T-Mobile Now Offering Smartphone Upgrades Every 6 Months

[This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of Qualcomm.]

Cellular carrier T-Mobile is disrupting the network carrier model once again, offering customers the ability to upgrade to a new smartphone once every six months as opposed to the industry standard of once every two years.  For early adopters and technology influencers, this could provide major motivation to drop their current network.  In fact, T-Mobile’s data shows that a lot of people are doing that already.

When T-Mobile announced their “uncarrier” approach to cellular service plans earlier this year, it stood out as a long overdue benchmark.  Customers were finally able to get the latest smartphone without having to commit to a two-year contract.   Unfortunately, the lack of a contract also meant that T-Mobile could not offer the extreme discounts on new phones that major carriers provide.  With heavy hitters like Sprint and Verizon, new customers can score a $750 phone for $200.  Without that, a new smartphone is out of reach for a lot of consumers.

T-Mobile’s solution was for consumers to mortgage the cost of the phone, making monthly payments tacked onto the phone bill.  With respectable monthly plans for $30, there's still plenty of room for phone payments before you reach the average $80-$100 monthly cost of many major carriers.  Using this model, T-Mobile has been building awareness and gaining membership.

The other decision point that T-Mobile had yet to address was the ability to upgrade hardware.  Although customers on a 2-year plan can only upgrade their phone once every year or two on average, the discount is still a draw.  T-Mobile’s announcement today that customers can upgrade every six months is another reinvention of the common model that makes excellent intuitive sense.  Two years can be a long time to wait when new models like the Qualcomm-powered Galaxy S4 are dangled in front of you all year long.

T-Mobile’s new plan doesn’t only offer the option to upgrade.  For an extra $10 a month, you essentially get a new phone whenever you want it or need it.  The $10 fee also acts as an insurance plan, allowing you to receive a new phone in the event of malfunction or damage, in addition to upgrading twice a year.  That cost is comparable to normal carrier insurance plans on other networks.

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