Sprint may be prepping its own early upgrade plan, according to a new report from CNET.
According to a screenshot posted on the tech site, the carrier’s program will allow users to upgrade their phones every year and pay for their mobile devices by monthly installments. The report, from CNET”s Roger Cheng, shows screenshots of what appear to be tables outlining the program’s details. The program, Cheng reports, is slated to start Sept. 20, the same day that consumers will be able to pick up the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in stores.
Sprint spokesman John Taylor declined to comment on the report.
If the details reported by CNET are true, the Sprint program would compete with others already offered by competitors T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.
Sprint’s proposed program, the report said, will let users pick up a new device after one year on contract, which they can then pay off in 24 monthly installments. The program also gives users a small discount on an unlimited talk, text and data plan. CNET also reports that if a user leaves Sprint’s service before the monthly payments are up, they will have to pay the full balance of the phone the next month. Sprint customers who use its pre-paid plans, the report said, are not eligible.
Those details differ slightly from plans from competitors. T-Mobile’s “Jump” plan, which was the first early upgrade plan, allows users to switch as often as every six months and offers a lower-cost service plan for Jump users. But it also charges an additional $10 per month for this service.
Verizon also lets users upgrade twice per 12-month period, but they must have paid off at least half of their devices before upgrading again. AT&T’s Next plan is similar, but consumers can only upgrade once a year, and the carrier breaks the cost of the device up over 20 months.
The moves from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint are generally seen as reactions to T-Mobile’s revamp of its plan structure, both with the Jump program and with its move to a “uncarrier” structure that charges users for their devices and their data plans separately.
For all the plans, users will have to show their older phones are in good working condition, so that the carriers can resell them as refurbished phones.
Before signing on to any of these plans, however, users should consider selling their older phones through third-party dealers and using that cash to supplement the cost of a new phone — essentially lowering the initial price of the new phone altogether. It may be worth the slight hassle if you can get a good deal for your phone.
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