T-Mobile US to allow phone upgrades every six months

T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere speaks during a company event in New York July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere speaks during a company event in New York July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

T-Mobile US Inc said on Wednesday that customers would be allowed to upgrade phones every six months and it unveiled a family plan for prepaid customers as it moves to lure customers away from its three bigger rivals.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc and Sprint Nextel Corp offer phone discounts in exchange for tying customers to two year contracts and typically do not allow phone upgrades during that period.

T-Mobile, which is under pressure to stem years of customer losses, is betting people will switch to its service because they want to change phones more often than its rivals allow.

“You can upgrade when you want, not when you’re told,” T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere, who was appointed in September 2012, said in a dig at his bigger rivals at a New York event where he announced the move.

The No. 4 U.S. mobile provider also hopes to attract more customers who pay for calls in advance by offering a prepaid family plan that does not require a credit check.

It said its $100 monthly fee for a family of four is about $100 less than AT&T’s service, saying about a third of U.S. families would not pass the credit checks required for typical wireless family plans.

AT&T and Verizon attribute much of their success in retaining customers to family plans because it is harder for an entire family to change service than an individual.

Customers who want frequent phone upgrades must sign on to a service called Jump that requires them to pay a $10 monthly insurance fee on top of monthly service fees and a one-off down payment that partially covers the cost of the phone. They are also charged a monthly fee of up to $20 per month to pay for the remainder of the phone.

When T-Mobile customers want an upgrade, they can bring a phone to a store and swap it for a new device. They pay another down-payment and resume monthly payments for that device. The moves follows T-Mobile’s elimination in March of long-term contracts and handset subsidies.

The event on Wednesday was T-Mobiles’ first media function since it merged with MetroPCS in April.

It also announced that customer defection rates are lower than ever because of new marketing efforts and the introduction in April of the Apple Inc iPhone, which accounted for 29 percent of its smartphone sales in the second quarter.

T-Mobile shares closed 1.3 percent higher at $24.42 on the New York Stock Exchange.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…