T-Mobile’s ‘UnCarrier’ Policy to Serve as Inspiration for AT&T and Verizon

by Istvan Fekete on July 16, 2013

According to T-Mobile’s new marketing strategy, starting July 14, 2013, for $10 a month, JUMP! will enable customers to upgrade to the latest mobile device up to twice a year at the same pricing as that of a a new customer.

In other words, wireless subscribers finally can upgrade their phone whenever they want, not only when allowed by a tight contract. Depending on your budget, this can happen even twice a year, after just six months in the JUMP! program. And, what’s more important: existing customers will have the same advantages news customers will have when deciding to upgrade.

Turns out, the new strategy has created a precedent in the U.S. wireless landscape: both AT&T and Verizon are preparing something very similar for their customers.

AT&T was the first one to make a move. According to a press release, beginning nationwide on July 26, AT&T Next customers can upgrade to a new smartphone or tablet at their will, with no down payment, no activation fee, no upgrade fee, and no financing fees.

Customers who choose the AT&T Next program will agree to make monthly payments equal to 1/20th of the retail cost of the handset. There is a catch, though: while JUMP! allows an upgrade twice a year, AT&T Next allows customers to upgrade after 12 payments, or after a year. This time with no fees. After 20 payments, the subscriber will own the device outright.

Verizon, on the other hand, has made no official announcement, but Droid Life has learned that the red carrier will introduce a new upgrade initiative called VZ Edge on August 25, 2013.

VZ Edge is the Verizon-version of ”uncarrier’ policy”: it is a way for customers to avoid signing contracts and upgrade fees while retaining the latest smartphone or tablet computer. From what we know so far, it will be similar to AT&T Next, for it will allow an upgrade after paying half of the device’s retail value.

This is happening in the United States while Canadian incumbents are adhering to the forthcoming Wireless Code’s terms by offering two-year contracts. What’s interesting: these players are increasing the amount customers need to pay when signing up for a 2-year term, rather than attracting customers with JUMP!-like offers.

We can only hope that Verizon will indeed enter the Canadian wireless market, which would re-shuffle the current lineup of the players.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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