Breakdown: T-Mobile's "JUMP! on Demand" Lease Program

T Mobile Jump on Demand

As many of you might have heard by now T-Mobile announced a new leasing program for a select number of devices during their Uncarrier Amped event this morning called “JUMP! on Demand“. The initial JUMP! program, announced two years ago, caters to those with a ravenous case of early adopter’s syndrome by giving them the option to upgrade their phone twice a year for an additional $10 fee on top of their monthly bill. If you can’t stand not being on the latest and greatest smartphone the JUMP! program was a compelling option; however, JUMP! on Demand, is a veritable early adopter’s heaven. At first glance it may seem too good to be true, which is why we are going to thoroughly breakdown the program and dispel any such fears.

Nowadays people upgrade so often that leasing, rather than outright buying, a smartphone actually makes a lot of sense. In the vein of car dealerships JUMP! on Demand is essentially a lease program. You sign an 18 month lease agreement for a particular device and pay a monthly fee based on its value, with zero down payment (more on that later); however, you can upgrade your device at any time, up to three times within a year, for no additional fees (except damage fees, more on that later). If you upgrade the 18 month term resets, and if you wait out the entire 18 month term you can either return the device, start a brand new lease, or buy out your current phone.

So, damage fees, sounds scary, right? Fortunately, “damage”, has been rigidly defined and does not include general wear and tear a device may experience throughout its lifetime. Whenever a leased device is returned, due to an upgrade or your term ending, T-Mobile staff go through a three point inspection; if the phone meets any three of these criteria you will be fined $250 per criteria: cracked screen, liquid damage, and failure to power on. Pretty simple, most of these mishaps would necessitate some sort of repair or replacement in the first place. If you know you are quite careless with your devices this plan may not be for you. That being said, if you don’t beat the heck out of your phone or drown it you’ll be in the clear (please, don’t beat or drown your phone, it is not nice).

Though T-Mobile claims that there is zero down payment for JUMP! on Demand this only applies to individuals who are “well-qualified”; if you have reliably made 12 consecutive monthly payments you fall into this category. If you do not you will have a “Capital Cost Reduction” fee, or, put simply, a down payment. The down payment varies from phone to phone based on its value, and once it is paid it reduces one’s overall monthly payment so that individuals who are not “well-qualified” pay exactly the same amount as those who are; in the end it really makes no difference. Another fee to consider is the “Purchase Option Price”, or ownership fee. It is the fee you will need to pay to buy out the device and own it, and reflects the devices value minus any down payment and monthly lease payments. If you have a $700 device and have paid $450 between your down payment and monthly payments the Purchase Option Price would be $250; you pay no more or less than the total value of the phone.

Existing T-Mobile customers can upgrade and sign up for JUMP! on Demand, though you will have to pay off any remaining EIP balance you may have with your current device. If you are a member of the first generation JUMP! program you can switch if you have had your most recent phone for at least six months; for those on the second generation JUMP! program you must have paid at least 50% of your EIP balance.

At launch the selection of devices available to JUMP! on Demand members is quite limited but will expand over time. Currently the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 4, and LG G4 can be had. This means you could start the program with a Galaxy S6, switch to the LG G4 mid-summer, then hop over to a Note 5 or new Moto X this fall when released (safe to bet these will be part of the program). That is a whole lot of smartphone goodness to cram into one year. Once next year rolls around you can wash, rinse, and repeat the whole process all over again next spring and ditch your Note 5 for a Galaxy S7. When you put it that way, JUMP! on Demand is a glorious proposition for tech enthusiasts and sufferers of early adopter’s syndrome alike.