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T-Mobile Now Lets You Upgrade Your Phone Three Times a Year

T-Mobile is expanding the number of times its customers can upgrade their phones under a new leasing program aimed at drawing away subscribers from other carriers. Starting June 28, the Jump OnDemand program will let the carrier's customers upgrade their smartphones up to three times a year.

The new program does away with the $10 monthly fee subscribers pay under T-Mobile's Jump installment plans. Instead, JumpOnDemand will feature monthly payments to lease the phone. T-Mobile CEO John Legere described the program as a combination of device leasing and on-demand upgrades in a typically NSFW video post introducing JumpOnDemand.

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Jump OnDemand is not without some restrictions. Whereas most phones carried by T-Mobile are eligible for upgrades through the original Jump program, Jump OnDemand is limited to what the carrier calls its "latest T-Mobile superphones." That means such newer devices as Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Samsung's Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and Note 4, and LG's G4. On the bright side, monthly lease payments under Jump OnDemand are slightly lower for those phones than what you pay under the Jump installment plan, and that's before dropping the $10 fee. Then again, that $10 Jump fee also included insurance coverage; Jump OnDemand participants can opt to pay $8 a month to insure their hardware.

The current Jump program will remain in place for T-Mobile subscribers who want to buy their phone via monthly payments. Current Jump customers will be able to switch to Jump OnDemand with their next phone upgrade, and after they've paid off their current device, T-Mobile says.

T-Mobile introduced Jump 2 years ago and watched as other carriers quickly adopted early upgrade plans of their own. Jump OnDemand is T-Mobile's attempt to further burnish its "Uncarrier" reputation as it distinguishes its early-upgrade offerings from its rivals. The earliest you can upgrade under AT&T's Next program is 12 months, for example, while Verizon's Edge program allows upgrades at any time but only if you pay off 100 percent of your current smartphone.

T-Mobile's Jump OnDemand announcement marks the first in what the carrier is promising will be several weeks' worth of changes and enhancements to the Uncarrier promotions it's rolled out in recent years. T-Mobile remains the fourth largest wireless carrier in terms of subscribers, and it views programs like Jump OnDemand as essential to helping it gain on Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.

Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.