# Is T-Mobile’s new upgrade program Jump worth it?

While I wouldn’t exactly call it T-Mobile’s “boldest” move yet, the self-styled “Uncarrier” did announce a new change in strategy at its media event on Wednesday. T-Mobile(s tmus) wants to make it easier for customers to upgrade their phones, not on the typical one-year or two-year cadence common to the mobile industry, but every six months.

## But I can get a new iPhone for $200… For a lot of people, these prices aren’t going to seem fair no matter how you look at them. We’ve been conditioned for so long to think of smartphones as throwaway electronics that should cost no more than$200. But that’s because we’ve all been fooled by carrier subsidies. We’re still paying the full cost — if not more — for our devices, we’re just doing it through our monthly bills, which is why we get locked down to two-year contracts.

T-Mobile charges far cheaper rates than the other carriers, and it does so because it separates out the cost of the device from the service plan. It’s a pretty revolutionary way of selling mobile devices and services, at least for the U.S., but it’s going to take some time for Americans to get used to it.

That’s what I think is most significant about Jump. The cost economics of the program can go either way depending on what kind of consumer you are, but T-Mobile is trying to shake up the subsidy-contract contract structure.

Let’s face it: any two-year old smartphone is ancient. Requiring 24 months of service before upgrading is a bit silly. We may have to change the way we think about phone pricing, but at least Jump gives us an alternative.

T-Mobile store image courtesy of Flickr user swruler9284