Fast Company that insurance claims are also subject to a $50 reconditioning fee. When trading in damaged phones that don't pass an in-store inspection, customers will have to file an insurance claim (and pay the deductible) to replace the device before an upgrade is initiated, the spokesperson added.

The iPhone was thought of as the struggling carrier's white knight, but a new report published by research firm Kantar Worldpanel earlier this week casts some doubt. T-Mobile's iPhone marketshare ranks last among the major carriers at 10.1 percent, behind Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, respectively. (T-Mobile began carrying the iPhone 5 in April.)

“The highly anticipated release of the iPhone on T-Mobile has benefited iOS in the latest 3 month period, though it has not yet impacted T-Mobile’s share in the market,” said Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo.

"It remains to be seen whether the strength of iOS on T-Mobile can help reverse T-Mobile’s decline," Kantar Worldpanel notes in a press release.

[Image: Flickr user Axel Schwenke]

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