By ANICK JESDANUNAP Technology Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - T-Mobile will let people upgrade phones more quickly for a $10 monthly fee, the company said Wednesday.
With the new Jump plan, a customer will be able to get a new phone if the old one malfunctions or gets lost, or even if there's a better phone that comes out. The plan lets customers upgrade up to twice a year. Rivals typically allow upgrades after about two years.
"Upgrade when you want, not when you're told," T-Mobile says in its new television commercials.
The plan costs only a few dollars more than typical phone insurance plans, T-Mobile said. But under Jump, customers will still have to pay a deductible of up to $170 if a phone is lost, doesn't work, has water damage or has a cracked screen.
And customers who upgrade phones will still have to pay the usual price, typically $100 up front and $20 a month for two years. What Jump does is waive any remaining payments when someone decides to upgrade because a newer phone with better features is out. The customer does not get a refund on what was already paid. Think of it as insurance against phone envy.
T-Mobile also launched a high-speed 4G LTE network in more than 100 markets nationwide. LTE brings greater data speeds for tasks such as streaming video and gaming. T-Mobile had lagged other carriers, but it says it now covers nearly three-quarters of the nation's top 100 markets. The enhancement was aided by T-Mobile's combination with MetroPCS earlier this year, which gave T-Mobile more airwave rights.
T-Mobile also introduced new family plans without credit checks and announced the availability of the Sony Xperia Z, a phone that sports a high-resolution display and water resistance.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.