Sprint Jumps on Upgrade Plan Bandwagon

smart phone

Sprint Corp. (NYSE:S) is following on the heels of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) in offering a new upgrade plan that allows customers to get their hands on a new smartphone sooner.

While Sprint declined to comment on the matter, CNET learned that the company is planning to launch its new Sprint One Up upgrade program Friday. Through Sprint One Up, customers can pay for a smartphone or tablet via 24 monthly payments and have the option to upgrade after a year by trading in their current device. Sprint is also offering a discount on its service plans through the program. Customers can get plans with unlimited talk, text, and data for $65 per month, plus the cost of their device. T-Mobile’s cheapest option is $70 per month.

T-Mobile unveiled its upgrade plan, Jump, at the beginning of July, and AT&T and Verizon were quick to follow with similar plans as consumers become more impatient as new smartphones come out more frequently. Under a traditional plan, wireless customers have to wait two years on a contract before they have the option to upgrade to a new device.

“At some point, big wireless companies made a decision for you that you should have to wait two years to get a new phone for a fair price,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US. “That’s 730 days of waiting. Seven hundred and thiry days of watching new phones come out that you can’t have. Or having to live with a cracked screen or an outdated camera. We say two years is just too long to wait.”

AT&T and Verizon were quick to take the hint, unveiling similar services within a couple of weeks of T-Mobile’s announcement. While Sprint is a latecomer to the game, the company benefited by watching consumer reaction to the different programs.

T-Mobile’s upgrade costs an additional $10 per month and gives customers the option to upgrade every six months in addition to including insurance on the devices. AT&T and Verizon’s early upgrade plans were seen as less of a deal than T-Mobile’s.

Like Sprint’s upgrade plan, AT&T and Verizon space the payments for the full price of a new device out over a monthly basis. But, unlike Sprint, they don’t offer a discount on the contract, so customers actually end up paying both the full price of a device and the full price on service for the option to upgrade early. On T-Mobile’s plan, the customer still has to pay for the smartphone all at once.

Sprint took certain pieces of the different plans from its competitors to create one that it hopes will be the most appealing. Although, at only $10 per month more with the inclusion of insurance, if you can swallow the price of a smartphone up front, T-Mobile’s plan is still looking like the best deal.

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Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS