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Sprint Confirms One Up Plan in the Nick of Time
Posted by: Live investor (IP Logged)
Date: September 20, 2013 12:05PM
The third largest U.S. telecom player Sprint (S) is said to be preparing to introduce its upgrade program. The Kansas carrier has now finally confirmed its “One Up” early upgrade plan following the footsteps of its fellow players. The upgrade program would allow users to upgrade their smartphone once in a year. Additionally, both existing and new subscribers would get unlimited talk and text. This would come for a monthly charge which starts at $65, which is the lowest of all the national carriers. Verizon (VZ) , AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS) already have their individual upgrade plans, but none provide unlimited talk and text at a rate as low as Sprint’s.
The carrier chose to unveil One Up on the same day as Cupertino tech giant Apple (AAPL) released its flagship iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The release of One Up at this point of time was done on purpose. Apple has a huge fan following standing in long queues to get their hands on the new iPhone 5s and 5C. This would be a good time for the carrier to take advantage of the upgrade program, particularly as its rivals already offer such upgrade plans.
T-Mobile broke the tradition of binding customers in a two-year contract and started the trend of such upgrade programs with its Jump plan. This move was shortly followed by Dallas carrier AT&T which introduced its NEXT plan almost immediately. Right after, Verizon came with its Edge to provide similar services.
So What Does the One Up Plan Provide?
The first step to participate in Sprint’s One Up plan is that the customer needs to buy a smartphone or even a tablet from the carrier with a two-year monthly installment payment. The buyer can also enjoy making no down payment for the device for a small time period. In case the subscriber wishes to end services before the completion of 24 months, he needs to clear the unpaid amount of the device. However, if the customer has made 12 consecutive payments for the device, he has the option to upgrade the smartphone or tablet for a new one by trading in the device that he currently owns.
According to Sprint’s spokesperson Kristin Wallac, the telecom provider’s existing customers who possess their current phones for over 12 months can return their phones and move on to One Up through Jan. 9, 2014, only if they successfully meet their credit qualification.
Fellow Rivals' Comparable Plans
One Up starts at $65 a month which is lower than T-Mobile’s similar plan which starts at $70. Larger rivals Verizon and AT&T are much costlier. T-Mobile and Sprint offer a discount on their plans, but the larger players do not make any such offer.
T-Mobile’s Jump allows users to upgrade their phones once in six months if the customer bought the device through the carrier’s installment plan and pays $10 a month that is charged for upgrading twice a year. AT&T’s Next enables users to upgrade their handset or tablet once in a year for a monthly installment. Customers may buy the device for a month installment for 20 months and may exchange the device in 12 months time if it is in decent working condition. Verizon also has a similar plan where the cost of the handset can be spread over 20 months. But here, the customer can upgrade the phone in six months only if at least 50% of the phone price is paid. Also, only those customers subscribing to the Share Everything plan of the carrier will be eligible for the upgrade program.
The Bottom Line
Sprint introduced its One Up plan exactly on the day Apple’s new iPhones hit retail stores. The mobile operator’s chief executive is pretty confident about the upgrade program, considers that it gives “the best value in wireless” and unlike other carriers, truly promises unlimited talk time, texting and data in its plans. Only time will say how each carrier’s upgrade program will fair in the competitive market.
Stocks Discussed: AAPL, S, T, TMUS, VZ,
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