Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.
T-Mobile announced a new phone upgrade plan it calls Jump that enables customers to switch out their devices at least two times a year, contrary to what most other US phone carriers currently offer.
Other news the company shared involves the expansion of its LTE Network, will begin selling three new LTE devices, the Sony Xperia Z, Nokia’s Lumia 920, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10/1, and the launch of a new Simple Choice family plan.
Just upgrade my phone
Prior to a press conference today in New York City, T-Mobile CEO John Legere shared with AllThingsD plans about Jump, the new upgrade program. He says that for a $10 monthly fee, customers can trade in their existing phones for a new one at the same or lower price that’s offered to new customers, but without needing to pay the remaining payments owed on it. The catch: a six-month waiting period will be implemented before customers can upgrade their phone.
Legere says that customers are saying that customers are telling him about device upgrade restrictions are one of their pain points. He says that mobile carriers looking to solve customer anguish has “gone viral”. To that end, T-Mobile is “doubling down” on its efforts to make life easier for customers, following up to its removal of the traditional phone contract, addition of “unlimited everything”, and more.
The T-Mobile press conference was filled with Legere taking on other carriers like AT&T, touting his company’s attempt to reinvent a “stupid, broken, arrogant industry” saying customers are fed up with AT&T and “coming to them in droves.”
With the Jump program, Legere hopes customers will appreciate being able to get a new phone when an “oh shit” moment happens — whether that’s a damaged phone screen, it breaks when dropped, or if it gets stolen or permanently misplaced. He says that the traditional two years of waiting is just too long and with this new program, customers can get the device they need.
As more phone manufacturers develop new devices, it’s not surprising that people want the next best thing. Whenever the new iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone comes out, people are often complaining how they can’t get it because they’re “under contract”. With Jump, T-Mobile looks to just make it easier for people to ditch their old phones and pick up the newest one available.
More LTE for all
As for the expansion of its LTE Network, T-Mobile is making a big investment on it. It is now available in 116 metro area markets, reaching 157 million people.
This announcement comes after the company acquired MetroPCS earlier this year. At the time, Legere said that the merger of the two wireless companies would “create an even stronger disruptive force in the US wireless market.” He continues by saying the new T-Mobile would “continue our legacy of marketplace innovation by tearing up the old playbook and rewriting the rules of wireless to benefit customers.”
LTE on T-Mobile is actually fairly new. Company CTO Neville Ray says that it’s only been around for six months. T-Mobile hoped that its mid-year goal for LTE is 100 million POPs and by July, it’s now covering 157 million. He says the LTE footprint is growing and that T-Mobile will have nationwide LTE coverage with 200 million people covered before the end of 2013.
Major metropolitan areas where T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network service launched today include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami, and many others.
With more LTE service comes additional supported devices and T-Mobile is set to begin selling three new phones. On its schedule is Sony’s Xperia Z (starting at $99.99), Nokia’s Lumia 920, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 10/1.
A new family plan for just $100/month
In order to make its service more appealing to families that cannot qualify for its postpaid contracts, T-Mobile also unveiled a new family plan. For $100 per month, families can get up to four phone lines with unlimited talk, text, and Web, along with 500MB of high-speed data. The company is also eliminating credit checks and is no longer requiring an annual service contract.
The new family plan will become available starting July 14 and T-Mobile says that its Simple Choice Plan has been “wildly popular” with families since it was introduced in March. It claims 80 percent of its customers have opted for multiple lines.
Photo credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
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