Play it again, Sprint. Now that T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have all started accelerated upgrade programs with monthly charges (Jump, NEXT, and EDGE, respectively), Sprint wants in on the action. According to some leaked screenshots posted by Cnet, the last of the "Big Four" American carriers is planning a similar program called One Up. The plan has not been confirmed by Sprint, but the screenshot below looks genuine.


Stop me if you've heard this before: under the One Up plan, customers would pay no money down and spread the cost of a new phone over 24 monthly payments added on to their regular phone bill. After one year of payments, the customer is eligible to trade in his or her phone in "good condition" for a new model and begin the great circle of interest-free financing again. However, One Up offers a $15 discount on the plan itself, so the popular Unlimited Everything plan becomes $65 a month instead of $80. Compared to the other upgrade plans it's not that bad a deal. You could take the view that a $600 phone will cost $240 over the course of a two-year contract with an upgrade option after a year, assuming that you wanted Sprint service in the first place. T-Mobile's Jump actually adds a $10 monthly service charge, which compares poorly to Sprint's $15 discount.

Make no mistake: the One Up plan, like its alternatives on other carriers, is a thinly-veiled attempt to keep customers engaged with Sprint service by tempting them with more frequent hardware upgrades. You're still better-served by buying a phone outright if possible and selling it via your aftermarket of choice when you're ready to upgrade. But compared to the other plans (especially Verizon's EDGE), it could be a lot worse. According to Cnet's report, the One Up program is scheduled to launch on September 20th. It will be available for new customers or contract customers who've been on their plans for a year or more.

Source: Cnet

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • ProductFRED

    You're still paying for sub-dial up speed data and being tied to a CDMA carrier that doesn't let you bring your device...

    • Calvin Jed Serrano

      I actually just bought an unlocked Sprint GS4 today and put it into my number for free at the Sprint store

      • mechapathy

        You didn't buy an unlocked phone. You bought an off-contract phone. Unlocked implies it has the capability to function on multiple networks.

        • Calvin Jed Serrano

          Actually, Every new Sprint phone is technically unlocked then. If you're going to use the S4 or the HTC One in another country, you can call up sprint and Unlock the GSM of the phone.

          I used this feature on the Sprint HTC One on my trip to the Philippines. On Globe's network with GSM, with a Sprint phone.

          • bboy

            you have no idea what unlock means calvin lol

          • george m


          • DoctorRabbitfoot

            Actually, they are only factory unlocked internationally. You could not take the S4 to T-Mobile or AT&T and activate it.

          • ProductFRED

            I'm talking about domestic use. I can take a T-Mobile/AT&T/International GSM phone onto any GSM carrier. But I can't bring one into Sprint (or vice versa since Sprint phones with SIM cards are programmed to block out US SIMs).

          • george m

            nope the iPhone 5 is locked on Sprint. I dont think you know what "locked" means

          • yankeesusa

            Thats what I meant, "locked", it was a typo. I meant every phone with sprint comes locked to sprint service unless sprint decided to leave it sim unlocked on the world phones like the htc touch pro way back. On the 4s, at first it was sim unlocked, then they locked it and only sim unlocked after 90 days of paying your bill on time. sorry for the confusion.

          • yankeesusa

            Don't know what you mean every phone comes unlocked. Unless the phone is a world phone it can only be used on sprint unless you flash it to another cdma service like virgin mobile or page plus. The iphone 4s is a world phone and after 90 days it can be sim unlocked. But that's as close as unlocked will be on sprint. A true unlocked phone will be gsm.

    • Rob

      "Sub-dial up speeds." Exactly. I routinely get speeds UNDER 0.25 Down and 0.50 Up on CDMA Galaxy Nexus. That's just silly for $85/month. I recently complained to Hesse's office and a technician told me that Network Vision was done in my area. This is after being told repeatedly that the upgrades were complete. Either way they have until 12/31/13 to get their act together or I jump ship. I have my unlocked GSM Galaxy Nexus standing ready to join AT&T ($60 w/2.5GB data cap) or T-Mobile's ($30 w/5GB data cap) via a prepaid SIM. While neither service is perfect, I can at least get decent bursts of HSPA+ data in some areas. Truthfully I don't think any of our major carriers have perfect service anywhere.

      • TylerChappell

        Umm. You should have jumped ship ages ago.

        • Rob

          I couldn't. My contract was new and I wasn't about to pay that hefty $350 ETF.

  • mechapathy

    Guess they didn't have any more four-letter words.

    • Derail Doax

      Sprint Fish was such a good name. I wish they went with Fish.

    • Rob

      I vote for L.I.N.C. - Lousy Internet Nothing's Changed. :P

    • Rob

      Actually "One Up" is a pipe dream for Sprint, especially if it's meant to suggest they'll someday reach the 1Mbps UP speed. :D

      • mechapathy

        T-Mobile LTE just got lit up in my area, and I sent a speedtest screenshot to my buddy on sprint. He screenshotted me back with 49kbps down, and stalled up.

        • yankeesusa

          Same thing here. On lte with Sprint I still get "page timeout". With my wife's T-Mobile htc one s on hspa+ the slowest I get is 5mbps. Usually it's 8 to 10. Only reason I'm staying with Sprint on my line is due to contact and there is one area I go to that T-Mobile doesn't work, but now when I go into a building at least I can use my wife's htc one s on T-Mobile to look up price comparisons. My Sprint note 2 just says "network unavailable". It's sad.

          • Rob

            The sad reality is that it seems like Sprint's network troubles are far more widespread and possibly not even related to the status of any Network Vision upgrades. That or it suggests that the N.V. upgrades are moving very very slowly. The SoftBank investment, sadly, went mostly to shareholders, leaving Sprint just $5B to use on infrastructure. IDK what $5B can buy in terms of network upgrades but it's certainly the smaller slice of that $21.6B original pie.

        • Rob

          Yep. That's about it. :)

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

    This is the closest we've gotten to a good deal. Breaking down the math:

    Scenario A.) Let's say you wanted to just buy a regular on-contract phone. You pay $80/month and get a subsidized phone. After 2 years, you will have paid $1920.

    Scenario B.) You want to get on the One Up plan and buy a new phone after a year. Assuming the given monthly payments for the phone and the $65 plan, you'll have paid $1,104 (not including up front costs) by the end of the first year, and $2208 after two years. However, you'll still be under contract for the remainder of that handset you upgraded. If you want to buy your way out, it will be another $324, bringing the grand total up to $2532.

    Now, the difference between scenario A and scenario B is about $612. That's less than the cost of many high end flagship phones when they initially launch (and certainly any of the ones that will actually come to Sprint *coughnexuscough*). The downside to that, though, is that you're trading your first phone in. A phone you could have sold. So, while you're technically paying Sprint fewer dollars on up front, full price phones in some of the more expensive cases, you could have saved more money with some work.

    However, that assumes you want to break contract with Sprint at all. If you do want to stay with Sprint after two years, the difference between Scenario B and Scenario A is about $288. Even including the down payment on each phone, you could still end up paying less than buying your phones outright. Personally, I wouldn't go with this because I like having my old devices around and I either sell them, use them for testing, or just keep them for nostalgia. I could, however, see a regular Joe Blow using this program to save a few bucks if they weren't going to sell their old phones anyway (I've been telling myself I'll sell my Xoom since it was still maybe worth something, but clearly I've missed that opportunity, so who am I to judge?).

    The important point is that Sprint at least recognized what AT&T and Verizon didn't: that if you're going to tack on an extra charge for what customers are already paying for, you have to drop the price of service. I'm not sure if One Up would be a good deal across the board, but it at least seems like a reasonable middle-ground.

    If only Sprint's service didn't blow so much ass in so many areas.

    • mrsimps

      @ Eric. I'm a little confused by the math. Unless I'm misunderstanding something, it seems that in Scenario A, the total cost will be more like $2220 after 2 years; you have to include the upfront cost of the phone (e.g. $300 for a Galaxy Note 2). $80/mo X 24 months = $1920 (service cost) + $300 (phone cost) = $2220.
      Note: I'm assuming the subsidized cost of a very high end phone, just as you did in your B scenario.

      Based on my assessment of your math in scenario B, you assumed a $27/mo phone payment, which is the monthly payment amount used for a very high end phone, like a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which retails for $649 at Sprint. Your calculations yielded a payout of $2208 after 2 years. ($65/mo (discounted cost of service) X 24 months = $1560) + ($27/mo (phone payments) X 24 months = $648). [$1560 + $648 = $2208]

      So, it seems that the One Up plan actually comes to about $12 cheaper, give or take a few dollars. And, at the end of those 2 years of payment, you own the phone, so I’m not sure what you mean about still being under contract and having to spend another $324 to settle the contract and ultimately paying a total cost of

      Now, I understand that if you want to leave Sprint after a year of payments in scenario B, you will have to pay the balance of the phone’s retail cost, which, again, assuming a very high end phone like the Galaxy Note 2, at that point will be around $325, since you will have only paid $324 after only one year of payments. Am I misunderstanding something?

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

        I left out the up front cost because those costs are both variable and, in the case of One Up, unknown at this point. T-Mobile, for example, has a down payment it requires in addition to the monthly payment (I can't recall if AT&T or Verizon do too). Also, I've only just noticed this, but apparently Sprint has an $88 fee to trigger the yearly activation? More complications.

        Frankly, I don't have the time to re-visit my math, but you're correct there are some things I didn't factor in (and there are too many scenarios/phones to cover), but the jist of what I meant to say is that this could actually work for some people. In contract with AT&T and Verizon's plans that unequivocally cost more on top of the plan that already includes a phone. Not just more money, but an amount exceeding the cost of an off-contract phone on top of the regular plan price you'd already be paying.

        • Freak4Dell

          Apparently One Up will require no down payment. The $88 is made up of $52 in sales tax on a $650 phone at 8% tax plus the $36 activation fee. So, while that up front cost will vary because of tax rates, it generally will be around $88.

          I usually leave out taxes when comparing the cost of two options, but leaving out the price of the phone can skew the result drastically. Basically, One Up costs $2208 over 2 years, and the normal contract plan would cost $2120 over 2 years. Both will cost more due to taxes and fees, but that's the minimum cost. One Up becomes a much better deal when you actually do upgrade every year. In that case, a contract plan will run you $2445 (assuming you can sell your first phone for 50% of the value, which may or may not be possible), whereas One Up would still cost $2208.

  • Freak4Dell

    The deal itself isn't too bad. It's certainly better than Edge or Next, and it's either equivalent or better than JUMP!, depending on whether you want insurance and upgrades every 6 months. Still wouldn't make me consider going back to Sprint, though.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      I will maybe consider going back to Sprint in a couple years when my newly-minted AT&T contract is up. I like Sprint's plans and I could deal with being on CDMA. Sure, I wouldn't get any Nexii, but there are good enough phones (like my Moto X).

      However, coverage has just gone to shit. I understand it's because they're transitioning from WiMax to LTE, and they're getting a huge cash influx from Softbank and acquiring new spectrum and the whole company is just in a tumultuous place right now, but I can't keep paying money to wait for service to be usable.

      I did a successful speed test and got a 0.0Mbps down. Not a failed test, mind you. A successful test that was just indistinguishable from nothing. That, my friends, is why I left. The plans are wonderful, but the service blew sweaty man ass.

      • Allen Dewberry, Jr.

        But like you said it depends on where you live too. Sprint isn't horrible everywhere like many people make it out that's completely unusable in many places which is lie lol. But I might sign up for that myself, I honestly like the pricing and phone selection on Sprint, and really didn't like T-Mobile when i tried the 30 dollar plan of God as many people like to promote.

        The data was great, but the service for phone calls was far worst then Sprint. Say what you will about Sprint's data end of the day I can nearly always make a call inspite of hohum to lousy data around certain places. Still all in all it looks like a solid deal and would definitely recommend it to those that don't want to pay an arm and a leg for service.

        • Derail Doax

          Well. I have T-Mobile and Sprint service. And Sprint had gone so far downhill that we're playing 4 ETF fees to leave them next month. Here in Seattle I get in the range of 100-300 Kbps on 3G which i used to get 1 Mbps. But there is occasional LTE coverage here in Seattle. Yesterday I ran a speed test with 6/6 bars of LTE with my One and it returned a 200 Kbps download speed... how the hell can you call that 4G? That's comparable to the speeds I get on T-Mobile when switched to EDGE only. Also I just came home from Waikiki last week and they had no LTE, and their 3G was so slammed I couldn't even send a text while using Google Voice. So unacceptable that I can't justify paying them any of my money anymore. I've been with Sprint for 11 years and as much loyalty I used to have, I'm done! Switching to Verizon.

          • yankeesusa

            Hey, T-Mobile offered me $200 credit per line to cancel my contact with Sprint. Call them up. It wouldn't hurt to ask. Sometimes a local T-Mobile store will do it too.

        • george m

          yes it is. It is horrible , period.

      • Freak4Dell

        3 things would have to change for me to go back. Coverage/speeds, prices, and management. I don't see all three changing anytime soon. Hell, I'm not holding my breath for any of those to change.

  • BoB1673

    not a bad deal but to bad the service sucks monkeyballs

  • Phillip Bee

    Sprint has conveniently also left out that that extra $10/month from Tmobile includes insurance !! .. Sprints plan doesnt. Therefore, its not as good of a deal and as big of a savings.

    • yankeesusa

      Very good point. Without the protection it is not worth it. I would rather just buy up front and wait for my 2 yr if still with sprint. Or just get tmobile and sprint at the same time and in a year keep whichever is better like i did. got my wife tmobile and kept sprint line. Now when my lte with sprint is slow (most of the time) I tether my wifes phone and get 8 to 10 mbps on regular basis.

      • Ray Sunghwa Woo

        You have each line from two companies so you can keep better deal or service later when one of the companies coverage or price get better?

        • yankeesusa

          Yep. My wife was on sero with Sprint. She never had good data speed. T-Mobile offered us $200 to switch. Got her unlimited talk and text with 2.5gb at 4g for less than the sero. I still have my Sprint due to it being on a 5 lines plan. Waiting to see which ends up being better. So far T-Mobile on hspa+ has been faster than Sprint lte every time.

          • Ray Sunghwa Woo

            I am actually switching to Tmobile this week with LG G2. I calculated the price of 3 smartphones (1 G2 and 2 F6 with 500 mb data) including the phone payments, Tmobile offers the lowest plan price and after the phone payment I only need to pay $110 a month for 3 lines.

            But before even the service started, Tmobile activated my phone number without having my phone shipped so I have no phone right now. I explained I don't have the new phone yet so I can't transfer now but they still ported my number to Tmobile. Stupid service so far.

          • yankeesusa

            Do you mean they ported your number already? Usually they can't port or activate a number unless you give them a sim card number. Did you do that? II If your getting s3 phone recommend the lte versions. Most people are selling the hspa+ versions, although they are still fast, I was able to test lte and I was able to get 42mbps compared to 28mbps on hspa+. Of course this will vary depending on where you live.

          • Ray Sunghwa Woo

            No my phone is on the way so no SIM no phone. Tmobile guys kept calling me to give them the PIN # from Verizon so they can start process the porting. I gave them the number, and also told them I don't have my phone yet so they need to wait until I have it. Few hours later Tmobile activated my phone number without me having a new phone so I'm deactivated from Verizon. Verizon customer service was very fast to catch what was going on when I called them. While it seems like I need to spell everything out for Tmobile and still got it wrong. Very frustrating.

            Now Tmobile say they can't do anything about it until I have my phone. I want my phone to be delivered faster! That's all I want now.

          • yankeesusa

            Hey, check out this ebay deal: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-HTC-One-S-Smartphone-for-T-Mobile-NEW/130972953223?customid=Mk72FB8CEeOxA0I0s_I9Fg0_oPdg3_0_0_0&pub=5574652453&afepn=5337259887&campid=5337259887&pt=Cell_Phones&hash=item1e7e98aa87&afepn=5337259887

            Its an htc one s from tmobile, brand new with a sim card. Maybe you can order and get it before your other phones arrive and then if you decide you don't need it or want to keep it as a backup it is still selling for over 165 used. sometimes 200 if in mint condition. This is the phone I got for my wife on her tmobile account.

      • george m

        what a waste of money

    • Dean Politis

      Sprint also used a bad example for T-Mobile to make it look worse. With T-Mobile, you can switch phones every 6 months not 1 year. By doing it at the 1 year interval, it does make T-Mobile look worse because you are getting less value. The T-Mobile plan is perfect for people who want to change phones often.

      • george m

        you can switch at 6 months with verizon as well

        • Dean Politis

          Verizon's plan is still a rip-off compared to either T-Mobile or Sprint.

    • master94

      Plus the whole Sprint doesnt actually have service anywhere makes tmobile the better option

    • Carl Rood

      Additionally, TMobile gives you pricing options taking a non-unlimited data plan and foregoing Jump and still not have a contract.

  • Asphyx

    And it is official...The Days of the Subsidized Phone are now OVER!

    • http://www.bfolkers.com Brian Folkers

      Except on Verizon and AT&T.

      • Asphyx

        I guess you didn't read the article too carefully

        "Now that T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have all started accelerated upgrade programs with monthly charges"

        • http://www.bfolkers.com Brian Folkers

          But the information I'm talking about is the stuff not outlined in this. The fact that you can get onto Verizons program, yet the pricing on all the rate plans is still the same. So the "subsidy" is still in there. Just like bringing your own phone.

  • CowardontheInternet

    Can confirm, am Sprint employee.

    • Darkbotic

      What's your name?
      Oh, wait... Your username says it all...

    • WHO?

      What's up with Note 3? Im getting alittle disappointed..Heard anything?

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        You mean about it being single-band LTE?

    • CJ

      "It will be available for new customers or contract customers who've been on their plans for a year or more."

      Can you confirm this yet?
      Since I've been on contract since August of '12, I can just pick out a new phone and start this new program?

      I just moved to Chicago and now love Sprint. Getting great speeds with my gnex so I'm a happy customer lol. I was miserable tho in Champaign, IL.

      But after a year I'm def ready to upgrade my phone.

  • WrlsFanatic

    "Make no mistake: the One Up plan, like its alternatives on other carriers, is a thinly-veiled attempt to keep customers engaged with Sprint service by tempting them with more frequent hardware upgrades." Let's give Sprint a little credit: it was reluctant at first to rip off its customers since ALL of these are awful deals for the customer. But clearly consumers are dumb and love forking over money for the tiniest increment of upgrade every single year, so why not a) take their money and b) keep them from leaving for other carriers?

    I think Sprint should have come out months ago with this. They could have sweetened the deal later, but why suffer the losses in the meantime?

  • Zetta

    Now if only they could jump off EDGE network because that's the only speeds I get in my area!

  • Jadephyre

    After reading the comments, only one conclusion can be made, at least in my personal opinion: Telcos in the US are gouging their customers in an extremely arrogant and self-righteous fashion.
    Even if I had a dedicated plan with unlimited internet here in germany (and by unlimited I really mean UNLIMITED) and combine that with what I pay for internet and a landline, I would still pay less money than what Sprint charges for that contract up there.

    Also, no CDMA-Carriers here. How did that even get widespread adoption ?
    I always hear from others to "vote with your wallet" so why did no one do that when this crap was introduced ?

    • yankeesusa

      Reason cdma took hold was due to technology. cdma technology is more secure than gsm. It also handles tower handoffs better as cdma has "soft handoffs" from one tower to the other thus having less dropped calls. GSM calls are routed through multiple channels allowing more than one user to place a call on same tower while cdma does something similar but it digitizes the calls in packs over one another and then on the back end it unpacks it. Of course that was years ago when I was training to be a technician. I don't know what has changed in regards to that except that most lte networks are now about the same. So in that sense it may be good news for consumers.

  • solbin

    What is the easiest way to see what kind of upload/download speeds by zip code?

  • george m

    all to end up on crappy service
    sprint has been so desperate lately