T-Mobile Jump Lets You Trade In Your Phone Twice A Year

T-Mobile is currently fourth out of four major cellular providers. It’s the red-headed stepchild of parent company Deutsch Telekom and it knows it. So, lately, it’s been trying to do something different, and its Jump plan might just turn a few heads.

Before you ask, yes, that’s what Bill Hader is plugging in these ads:

The Jump program is actually fairly clever. As we all know, the current model is to buy a phone at a subsidized price and make the payments on it for two years, even though the phone itself will start falling apart and crashing a year and six months into its lifespan. Jump lets you just dump your phone completely if you hate it, no questions asked. Here’s how it works:

  • You sign up for the program, which adds $10 a month to your bill.
  • Once you’ve been on the program for six months, you can turn in your phone for a new one.
  • Don’t like it? Turn it in and get a new one the next month. This will, however, cut you off for eleven months: You can only turn your phone in twice in a 12-month period.

That’s it. If you bought a subsidized phone, you don’t have to pay the rest of the cost, and subsidized phones are in the Jump plan, so you just pay the up-front cost and the subsidy. This also doubles as T-Mobile’s insurance program, by the way, although it is optional.

It’s brilliant, when you think about it. T-Mobile has gotten rid of service contracts completely; if you want to buy a phone up front from them, and just pay month to month, they’ll happily let you do that. And you can buy a phone at a subsidized price and pay it off in 24 installments as well. And Jump is a good way to lure consumers (i.e. teenagers) who constantly switch phones.

And what does T-Mobile get out of it? An extra $120 per customer signed up per year, the payments on those subsidized phones, and a steady stream of “refurbished” devices to sell at lower prices to customers. That last is likely the most important part of the plan: T-Mobile will be able to lure bargain seekers willing to bet T-Mo has deleted all the porn off that iPhone 5 for a hundred bucks or so shaved off the top.

Financially it’s pretty much the same as swapping out your phone in exchange for a contract extension, but, hey, at least we have options. Now, let’s see if T-Mobile’s bold moves, and hiring Bill Hader