Do you ever wish you truly understood how your upgrade program works?
You're not alone. We know that the terms and conditions, never mind the basics, can seem like they're written in Greek.
If you're considering T-Mobile service you may be tempted by the carrier's Jump!, Jump! Plus, and Jump! On-Demand upgrade programs. It's important to understand how much these programs actually cost you in the long run.
In this guide, we're going to answer the question "What is T-Mobile Jump!?" and help you figure out if it's worth it for you. We'll also give you tips on how to get a cheaper smartphone and more affordable mobile service.
In This Guide
What Is T-Mobile Jump!?
In 2013 T-Mobile introduced Jump! - it's new upgrade program. For an additional monthly fee, customers can get a new phone more frequently than every two years.
Originally you could upgrade up to twice per year. Today, however, the program offers three different options - two with monthly fees and one that's available at no extra cost.
How does it all add up?
Say you want to buy the iPhone 7S and then continue to upgrade to the next version year after year. This is when the Jump! plan would come in handy. Let's take a look at our savings chart:
How Does T-Mobile Jump! Work?
There are three versions of the T-Mobile Jump program: Jump!, Jump! Plus, and Jump! On Demand.
The base T-Mobile upgrade program works like this:
- Eligibility: You must be a postpaid plan customer and agree to pay for your device over 24 months. You may have to make a down payment on your phone.
Cost: You pay $9 - $12 extra per month (on top of your device payment) depending upon which phone you choose.
Upgrading: You can trade in once you've paid 50% of your phone's cost. If you upgrade sooner you pay the difference between what you've paid so far and 50% of the cost.
Insurance: Premium Device Protection/AppleCare is included in your Jump! fee. This covers accidental damage, mechanical failure, and loss or theft. There may be a deductible associated with using this protection.
The fine print:
You must sign up for Jump! within 14 days of buying your T-Mobile phone.
You must trade your device in when you upgrade. Your phone must be in decent condition - no cracked screen, hardware malfunctions, etc.
You must upgrade to a different model or one with a higher memory capacity than the one you already have.
This incarnation of the program is simply regular Jump! with McAfee Security and Tech PHD help desk support added. If you opt for Plus you'll pay $12 - $15 per month on top of your device payment instead of $9 - $12.
Jump! On Demand
On Demand is just what it sounds like - this version allows you to upgrade your phone every month if you choose. It's free, but here are the catches:
- You must be enrolled in an 18-month phone lease. This means you will never own your device - T-Mobile retains ownership.
- Premium Device Protection cell phone insurance is not included. You will pay extra if you want handset protection.
- If there is excessive wear on your phone when you upgrade, you're on the hook for the damage.
- Prepaid plans are not eligible for Jump! On Demand.
Jump! On Demand seems like a great deal, and it is for people who always want the very newest device and take impeccable care of their phones. It's not so great for the budget-minded, however. Because you never own your device you're just pouring in money which you'll never recoup by selling your phone.
Entering into this program is an 18-month commitment. After that time your options are to:
- Pay off the remaining installments on your device
- Return your device
- Enter a POIP (Purchase Option Installment Plan), which is a nine-month payment arrangement to pay off your phone
Read More: T-Mobile vs Verizon: Which is Better? Find out now!
Is Jump! Worth It?
All that said, what you probably want to know is how all of this plays out in terms of real dollars. Let's look at a cost comparison between a couple of options.
New Flagship Phone With T-Mobile Jump!
Let's say you buy the iPhone 8 with regular Jump!.
Phone payment: $29 (24 monthly installments with a total device cost of $700)
Jump! payment: $12
T-Mobile plan: $70
Total monthly cost: $111
If you upgrade after a year, you'll be off the hook for $350 of your payments due to being enrolled in the Jump! plan. But, you will have paid an additional $144 in program payments.
Total device savings on the Jump! plan: $206
Total cost over two years, with unlimited cell phone plan: $2,664
This comparison is from the perspective of a first-time phone buyer. If you already have a smartphone - which can be sold before you upgrade - the savings from Jump! may be a wash.
This comparison also assumes, of course, that the monthly cost of your new upgraded phone is the same as your original device payment. In reality, if you're getting a better phone, you're probably going to be paying more per month for it.
The Alternative - Buy a Refurbished Smartphone With MVNO Plan
What if I told you there was a much cheaper way to get a great device and a similar cell phone plan? You don't have to sell a kidney just to have a late-model iPhone and reliable wireless service. Let's look at another option.
What the heck is an MVNO?
Mobile Virtual Network Operators - or MVNOs - are smaller wireless carriers that lease space on the big four networks. They have lower overhead and marketing costs, so they pass the savings on to you in the form of cheap cell phone plans.
You get the same 4G LTE networks without the high costs, and you can keep your number and choose your own device. With MVNOs there are no contracts, commitments, or early termination fees.
Want to keep your reliable T-Mobile coverage? No problem - just pick a T-Mobile MVNO and you'll stay on the network you love.
How much can you save?
That's the real question, right? Here's an example:
iPhone 8 (64GB)
iPhone 8 with T-Mobile Jump!
Used iPhone 8 with T-Mobile MVNO
|Phone Price Upfront||$0||$500|
|SIM Starter Kit||$20||$0|
|Total Upfront Cost||$20||$500|
|Monthly installment price||$27.09||$0|
|Monthly T-Mobile ONE price||$70||$0|
|Monthly unlimited TextNow price||$0||$39.99|
|Monthly Jump! Fee||$12||$0|
|Total Monthly Cost||$109||$39.99|
Total Cost for 2 years
Boom - you just saved over $1,100 just by switching carriers without sacrificing the newest generation of phone.
Skeptical of buying a used phone? Add on some third-party warranty coverage at an average of $10 per month and you'll still save over $900 over the course of two years.
- Jump! may be of a minor benefit if you're unwilling to change carriers.
- Jump! On Demand is probably only worth it for those who absolutely must have the newest device regardless of the monthly payment amount.
- You can save over half on device payments and plan costs by simply buying your smartphone outright and switching to a cheaper wireless carrier.
Ready to make the change? Compare cell phone plans and see exactly how much money you could be putting back in your wallet.