T-Mobile Shakes Up Market With Fast Phone Upgrades

T-Mobile expands LTE network, lets customers upgrade to new devices twice a year.
Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour
Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour
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T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced several new products and services during a curse-laden press conference this week. Legere spared no one, especially T-Mobile's competitors, as he introduced a new device upgrade program, an LTE network expansion and new options for families.

If there's one thing Legere likes to do, it's skewer T-Mobile's peers. In particular, he lambasted AT&T and Sprint for their silly commercials and crummy network coverage. Based on the number of cheerleaders in the audience at this week's press conference, it's clear that Legere likes to be heard. T-Mobile staffers on-site applauded raucously with each announcement. Here's what Legere revealed:

First, Jump!, a revolutionary program that lets T-Mobile customers upgrade to new devices twice a year rather than once every two years. The idea is basically an insurance plan on steroids. T-Mobile already offers a monthly insurance plan that gives customers protection of their devices. The insurance program offered replacement devices if a customer's device was lost, stolen, broken, etc. Now, customers who enroll in the program, which costs $10 per month, can choose to upgrade their phone up to twice every 12 months. The program requires that customers sit tight for at least six months before they can upgrade. That means customers who enroll as soon as the program becomes available on July 14 will need to wait until January 14, 2014 before they can take advantage of their first upgrade. After that, they can get new devices for the same price that new customers pay when they first sign up.

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According to T-Mobile, any device that powers up, shows no sign of water damage, and has an intact screen can be swapped for a new device at no extra cost other than the down payment for the new phone. If the phone is broken, customers will have to pay the insurance deductible but will still be able to get a low-cost new phone. Combined with T-Mobile's contract-free and monthly payment model, it is sure to win over customers who like to change their phones more frequently than once every 730 days.

In addition to Jump!, T-Mobile announced a significant expansion of its LTE network. T-Mobile launched LTE earlier this year, but only in a handful of markets. This week, it boosted the number of markets covered to 116, including major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta and Miami. T-Mobile claims that its LTE network now covers 157 million POPs and says it is on track to reach 200 million by the end of the year. For those keeping score, T-Mobile just matched Sprint's LTE footprint in about one-fifth the time. Initial speed tests in New York showed blazing fast network speeds of up to 70 Mbps.

T-Mobile also showed off a new family plan that offers an incredible value to groups of four people. The plan lets four users share unlimited voice minutes, unlimited messaging, and 500 MB of pooled data for just $100 per month. Granted, most single lines -- let alone four lines -- need more than 500 MB of month, but it's an incredible starting point for users on a budget.

Last, T-Mobile officially announced the pricing and availability dates of the Nokia Lumia 925 and Sony Xperia Z. The 925 goes on sale July 17 for $49.99 down, and the Xperia Z goes on sale July 17 for $99.99 down. Both phones require 24 payments of $20.

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