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back to article T-Mobile to let US customers swap phones twice a year

In its latest challenge to the two-year contracts of its competitors, US wireless carrier T-Mobile has announced a new plan that allows customers to upgrade their handsets to new models as often as twice a year. "At some point, big wireless companies made a decision for you that you should have to wait two years to get a new …

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Wow

At a time when every company and public figure is paying lip service to "the environment" and "carbon" and "footprints", this kind of indulgence seems a bit wasteful...

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Re: Wow

Is that a joke I'm just not getting? What in indulgent about this? It actually seems like it will make used phones more accessible through whatever they're going to do with them.

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Re: Wow

I agree totally, I would want phones to get sturdier and longer lasting, not replaced even more often!

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Happy

Re: Wow

The phones will be sold to new customers at a discount as refurbished phones.

T-Mobile has the best reception (never a dropped call) and the best customer service.

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Go

Re: Wow

Even though man-made global warming is a liberal hoax intended to raise energy taxes, the idea of reducing our solid waste footprint is real. And I think T-Mobile has the right idea here. Their more affluent customers will replace their phones more often, and the used phones will fall into the hands of people who can't afford to spend $500 or more on a phone. They'll now get used smartphones instead of new featurephones, and T-Mobile will have more data customers.

AT&T being forced to bail out of their acquisition of T-Mobile was the best thing that ever happened to T-Mobile. The cost of that fail was $4 billion plus a bunch of spectrum -- resources that T-Mobile put to good use expanding their network and becoming a proper LTE player. Their coverage is good and they're still the best value out there.

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I just think of the old articles which said a used phone is dirtier than a bag of poo or something...

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Holmes

Doesn't that depend what you use them for?

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I'm a 2 year contract customer of T-Mobile UNFORTUNATELY. This carrier has little or no signal on many parts of Rhode Island. I was in a moving traffic jam on I 95 and wanting to call to say I would be late. The phone did not have any signal reception at all on many places of the slow moving traffic. I had to use my daughter's pre-paid Verizon phone to make a call when I had the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S3 with updated Android operating system. What a frustrating experience I had.

I called T-Mobile to complain and they told me to use WiFi calling. What a non-sense ! Why would I want to pay T-Mobile if I'm using some joe, dow or clow's WiFi service.

If T-Mobile really wants customers they need to improve the full duplex signal transmission and signal loss wherever this carrier has signal. They were to supply signal boosters but I was told that the supplier backed off contract. Hope T-Mobile back out 2 year contract with me as I don't want some coffee shop dependent or restaurant friendly phone. I want a mobile phone which works like a mobile phone like they say it is.

Geee... What is this T-Mobile 4G !

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Angel

Mobile makers will be so happy

Finally no need for these pesky firmware updates any more...

They can just concentrate on sales and forget about service - like they always wanted to.

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This will put more refurbished phones into deployment, but will they send them to their Metro PCS division? If I were wanting to swap out my phone, it would not be for an older generation refurbished phone. It would be for a new model of phone that was just released. I have to wonder what the rules for this.

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"This will put more refurbished phones into deployment, but will they send them to their Metro PCS division? "

I'd guess that they'll sell the more attractive ones into developed markets as "refurbished" (meaning "we wiped it on our trousers and maybe put it in a new box"), and any excess will be shipped to developing markets where few people could afford the latest and best.

But seems to me there's a crucial problem here, that there don't seem to me to be even two compelling phone launches every year, unless you're willing to tart between IOS, Android, WP, BB10 and between Apple, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, LG, Sony, and Blackberry, pursuing whatever is new. I know a few ADHD types do this already, but I can't see the appeal for anybody with a life, and I would guess this is more of a headline grabbing opportunity than a remarkable new proposition?

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ARPM

This is nothing more than a ploy to increase the Average Revenue Per Month from customers.

The mobile market is broken, and we customers are implicit in that. By expecting handset subsidies we allow the phone manufacturers and the wireless carriers to obfuscate the market and impose draconian terms (such as the 24-month contract).

If we were collectively more mature about it we'd disaggregate the process of buying the phone and the airtime, and be able to make our own choices on both when it suited us.

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I worked out that it's cheaper to buy a phone outright and use a SIM-only deal. That way my phone is not locked to a carrier.

I seem to upgrade phone every four years, can't see the point of doing it more often.

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Equipment Installment Program ?

Regardless of stupid use of language, T Mobile's scheme further demonstrates the complete greed and irresponsibility of the telcos. Deploy confusion-marketing tariffs with more texts or speech than the customer can ever use. Persuade the gullible that their new $500 phone is somehow "free". Increase tariffs during the course of ridiculously long contracts. Encourage users to trade in after 6 months phones that should last a good five years, lock phones so they can't be re-used so easily.

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Seems reasonable but do people really live with cracked screens for up to two years? From my anecdotal evidence from regularly seeing people on the Tube with really busted screens, the answer would be 'yes'.

I always wonder what's wrong with these people...if they can afford an iPhone they can afford to get it repaired or replaced - personally a barely usable cracked screen would drive me nuts! And don't get me on to the "I got this phone but really don't like it and it's 18 months until my upgrade" whingers. If you don't like it, then why don't you sell the phone and buy something you do like? I made the mistake of suggesting this once, the reply was was "How would I do that?". Erm...?

So yeah, this scheme would probably work for these people. I'm obviously the odd one out.

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Anonymous Coward

subsidies schmubsidies

T-Mobile might be on to something here... after all, most customers are gullible. They prefer low monthly payments without considering the total cost.

I swap phones regularly, partly because of personal interest in new technology, partly because of the job : people expect that I'm the guy they need to talk to if they want to know an opinion of the latest and greatest shiny. In the average year I get 3 new "smart" phones of the flagship variety. MO : buy full price unlocked, buy new one after a couple of months and sell the "old" one at 80% of the RRP. Subscription : 100 texts and data a month, all other things are post paid. If I travel abroad, I enable a roaming data subscription for the time I am abroad and disable it when I get back.

I don't even understand why people would want to buy subsidized phones. Save money, buy it when you have enough. It's yours to use or sell as you see fit, no contract needed and you can switch telco's easily.

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There goes the planet

Oh joy. Another provider caters for the most vacuous of the vacuous; the vainest of the vain, who are so short on attention span that they simply must have the latest 'must have' shiny thing within milliseconds of it being announced simply because it's so fashionable darling.

So now mobile phones are falling into the 'disposable commodity' category instead of being functional and useful, with a life-span that only ends when they are beyond repair or are genuinely based on redundant technology.

I give up. I'm going to launch my 'perpetual pet' company where you can have a puppy or a kitten which you simply return for a replacement every six months, so they stay forever cute and cuddly. Just don't ask what we do with the old ones..... but we will have some behind-the-scenes deals with glue facories, pie shops, luxury coat and handbag manufacurers etc etc. What the hell - give the consumer exactly what they want, regardless of the true cost!!!!

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Good for ditching a phone you don't want.

This plan will be good for people stuck with a phone they don't want. For example, anyone who bought into the hype and is stuck with an iPhone will now be able to upgrade to a proper Android without having to wait out the contract.

The truth is, however, T-Mobile has been offering this type of plan for a long time. I paid cash for my Samsung GS2 and they were happy to sign me on to a no-contract plan.

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It's just $2 more than regular insurance a month.

It really is a cheap way to upgrade IF you carry insurance on your smart phone.

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