Jul 16 AT 8:46 AM Nick Gray 30 Comments

T-Mobile JUMP! – breaking down the numbers


JUMP!, the latest T-mobile un-carrier move revealed this week, allows current T-Mobile customers to get up to two new devices in a 12 month period without hidden fees. For an additional $10 a month, T-Mobile customers can add JUMP! service to their line. While the service is mainly targeted towards those who want new devices, JUMP! also includes full insurance coverage, so you can upgrade to a new device if your current one if lost, stolen or accidentally dropped into the toilet.

We’ve broken down the numbers, so you can see what it’ll cost if you upgrade to the latest and greatest device every 6 or 12 months. In the scenarios below, we’re looking at month 13, so that those on the 6 month upgrade schedule would be on their third device while those on the 12 month upgrade schedule would be on their second.

At first glance, the T-Mobile JUMP! upgrade program seems like an incredible deal. You can purchase a new device whenever you want, you get insurance and it costs a whole lot less. But things aren’t that simple. While those who do not pay the $10 monthly JUMP! fee have to come up with quite a bit of extra cash to get new devices, they can recuperate a substantial amount by selling the devices they no longer use. T-Mobile allows costumers to keep phones if the balance is paid off. While it’s impossible to know how much a used device is worth after 6 months, we can assume the phone will be worth at least 50 percent of its original value.

  • 6 month upgrade with JUMP!: $659.97/year 
  • 6 month upgrade without JUMP!: $1259.97/year - $580 from selling two devices = $679.97
  • 12 month upgrade with JUMP!: $559.98/year 
  • 12 month upgrade without JUMP!: $679.98/year - $290 from selling one device = $389.98

While the 6 month upgrade numbers show the JUMP! option coming in $20 cheaper than the standard option, which requires you to sell your old device, keep in mind that the numbers are based on the two devices retaining 50 percent of their value over 6 months. In the real world, the 14-month-old used Samsung Galaxy S III is still selling for $330, 55 percent of its original value.

There are only two reasons to take advantage of T-Mobile’s new JUMP! upgrade plan:

  1. You like the security of having an insurance plan for your device.
  2. You always buy the best phone, you never sell your old phone, and you plan to upgrade your phone every 6-12 months.

It’s that simple. Technically, there’s no value in the service, but it may be appealing to those who buy new phones and simply throw their old device in a desk drawer and forget about it. Keep in mind, the service completely loses value after month 15 if you don’t upgrade to a new device. Yes, you still have peace of mind that you’re phone is insured, but we all know that insurance is the biggest scam in the wireless industry.

Breaking down the numbers:

HTC One cost of ownership

  • 6 months payment plan: $99.99 down payment, $120 monthly payment ($20/mo x 6 months) = $219.99 ($360 remaining balance)
  • 6 months payment plan + JUMP: $99.99 down payment, $60 monthly JUMP payment ($10/mo x 6 months), $120 monthly payment ($20/mo x 6 months) = $279.99 ($360 remaining balance)
  • 12 months payment plan: $99.99 down payment, $240 monthly payment ($20/mo x 12 months) = $339.99 ($240 remaining balance)
  • 12 months payment plan + JUMP: $99.99 down payment, $120 monthly JUMP payment ($10/mo x 12 months), $240 monthly payment ($20/mo x 12 months), $99.99 phone upgrade = $459.99 ($240 remaining balance)

HTC One cost of ownership + new phone upgrade

  • 6 months payment plan: $99.99 down payment, $120 monthly payment ($20/mo x 6 months), $99.99 phone upgrade = $319.98 ($360 remaining balance)
  • 6 months payment plan + JUMP: $99.99 down payment, $60 monthly JUMP payment ($10/mo x 6 months), $120 monthly payment ($20/mo x 6 months), $99.99 phone upgrade = $379.98 ($360 remaining balance)
  • 12 months payment plan: $99.99 down payment, $240 monthly payment ($20/mo x 12 months), $99.99 phone upgrade = $439.98 ($240 remaining balance)
  • 12 months payment plan + JUMP: $99.99 down payment, $120 monthly JUMP payment ($10/mo x 12 months), $240 monthly payment ($20/mo x 12 months), $99.99 phone upgrade = $559.98 ($240 remaining balance)
Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

    Android phones retain about 70% of their value after 6 months based on http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/08/iphone-android-resale-value/ .

    Based on that, even the 6 month option would suggest Jump is a bad deal, assuming someone can stomach a $650 out of pocket payment.

    • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

      I still think that, if I’m one who *wants* to have insurance, then it can be a good deal. Not that I want insurance nor is the plan right for me. I just think there’s a few real scenarios where the plan does make a lot of sense for some people. Unfortunately, it’s not for most like we had all hoped. :-(

      • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

        yeah, as i said on twitter, insurance makes it more complicated, because there are deductibles you have to pay. every person needs to do the math for themselves, but for someone who never breaks their phone, it makes much more sense (cents?) to buy outright.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    Sounds like this is a program that, if you get a new phone every 6 months *and* you want insurance *and* you want to be lazy and not deal with selling/shipping off a phone on Swappa/eBay/Craigslist, then this is a good plan.

    Also sounds like if you don’t mind putting in a little effort and sometimes keep a phone for more than 6 months, or if you ever buy a Nexus (they retain 90% of their value after 12 months, it seems), then this plan is most certainly not worth it.

    I guess it depends on what value you see in the plan. I don’t see enough value in it for myself at all. That said, it’s still fascinating!

    • Paul

      The Nexus is an exception to the rule. But if you’re like me and get bored easily and also like to experiment with the latest and greatest, why not? Dealing with eBay and Craigslist is a pain, trust me, that’s how I’ve been doing things and I’ve sold over 20 phones this way. Pretending you’re a new customer every 6 months is great. And honestly, you don’t have to do it at 6 months. If you absolutely love your phone, hold onto it for a while longer. I have the Note 2 and when the S4 came out, I didn’t see the need to upgrade, my Note 2 is kicking rear so I passed on the S4, but the Note 3 is around the corner so I’d upgrade to that. Maybe the S5 will be so great I’ll get that, or maybe HTC or Sony comes out with something killer, so I’ll switch to that. It gives me options. I don’t HAVE to upgrade, but if a killer phone comes out next month, I’ll just smile and say “See you soon”

    • ihatefanboys

      Not wanting to go through the hassle of selling a phone on whatever site is not being “lazy” its a hassle. If I can hand over a phone to my carrier to get a new one its easier.

      • Dave

        Exactly. I’ve sold like 5 phones on various sites like Swappa, Ebay, and using Glyde to sell my Nexus 7 .

  • Paul

    It’s strange, but I’ve run the numbers myself and JUMP seems like an awesome deal. I do love having the latest and greatest and would upgrade 6-8 month intervals if possible. 1 year is the absolute max. But guess what will happen in ~6 months? T-Mobile will have an influx of used HTC One’s and Galaxy S4′s, they’ll refurbish them and sell them again but at a much cheaper price, like maybe 50% off ($50 down and $10/month). Then 6 months after that they’d have more refurbished and cheaper (but still awesome) phones. So there will be the trailblazers like me riding on the absolute best and fastest device in the front, and there will be the value seekers who will get my phone when I’m done with it at half the price. Galaxy S4, then a Note 3, then a S5, then I’m bored with Samsung and go with HTC for a while then I try out Sony then I go back to Samsung, etc. I get the play with the best phone. Lease’s work for car’s, why not phones. Titanium Backup sales just sored :-)

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      Since T-Mobile would only be recuperating $220 on an HTC One after 6 months, it’s highly doubtful that they will be selling refurbished devices at 50% of what a new device costs. Since the HTC One is a $580 device, T-Mobile would lose quite a bit of money if they sold the refurbished phone for $290. And that’s before the additional cost of cleaning up the device, re-certifying it and repackaging it for sale.

      just like a car dealership, T-Mobile will probably make more money selling you a refurbished phone than it will selling you a new one. A refurbished HTC One will probably be listed at $450 after 6 months and $350 after 12.

    • philli 224

      and what real value do you get from this we get the same features on our older phone as you get on your latest and greatest what are you doing with it are you flying around the world on your phone sounds like you’re being pimped to me. don’t get me wrong it sounds intriguing and I thought about it myself but I have to see the real value first.

  • Cory

    I wouldn’t call insurance the “biggest scam in the wireless industry” It is far more valuable than the extra protection best buy offers you on a TV.

    My wife is clumsy as hell, if she doesn’t drop and smash her phone once a year she will lose it twice instead.

    I myself have never broken, or lost my phone, but I also always use a case. It would be really nice to be able to use a phone naked and not have to worry about dropping a 700 dollar phone everytime I touch it.

    Now, if you are responsible, careful, use a case/protector, and have a good track record, then yeah insurance would probably be a net loss for you…but that doesn’t make it a scam.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      since when are TVs in the wireless industry? ;)

      • Cory

        I don’t want to be rude, but it was an obvious comparison of an actual insurance scam vs one that can be very useful for the right person, like someone who does a lot of fishing, or works in construction.

        So, instead of trying to find flaws in the way I stated my argument why don’t you instead decide to be more useful to the society and try and find actual flaws in the logic of my argument.

        • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

          While insurance does make sense for a select number of consumers, there have been multiple reports over the years which show that the vast majority of people who have phone insurance plans pay a lot more than what they would if they simply purchased new devices.

          Phone insurance deductibles range from $100-200 depending on the service provider and you rarely (if even) get a new device. The new T-Mobile JUMP! plan allows you to get any new or refurbished phone you want, but that’s not the case with Verizon, Sprint or AT&T. As I said in the post, T-Mobile JUMP! is worth the money if you need/want insurance on your device, but that doesn’t change the fact that insurance plans on other service providers is a waste of money for the majority of consumers.

          • Cory

            I don’t think anyone doubts that. It simply buys peace of mind. Also, I have never minded refurbs. There are actually a few situations where a refurb could be better than a new device.

            My strategy has always been to carry insurance on a phone for the first 4-6 months, because after that time I could probably just buy a used phone for about what it would cost to pay the deductable and cover the monthly premiums.

  • Jason D

    Think of this as a lease. You pay for what you use then turn it in and you have flexibility of the return date. You pay more then buying outright, but get more options. The insurance covers you for dents and dings, and for loss. After all, we pay insurance for our cars, and hardly ever use it at all. I’ll be upgrading to the latest and greatest in 6 months!

  • JPB

    I’ve yet to get rid of any of my smartphones. They make great spares, not to mention good bedside/deskside clocks, music players and backup map devices.

    • Thriller87

      I generally only keep one back up phone.

  • lsudigitalguy

    Interesting article. When I first heard about JUMP, I was optimistic also. After doing the numbers, it made sense for certain people. A payment plan is typically initial fee ($100 or so) plus $20/month and then you add the $10 JUMP fee, which brings your reoccuring monthly to $30 + Initial fee, So you are renting a phone for $30/month x 6 months = $180. You add the initial fee of $100 or so and you are around $280+ typically. So in essence, you are renting your phone for $300 or so for 6 months, which is “around” how much it is worth. This puts into in-line with the leasing-a-car model. Everyone knows it is not the best consumer financial model, but if you like to change cars alot, it makes sense. The best financial car model would be to drive it till it breaks. Honestly, for me the big thing would be software updates. The latest phones either come with or get upgraded first to the latest Android build.

    Monetarily, it not that bad and not that great. Having a 2 year old phone stuck on Gingerbread makes it that much more valuable. lol

    I run with Nexus devices and at $350 for a N4, you can’t beat it Tmo. Keep in mind though, going into this program, they almost seem to lock you into a contract. Your last device, should you decide to leave for another carrier, will have the full 2 year payment plan. As the article demonstrates, the plan becomes not worth it at month 15. I am not sure if they will let you get out of JUMP at anytime during your payment plans.

    I haven’t read all the details on the insurance so I won’t comment on that. All I see is upgrade every 6 months with free insurance, but what do I pay and what do I get if I break my phone at month 3?

  • Tapan Shah

    After looking at AT&T’s Next(crap) plans, T-mobile JUMP is an amazing deal. I would still sell the phone on open market, though.

  • donger

    Very interesting article.

  • Brandi

    Talked to T-mobile today after arguing for almost an hour that NO…..you actually WOULD have to pay to break a contract and they actually ARE locking you into a contract I found out that you can go to Costco when you are typically due for an upgrade and stay on your same deal. For anyone looking into this JUMP option I would highly suggest you read the fine print….its so insulting to think that T-mobile treats the customer base like they really are this stupid. Basically you are not signing a contract and you can purchase a phone at any time and pay only 10.00 extra per month. What they don’t tell you is that you are paying close to 700.00 for that phone (you can currently purchase at Costco for 149.99 as an existing tmobile customer) and you cant terminate your Tmobile service until ALL of the 700.00 is paid. So imagine if the average consumer doesn’t read the fine print and actually does what tmobile suggest and gets two phones per year. You will be paying 1400.00 to tmobile to get out of your non contract contract!

    • Erika

      false. when you decide to get a new phone with the JUMP! feature you actually give back your phone that you purchased 6 months ago and it wipes out the installments you were paying on your bill which is around $480 on the highest tiered phone. So no its not 1400. Also, with Costco though you may be getting a phone for $150 your bill is also much higher. a basic family plan, no annual contract, at Tmobile is $90. the same thing at a costco is 130 or something. so this plan does actually make more sense even though youre puchasing your phone out right.

    • Kat

      Unfortunately Costco no longer has contracts for T-Mobile. A sad sad day for T-Mobile long time customers. I typically get a new phone at the 2 year mark. I am happy getting the newest, latest & greatest at that point then waiting my 2 years for the latest & greatest then. We have 4 phone lines & pay $150 a month (3 with data plans). I have never paid more than $99 to upgrade my phone at the 2 year point. It would be financially silly for me to pay another $30 per month per phone just to have the privilege of upgrading at 6 or 12 months.
      Please do the math before you fall into the Jump trap.

  • Sharee

    Except if you read the fine print, it says that you have to turn in your current phone to get a new one. So you wouldn’t be able to sell the one you had.

  • Gavin

    The math in this article is ridiculous. Showing the cost with JUMP over 6 and 12 months as if the phone was paid off in that period of time. Which is missing the entire point of the program. You don’t eve pay off the phone, you give it back to T-Mobile and they wipe the slate clean, the rest of the payments on that phone are eliminated.

    The cost of JUMP over 6 months as compared to a plan without JUMP is only $60 for those that wouldn’t have insurance on their phone (for those that do have insurance the cost is only $12 over 6 months as insurance is $8 a month already). The cost is only $120 more over 12 months (or $24 more over that period compared to someone that has insurance.

    Even if don’t have insurance and you sell your phone for 50% of what it costs JUMP is still cheaper.

    If you like to get a new top end ($600 range) phone every in less than 14 months it is a no brainer.

    If you do have insurance it is a no brainer (as it is only $2 a month more with a heck of a lot more benefit).

    If you don’t have insurance and you lose your phone or something happens it is a no brainer too, but it is too late.

    The ONLY people (that buy $600+ phones) it doesn’t make sense for if for people that tend to keep their phone for 15 or more months and risk it without buying insurance. For me I’d rather just pay the extra $2 a month over what I would pay with insurance if I was buying top end devices every 12-18 months.

  • Kiya Lee

    I find it ridiculous that people still don’t get the concept of phone insurance, but are willing to pay out $1000/year to their car insurance and have never filed a claim.

    Yes, phone insurance seems expensive @$8/month (or $100/year) on a device that is $600, plus the $150 deductible is a shock; if you’ve ever had a phone lost, stolen, or broken within your 2 year upgrade window, that’s so much worse. Someone on Sprint (insurance is $10/month; deductible $100) has their phone for 9 months and it gets dropped when they’re getting into their car, they have paid $90 in insurance, and $100 deductible, and they have a “new” (typically refurbished) $600 phone for only $200. Or, they make it 18 months, and after playing candy crush on the toilet in the bar, they leave it on the toilet paper holder. They’ve paid $180 into insurance, and will pay $100 deductible, so for $280, they’ll get a replacement $600 phone (which is now probably worth closer to $350), instead of having to shell out $600 when they’re just 6 months away from a $100 upgrade.

    Lets say they’re on tmobile, though, using financing, same scenarios. They’ve only paid off $225 of their $600 in the 9 months, and they’ve paid out an extra $75 in insurance, they pay $150 to get a new/replacement phone (on jump that number would be $90 in insurance), so they’re saving $150 (and in the case of Jump can get a new device but have paid extra $15). Tmobile makes more sense to live on the edge w/o insurance, but you don’t hit a break even point until 14 months, so unless you’re very careful with your phone, isn’t it worth the extra $50 over 2 years for a little piece of mind. And if its Jump, you get 13 months to lose or replace your phone before it becomes an issue.

    Another option, if you don’t want insurance and you’ve dropped/broken/lost your phone, you can buy a refurbished, older model phone from most stores. They’re typically available for $50-100, I’ve used it when I was 3 months away from an upgrade with ATT and didn’t want to pay out the $150 for replacing my phone, got a crappy iphone 3gs for $50

  • scott Wittig

    I was going to use jump today, however, there is a cost to consider as I found out. 1.you have to pay the tax on new phone about $50 for me and then I need a new case and sxreen protection about 35 plus the screen protector was 29.99. So, after paying 120.00 for insurance\jump now I need at least, yet another $100. People whu trade every 6 months must have money to burn

  • The calculations are flawed

    You can’t sell the phone until it is paid off and you can’t upgrade before 18 months. After 18 months I doubt the phone is worth 50%. Sure you can upgrade before but you need to pay balance of the phone.

    JUMP allows you to upgrade every 6 months. In addition you get insurance in case you lose it or is stolen. Only disadvantage really is that you are essentially always leasing a phone.

  • Rita

    I have a question: I recently lost my phone and was given the option to have a replacement sent to me or to upgrade my phone using JUMP! Both options had a $175 deductible that I have to pay. My question is, If I use JUMP! to just get a brand new phone instead of a replacement, would I have to pay $175 PLUS another down payment on new phone? Helpful answers are greatly appreciated.