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T-Mobile Ponders 'Anytime Upgrade' Club
'Very Small' Fee Would Allow Bi-Annual Phone Upgrades
by Karl Bode 12:01PM Wednesday Mar 27 2013
In addition to T-Mobile's "uncarrier" moves announced yesterday, the company says they're also considering an "anytime upgrade club" which, after a "very small" fee, would allow users to upgrade their handset twice a year. Details were scarce, and it's unclear if this would even be worth it for users under T-Mobile's new contract-free pricing. For example, T-Mobile will now be offering users the iPhone 5 for $99 plus monthly payments of $20 for the next 24 months (the phone remains locked until you pay it off). If you're already locked into those payments, it's unclear how a "very small" fee would magically get you out of the balance owed unless you're willing to pay off multiple phones simultaneously, and T-Mobile has yet to offer more detail.

topics flat nest 


more info needed

Like the article says, a lot more info is needed in order to evaluate this. Depending on the details this would be very enticing to me as I'd love to keep up with the new phones every 6 months or even one year.
math PhD student (University of Miami)

delusion ftl

It will work something like this

I get an iPhone 5 (shudder) for 99 dollars and start paying 20 a month. I join this upgrade club for 15 dollars a month that allows two upgrades per year. The iPhone 5s comes out 6 months later and I've paid in 90 dollars to the club. My iPhone 5 is now worth ~450 dollars. I pay 99 dollars for the new iPhone 5s and resume my 20 dollar a month payment on that. Tmobile takes in 450 dollars on the 5 by me trading it back in (i'm sure there will be wear and tear clauses), and 90 dollars on the membership offsetting the original cost of the 5.

So if I'm on the 50 dollar a month plan (unlimited talk/text/data) and have a 20 loan, plus a 15 dollar anytime upgrade club. I'd be paying 85 dollars a month. This is a respectable amount compared to other carriers that would only allow you to upgrade once every 2 years, and charge you 200 dollars for the new phone instead of 99.
And remember that iPhone users would only be upgrading once a year max, whereas android fans would almost certainly be doing twice a year.

Note this is just a rough example. I'm not sure how the math would work out in specific, only in general.

Austin, TX

Re: It will work something like this

Sounds about right. And it's something that I'd go for, though I wouldn't mind yearly upgrades rather than every six months.

Go Colts
Fort Wayne, IN
The only flaw in this is that there is zero chance that T-Mobile would pay you $450 for your iPhone. $200 would be more like it. Even if you add in your $90 for the early buy back program, you're still less than $300. You'd likely get more going through Ebay or Craigslist.

Instead of going through the buy back program, just buy the phone outright. When it comes time to upgrade in 6 months, sell on ebay or CL and use the proceeds to pay for the majority of your new phone. Rinse, repeat in 6 months.

Here come the drums


I like that T-Mobile is trying to shake things up. But I feel bad for all those people with bad credit that won't be able to get their phone and will have to pay full price.

Richland, WA

It could work...

Ya, if you pay $100 plus $240 after a year then you're at $340 of the value for the phone. Now if you dump that phone BACK into the TMo system as a "FREE" phone (plus the $20/mo "loan") then within a year that phone has earned TMo $580 in device fees. That leaves a magic $69 that needs to be earned to break even, well $69 "early upgrade" fee sounds "very very small" in carrier talk when you're talking about a $600+ device.

They could limited it to generation to generation upgrades too, so you couldn't trade a 16Gig iPhone 5 in for a 32Gig at your 6 months, that would ensure they only offered up one iPhone early upgrade per year, even though they "sell" a sweet deal of every 6 months gets an upgrade.

Of course going over to the Droid side of things, well I'm sure most Droids have an OEM cost below Apple so if they were still at the $99 upfront + $69 "early upgrade" + $120 in your 6 month loan fees you're looking at $288 minimum before an upgrade ....




Nice idea, though my method of buying a new nexus each year and selling the old one on ebay (they retain their value very well) is probably a much cheaper option. But I'm sure this could sway many iPhone and Android users who want to always have the latest device. Especially if even after the fee, they are paying less than they used to pay to AT&T or Verizon.

Formerly known as schja01.
Morton Grove, IL

And you get the ATT network as your roaming partner?

Too bad their network footprint is so ... poor.


Bronx, NY

Only way this will work is

Simple if they plan to give the Iphone,HTC or Samsung phone with no contract and no credit check. Once they get rid of both(ok they need to rid of the second one i mention since they took care of the first one) Because credit check is the thing that stops you from getting the phone you want. I have no credit since everything i pay is with cash don't want to pay double or trip for any iteam if I can pay it with no strings. Yet i can't never seem to get the phone I want because of credit check.