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As expected, Sprint(s s) officially introduced its new One Up early upgrade program on Friday. It allows customers to upgrade their phones once a year, as opposed to the more traditional new-every-two model. AT&T(s t), T-Mobile(s tmus) and Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) have already introduced early upgrade plans of their own, but at $65 per month for unlimited talk, text and data, Sprint offers the lowest rates of all four major U.S. carriers.
For a limited time, the program lets you buy a phone for no money down and pay it off in 24 equal monthly payments. If you wish to end your service before the 24 months is up, you’ll have to pay for the remainder of the device. But after one year (as opposed to two) you can upgrade to a new smartphone by trading in the device you currently have.
One Up requires you to sign up for Sprint’s unlimited talk, text and data, but it gets you a $15 discount, which means it starts as low as $65 per month. For comparison, a similar plan on T-Mobile starts at $70. AT&T and Verizon cost even more.
T-Mobile’s Jump program kicked off the early upgrade craze back in July. Both T-Mobile and Sprint require you to pay monthly installment fees, but offer a discount on monthly plan pricing. AT&T and Verizon, on the other hand, do not. You can get a much more detailed look at the pricing differences between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon here.
With the iPhone 5s(s aapl) and the iPhone 5c hitting store shelves today, Sprint introduced this program just in the nick of time.