High-street retailer Phones4U has unveiled a new mobile tariff that allows Brits to trade in their handset every six months for a newer model.
The JUMP (Just Upgrade My Phone) contract comes with a £3.99 per month premium, that’s added on top of the usual monthly cost, and ensures users can renew their contract every six months and at the same time obtaining a new device.
For example, if a consumer took out a £37.99 per month JUMP 18-month contract, they’d be paying £15 to the network and £22.99 (the cost of the handset split over the length of the contract) . If they opt to trade in the phone after six months, they’ll be allowed to knock the current value for the handset of the existing debit. So if a phone was valued at £175, it would leave £240 remaining on the contract. This can then be passed on to a brand new contract complete with new handset and equates to an extra £10 per month.
Phones4U said it will be possible to trade in up to three handsets in one go, potentially decreasing the remaining debt even further, although each device must have a minimum trade-in value of £100. Te retailer will also offer users help on backing up their data, photos, music and videos when trading in handsets.
“Technology is moving fast and innovative handsets are launching all the time on the market but to date there’s been a disconnect between the frequency of smartphone releases and the length of mobile phone contracts on offer,” Alistair Firth, Director of Customer Development at Phones 4u, told The Telegraph.
The tariff has already been trialled in 100 stores and now the retailer plans to roll the program out nationally by May this year.
However, Ernest Doku, tech expert at uSwitch.com, said the contract could work out expensive in the long run.
"Switching handsets mid-contract without fear of incurring penalties or any up-front fees will be welcomed by smartphone fans who want to own the best handsets as soon as they launch, but they will have to pay a premium for the privilege,” he said.
“Each upgrade places consumers into another rolling contract, with a higher monthly commitment to pay for the new phone. This can make overall handset costs higher than normal over the course of a 24-month JUMP deal.
Doku added that the deal will hopefully mark the start of more flexible contract options “as there are very few mobile phone customers who relish the prospect of using the same handset for two years."