T-Mobile's new iPhone promo solves the “buy now or wait” dilemma

Jump On Demand subscribers can buy a new iPhone now and upgrade this fall with no change in their monthly bill.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have raised cameras.
Credit: Jason Snell

If you're debating whether to buy an iPhone 6 now or wait for the inevitable hardware refresh this fall, T-Mobile is trying to make that decision a lot easier.

The carrier is extending the $15 per month promotional pricing for its Jump On Demand program, which lets users upgrade to a new phone up to three times per year. T-Mobile customers who buy an iPhone 6 by September 7 can get the next iPhone at no extra cost when they upgrade by the end of this year. (The larger iPhone 6 Plus costs $19 per month.)

T-Mobile is also adding Apple Music to its “Music Freedom” lineup, letting users stream as much as they want without it counting toward their 4G LTE data allotment. Music Freedom now supports 33 streaming apps, and T-Mobile says Apple Music has been the most-requested addition as of late.

Why this matters: Anyone who serves as the resident tech expert for friends and family knows that “iPhone Upgrade Oracle” is part of the job description. And while we can safely assume a new iPhone is coming within the next few months, telling people whether to pull the trigger now is always a tough judgment call. T-Mobile customers won't have to stress about it anymore, provided they're okay with Jump On Demand's particular traps.

Jump On Demand explained

Jump On Demand is a slight return to the contract-based smartphone plans of yesteryear. Subscribers get a new phone for no money down, but pay a monthly hardware fee plus the cost of wireless service. With the promotional pricing, iPhone users pay $15 per month for the hardware, plus service charges that start at $50 per month for individual users. Users can also upgrade to a new phone up to three times per year at no extra cost.

Assuming you stick with T-Mobile and routinely upgrade your phone (while keeping it in good condition), Jump On Demand is a good deal. But canceling Jump On Demand or leaving T-Mobile altogether has a price: At that point, you're on the hook for the full price of the phone, minus any monthly hardware payments you've already made.

When T- Mobile announced Jump On Demand last month, it said the $15 per month pricing was a limited-time deal, but didn't say when the promotion would end or what the monthly price would become. Subscribers who buy a new iPhone 6 won't have to worry, as T-Mobile will lock in the current price indefinitely.

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