I am a gadget enthusiast, so when T-Mobile announced their JUMP program a year ago, it caught my attention. If you haven't heard of it, the program allows you to trade in your device after 6 months for a new one. It also offers insurance on the device. From the outside, it looks like a ripoff. Here's why it's not.
A flagship phone will cost you around $650. If you get it through T-Mobile, you are paying $0 down and $27/month. JUMP costs $10/month, so after 6 months, you have paid $162 for the phone, and $60 for insurance1. T-Mobile pays the difference, regardless of the condition, and you walk away with a new phone.
Doing this on your own will cost you $600-700 up front, plus the time to sell a device (and ship it to the buyer). And if it breaks in that 6 months, you are on the hook for repairs or a replacement.2 You may get slightly more than the 75%3 of the price T-Mobile "pays" for it, but not enough to offset the streamlined transaction and insurance.
The real issue is whether it is prudent to upgrade a phone every 6 months. Probably not, but right now the HTC One hits some checkmarks4 that my Nexus 5 did not, and I've already paid for the JUMP, so I am pulling that trigger as soon as I am eligible.
- I'm not sure about other insurance plans, but T-Mobile also covers theft and loss. Basically, you are paying to always have a phone. ↩
- I have been down this road, about a week after paying in full for the phone. Then it is another 1-2 weeks before it comes back from Samsung. You never need that insurance until you do. ↩
- If you are not grandfathered in, they only pay half the cost of the phone. It is basically the same story, just over 1 year instead of 6 months. ↩
- Battery, external storage, tap to wake. ↩