T-Mobile Schools AT&T, Verizon on Better Phone Upgrades

T-Mobile announced a new program that lets people upgrade their phones twice a year as well as further expansion of its LTE network.

T-Mobile announced its innovative Jump program Wednesday, which allows subscribers to upgrade their phone twice a year rather than once every two years.

By paying an extra $10 a month, T-Mobile customers can trade in their current phone up to two times a year (following an initial six-month grace period), to get a brand new one without having to pay full price for the device or face an upgrade fee.

Jump is, in part, an insurance program that offers protection from the usual hazards that befall most smartphones--theft, loss, and damage from being dropped into toilets or onto hard surfaces (which, by the way, will include a deductable--you'll pay anywhere from $10 to $175 depending on the phone and the damage)

The plan also includes the ability to trade in a phone if a customer simply wishes to upgrade. An additional byproduct of the plan is that T-Mobile will create "a huge market on refurbished brands that are carrier-guaranteed," according to Braxton Carter, T-Mobile's CFO.

But that wasn't all T-Mobile had to say at its New York event.

Aside from a few jabs at AT&T (with only a smattering of the profanity T-Mobile CEO John Legere has become known for), the company also announced that its LTE network was now officially live in 116 metropolitan areas including Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York City, and San Francisco.

The company says it's on target to roll out LTE to more than 200 cities by the end of the year, which is good news for T-Mobile customers who've been limited to the carrier's unstable HSPA+ network up until now.

The good news didn't stop there, as the company gave up release dates for the Sony Xperia Z and Nokia Lumia 925--two high-end smartphones that will be exclusive to T-Mobile. The phones hit stores July 17, but you can start pre-ordering them as early as July 16th. Our Susie Ochs was a big fan of the Xperia Z, and you can read her full thoughts on the Sony phone in her review.

T-Mobile is living up to its promise of becoming the "uncarrier." Its recent business decisions paint it as being more consumer-friendly than either AT&T or Verizon, and those two mobile giants are going to have a harder and harder time if T-Mobile keeps shaking things up.

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