Great, my worst nightmare has come true. T-Mobile has a plan to allow my family members to get new devices pretty much whenever they want.
Fortunately I think I can keep them away from this as the friction of having five devices supported by Verizon (most of them under contract) is too great to start shopping for other providers.
From the T-Mobile PR department, this genius marketing and “innovation” program, called Jump, was introduced at one of those fancy marketing events today. What is Jump? High-tech stuff: Pay an extra $10 and you get out of all those sticky contract stipulations that tie you to 2-year plan. And you can update your mobile device up to twice a year. My advanced beancounting indicates that’s $120 annually for the right to upgrade more often. Pay more to spend more!
As usual the blogs and fanzines are going crazy on this right now. You can spend all sorts of time listening to telecom executives rationalize a revolutionary new $10 monthly fee! But I’ll tell you what: It’s not that interesting. It’s a new financing/billing scheme. They got some punk MBA to run a few spreadsheets to find out if this would generate more EBITDA and it does. Big Deal.
Maybe for hardcore gearheads, this is a cool program that lets them swap out phones every six months to fulfill their device ADD. For me, it’s a nightmare. You see, I support a family of 5, and I actually like the 2-year mobile contracts. That gives me an excuse to tell my kids they can’t get their new phone until the contract is up, at which point I choose the best technology I can get for FREE.
On the Verizon network, for example, you can currently get nn iPhone 4 for free with a new 2-year contract. That’s actually a great deal on pretty good technology when you are trying to supply your teenager with something cool. It works for both of us, the cost is not prohibitive and the teenage still gets to use an fully functional iPhone. It beats the days back when I grew up, when excitement was defined as a Sony Walkman.
In fact, the standard 2-year contract has worked so well that it’s defined my family’s standard upgrade protocol. Let me tell you how it works and you too could possibly use the methodology to manage your child’s device upgrade angst. This is what we do in my family, where we’re on one of those share anyting plans: When you turn 11, you get a basic phone (on your birthday — and it’s usually free!) Then, on your 13th birthday, your 2-year contract is up and you can upgrade to the best free smartphone available.
Did I mention that texts and data don’t really matter because the plan is share anything including unlimited texts?
I’m midway into the cycle with two kids on devices and one to go, and it’s working great! They’re happy and I’m happy. It keeps costs down. It’s the gold standard for device upgrade management. Long-live the two-year contract protocol!