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Phones 4u launching JUMP contracts: upgrade to a new phone every 6 months

Phones 4u has just announced a bold, potentially game-changing new type of contract called JUMP. Short for ‘Just Upgrade My Phone,’ the idea of JUMP is that you take out a long-term contract which gives you a set amount of voice, messages and data as normal, but you get the flexibility to switch to a new phone every six months, provided that you keep each phone in good nick.

This is pretty amazing, we think you’ll agree. If for example you’d got hold of the HTC Sensation but fancied getting the Sensation XE or Sensation XL on a JUMP contract, you’d have been able to make that leap.

iPhone owners would also be able to break the cursed upgrade cycle that often sees them skipping one generation of iPhones due to the cursed 18-24 month contract lock-ins.

The cost for such freedom and flexibility is an extra cost which, Phones 4u says works out at an extra £2.99 or £3.99 a month on average.

In the example Phones 4u has given in its press release, you’d pick up a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S2 or Galaxy Nexus on a £35 a month contract and pay the £2.99 extra to get the JUMP flexibility, taking it up to £37.99 a month.

You’d be committed to a 24 month contract, during which time you’d be able to get a new phone every six months.

It’s worth noting that as you jump, you automatically opt in to a new 24 month JUMP contract, resetting the clock, so to speak.

It’s also worth noting that the value of your old handset counts towards whichever new phone you’re getting. This is where things start to get a little more interesting – and confusing.


Two contracts for the price of one

In a nutshell, you’ve got two contracts you’re paying for with Phones 4u JUMP. Your minutes, messages, data from Orange, Vodafone etc, and the JUMP contract itself.

Using the example given above, a JUMP contract would break down like so:

24 month Network contract: £15.00 a month

24 month Phones 4u JUMP contract: £22.99 a month

Total: £37.99 a month

With Phones 4u JUMP you’ve got a ‘balance’ of 24 months worth of £22.99 to clear, or in other words, £551.76.

The amount left on your balance when you want to jump after 6 months (or whenever) determines the cost of your new monthly commitment.

In the examples we’ve been given Phones 4u looks at a price plan for an iPhone 4S with £20 worth of minutes, messages and data etc:

JUMP to an iPhone 4S after 6 months:

Balance outstanding on JUMP
= 18 months @ £22.99 £413.82
Trade in value of old handset £175.00

Balance remaining £238.82

Split over new 24 month JUMP contract £9.95
(No need to pay upfront)

Monthly cost of iPhone 4s on JUMP service agreement £28.49
+ £9.95 over 24months

Total new JUMP cost £38.44

Plus airtime (dependent on airtime package chosen) £20.00

New monthly price plan £58.44

JUMP to an iPhone 4S after 6 months:

Balance outstanding on JUMP

= 12months @ £22.99 £275.88
Trade in value of old handset £150.00

Balance remaining £125.88

Split over new JUMP contract (per month) £5.25
(No need to pay upfront)

Monthly cost of iPhone 4s on JUMP service agreement £28.49
+ £5.25 over 24months

Total new JUMP cost £33.74

Plus airtime (dependent on airtime package chosen) £20.00

New monthly commitment £53.74

Trade-in old phones for extra credit

It’s worth noting that when you trade in your old phone, you can also trade in an extra 2 phones each time you jump. So the £175/£150 discount figures given above could potentially be increased, which would then have a knock down effect on how much you’d pay per month.

In terms of the condition of the phones you trade in, Phones 4u will accept anything that’s in good working order. Cosmetic wear and tear won’t stop you from earning a discount, which is set at a minimum of £100 for old phones.

Phones 4u says that the overall trade in price “will be based on the handset turning on, not being water damaged the screen not being cracked and having its battery”, so if it’s any of those things then you might not be eligible for trade in money.

The press release is also implicit in that the trade-in discount only applies to phones that you’ve acquired within a JUMP contract – so if you had a Nokia N8 from a couple of years ago that was in mint condition, then you might not be able to trade this is in. We’ve asked about this and are waiting to hear back.


What about rooted Android phones?

We’ve asked about whether or not this applies to Android phones which have been rooted. Rooting your Android phone generally voids your warranty. But if you ‘rooted back’ to factory settings we imagine you’d be OK so long as the phone was in as-new working order. We are waiting for an official line on this, so don’t take this as gospel yet.

We understand that the new JUMP offering to be available in all of Phones 4u’s 586 UK stores and via Phones 4u online. We’ve not seen any activity on the Phones 4u site yet but we’ll keep refreshing for changes.

Phones 4u tell us that you won’t be able to place any order for JUMP contracts over the telesales numbers at least until May this year.

Alistair Firth Phones 4u said in a statement: “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.

We want to give our customers the freedom to own the very latest smartphones like the iPhone 4S without having to wait 18-24 months for an upgrade. The idea for JUMP was born out of research we conducted that revealed people were frustrated by the inability to upgrade their handsets sooner.”

Intrigued? We think this will definitely be of interest to Apple fans who’ll want nothing but a Jesus Phone an iPhone as well as fans of high-end Android phones who might want to get the next Nexus device and then jump to the HTC Edge or Samsung Galaxy S3 once they’re available.

As soon as we hear back on those points on trade-ins and rooted Android phones we’ll update this piece.

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