It’s been a little more than half a year since the major U.S. cellular carriers introduced a variety of plans that enable users to upgrade their phones more often in exchange for a monthly fee added to their bills.
After T-Mobile announced their version of a frequent upgrade plan — Jump! — I was quick to sign up because it was only $10 extra a month for the ability to upgrade my phone every six months, and it included a device warranty that would bring peace of mind to protect my device. At the time, I picked up an HTC One and came to love the phone, telling many people that it was the best phone I ever owned.
This last week, however, I became eligible for my first Jump! upgrade and figuring that I’d been paying for the service, decided I would go and try another phone. If you are a Jump! customer and are wondering how to get your upgrade, here is the process:
1) First, you need to make sure your time is here to upgrade. If you log in to your T-Mobile account online, and go to the phone upgrade page, there will be a date notice that lets you know when you’re eligible for your first upgrade. If that time has come, then you’re good to go.
2) You must go into a physical T-Mobile store to get your upgrade. This process was pretty painless, however, as I simply walked into my area store, told the clerk who greeted me that I wanted to do a Jump! upgrade, and the process started.
3) For me, I knew which phone I wanted right away — a Galaxy Note 3 — but if you’re interested in looking at other phones, you should probably do that before telling a clerk that you want to do your upgrade, unless you’re hoping to get the clerk to help you in your search. Once you begin the process up upgrading, the T-Mobile employee will tell you the details about how your bill will change and how much you’ll have to pay up front. For me, an added monthly charge to pay for the phone will be added to my bill, and I had to pay tax on the full price of the device up front.
4) T-Mobile will make sure your device is in mint condition and has no water damage. One of the things you’re required to do as part of the Jump! program is to keep your device in good shape. If you want to be able to turn it back in for a new device, you’ll need to protect the one you have. This makes it very important to have a good case and, of course, a screen protector on your device.
5) Activate your new device. The T-Mobile employee will swap the SIM card from your old device to your new device, turn on the phone, and after you sign a document, you’ll be good to go and walk away with your new phone. If you’d like, the T-Mobile employee will help you set up your new device, but you may think that’s the most fun part of getting a new phone.
6) One thing that my T-Mobile employee didn’t do automatically and I had to ask about was erasing my old phone. I asked if he was going to erase it and he handed the phone back to me so that I could erase it myself. You may choose to erase the contents of your phone prior to arriving at T-Mobile, but if you are concerned about any of the content on your old device getting into the wrong hands (if you have corporate email on the phone, for example) it is probably a good idea to wipe it yourself before dropping the phone off.
That’s about it. It took me about 20 minutes total from walking into the store to walking out with a new device, with the longest part of the process being the store employee going into the stock room to retrieve my new phone. If you’ve had an experience with the upgrade programs at another carrier that differs from this, we’d love to hear the details in the comments.