T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere really loves to talk smack about his larger rivals and the practices of the U.S. cellular market as a whole.

"We are going to redefine a stupid, broken, arrogant industry," Legere declared at the carrier's JUMP plan and LTE launches in New York City on Wednesday, while claiming that other carriers' two-year contracts are "bullshit" designed to just "pick the pockets dry" of their customers. [Ed note: Legere relishes a well-delivered swear word almost as much as Virgin Media Inc.'s Richard Branson.]

T-Mobile dropped its fixed-term contract plans as part of its "Uncarrier" strategy plans. (See T-Mobile Kills Contracts, Launches LTE Network.)

Now, T-Mobile's JUMP plan allows existing T-Mobile customers to pay US$10 extra a month and then trade in their old handset for a new smartphone (at a subsidized price) twice a year if they wish. The handset needs to "boot up," not have a cracked screen or serious water damage to be acceptable as a trade-in. If it's not in an acceptable condition, users will pay a "deductible" of up to $170 to get a new device. Just as important is the revamped family plan. T-Mobile is offering four lines, 500MB of 4G data and unlimited talk for $100 a month. A key differentiator, as executives noted, is that T-Mobile isn't doing a credit check on the family plan.

Legere said T-Mobile's "Uncarrier" strategy is already winning over customers: He claims T-Mobile was the number one in net new customer adds in New York in May, adding 56,000 names to the customer base.

Although Legere luvs to direct his vitriol towards AT&T Inc., it became clear to me that Sprint Nextel Corp. might have the most to fear from a revitalized T-Mobile.

It hadn't escaped T-Mobile's gaze either. CTO Neville Ray made a crack about how T-Mobile is already offering LTE service in Manhattan, New York City, while Sprint is still talking about Manhattan, Kansas. (See Sprint LTE: First, We Take Manhattan (Kansas).)

Certainly, Sprint already seems to have noticed a change in the weather, too. (See Sprint Fires Back at T-Mobile With Unlimited Guarantee.)

Legere might do well to remember a lesson from Sprint's past, though. Years ago, before Dan Hesse, before Network Vision, before any of that, Sprint was spanked by Wall Street for having deadbeat, no-credit customers. Legere says smartphones are iconic brands now and they can make a business selling refurbished devices as well as new units.

That's a claim worth keeping an eye on, I'd say.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

thomasleavitt 5/12/2014 | 5:24:07 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP JUMP's combination of handset insurance with upgrade protection is a real winner for higher end handset buyers. If I'd've had jump in place, I wouldn't be stuck paying three more months of payments on my S3 and my wife's S2 after they both died 21 months into their purchase contracts. Would've upgraded much earlier. I'm fine "renting" my phone indefinitely.
DanJones 1/13/2014 | 7:28:20 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP FYI, Sprint came out with an early upgrade program after Jump and has just dropped it v. suddenly:

John Legere is unsurprisingly tweaking their nose about it on Twitter:

John Legere@JohnLegere 5m

Really, @Sprint? Way to #Jump ship. You're not one-uping anyone these days! http://tchno.be/1a38aAc

Sarah Thomas 7/12/2013 | 4:55:15 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP haha, proud to say I've never lost my phone...well never not found it at least. I suppose paying the deductible (which could be as much as another phone on contract) is still better than paying the unlocked price.
milan03 7/12/2013 | 4:38:26 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP Sarah, you can still upgrade twice a year, $10 JUMP comes with insurance and covers lost or stolen phone. There will be a deductible, but you still qualify for the next device, after the first 6months.
DanJonesLRMobile 7/12/2013 | 3:45:25 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP A lot of people, Sarah? Or just one person? ;-)
Sarah Thomas 7/12/2013 | 3:16:31 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP That's a good point. It definitely makes for flashy PR. Too bad it requires a phone trade in. I know a lot of people who tend to lose their phones, so would appreciate the ability to upgrade twice a year instead.
MordyK 7/12/2013 | 2:54:49 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP I think that the breadth of people this applies to is irrelevant. This is targeted to the tech early adopter who needs the latest gadgets, but that demographics influence is out-sized. This may be a brilliant marketing ploy, and I wonder if it's being underwritten as Marketing or customer acquisition costs.
DanJonesLRMobile 7/12/2013 | 2:45:08 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP Yeah they were asked about conditions. They claim it just has to work and not be completely wrecked and they can recondition.
Sarah Thomas 7/12/2013 | 2:10:10 PM
re: T-Mobile: Might As Well JUMP JUMP sounds nice in theory, but I don't see it appealing to that many people -- maybe just those early adopters who have to have the latest devices. It's still pretty expensive if you're tacking on an extra $10 per month, plus let's see how strict they are with trade-in and evaluating damage.
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