Sprint abandons early upgrade program


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Sprint has ditched a phone plan that let customers upgrade their handset midway through their contract. The One Up plan was only available for four months before the unexpected withdrawal.

One Up was the Sprint answer to the other major carriers all adopting a model that took the “standard” deal of a two year commitment without an up-front payment, but added in an upgrade at the one year mark.

Under the Sprint version, you’d pay the full (unsubsidized) cost of the original handset, but it would be spread over the 24 months of the contract. The only up-front payment was the tax on the handset purchase. As well as the monthly purchase repayment, customers paid a monthly service charge, though unlike similar packages from rival carriers, One Up had a $15 discount on the standard monthly rates.

The deal wasn’t amazing value, with Consumerist calculating that an average customer would wind up paying a total of $89 extra over two years compared with a standard Sprint plan, so it really depended on whether you considered that a fair price to have a later model phone during the second year.

Sprint has now retired the plan to new customers but has yet to explain why it has done so. Existing customers will continue getting the $15 discount for the duration of their plan.

Sprint is suggesting customers instead look at its new (and hideously-named) Framily plans, which offer increasing discounts depending on how many family members or friends you can get to sign up alongside you. Those plans also offer a mid-term upgrade, but only if you commit to a $20 monthly charge for unlimited data.

Throw in the fact that you no longer get the $15 service charge discount and initial number-crunching suggests that if you want the upgrade, then overall the Framily plan only works out as better value than One Up if you can put together a group of around half a dozen people.





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