Sprint preparing its own early upgrade program, dubbed ‘One Up’ [Update: It’s official]

by: Andrew GrushSeptember 20, 2013

sprint changes tos

T-Mobile has JUMP, AT&T has Next and Verizon has Edge – that leaves Sprint as the only member of the Big Four without an early upgrade program, but not for long! According to CNET, Sprint is jumping in with its own service on September 20th, dubbed One Up. Keep in mind that Sprint has yet to confirm or deny the new program, so speculation is advised.

Like similar upgrade programs, Sprint’s One Up supposedly allows customers to pick up a phone for outright pricing and split the cost into 24 monthly payments. Unlike its rivals, all of Sprints handsets are said to be eligible for the program with no money down.

Obviously, the most important aspect of an ‘early upgrade program’ is the ability to get a new phone in a timely manner. How does Sprint compare here? Like AT&T, One Up only lets you trade up for a better handset once a year, versus twice a year for Verizon and T-Mobile’s programs. While once a year is probably enough for most folks, this could certainly be seen as a weak point.

On the plus side, Sprint will offer a $15 discount on its Unlimited, My Way or All-In service plans. Although T-Mobile recently cut down its pricing when it switched to its “uncarrier model”, Verizon and AT&T both charge the same for its plans, regardless of whether you have a subsidized phone or not.

Outside of discount pricing and once-a-year upgrades, One Up also allows customers to leave the Now Network at any time – as long as they pay off the phone’s balance in full. Additionally, customers that are at least one year into a contract have the option of switching to the One Up program.

Does Sprint’s upgrade plan really ‘One Up’ the competition?


At first glance, the leaked “smartphone comparison” chart shows that Sprint’s One Up offers the best value when it comes to phone upgrade programs. Looking closer, it becomes clear that Sprint is doing its best to skew the data in their favor.

For example, looking at the initial costs of handsets under these plans, a phone will supposedly cost you $208 from T-Mobile. Assuming a T-Mobile phone requires $99 down (which many don’t), that’s still $109 for sales tax and activation fees, which we find kind of hard to believe – especially when the $70 unlimited T-Mobile plan waives the $35 activation fee.

Swimming through the propaganda, the Sprint One Up program still looks to be a pretty decent alternative to what other carriers are offering for upgrade programs, though it’s not necessarily any better. If anything, Sprint simply took a few positives (and negatives) from each of the existing upgrade programs and melded them together the best they could.

Of course, even a fairly strong upgrade program matters little if your coverage isn’t up to snuff. Some folks have no problem with the Now Network, but there are areas in the United States where service is arguably less than perfect.

Based on what we currently know, what do you think of Sprint’s One Up? How do you feel it compares to the competition?

Update: It’s official! Sprint has now confirmed the existence of its new One Up program, which is available immediately. All previously leaked details about the program were spot on, including the $15 service discount and the ability to upgrade your device once a year.

It is worth mentioning that Sprint’s “no money down on any phone” offer is actually limited, though no word how much the down-payments will eventually be.

  • Joshhud

    sooooo. i can sell my Note 2 and get the Note 3….THEN get the Note 4 when it comes out… ok im in.

  • jjordan

    I like the idea of switching to sprint with this out there to take advantage of and their whole unlimited for life thing…just wish they would pick up the pace on their LTE network…I live in Indiana and its 3g or nothing thu most of the state

    • Jon C.

      Northern Indiana has very good coverage. Indy, kokomo, south bend, fort Wayne, Warsaw are all mostly covered. The problem is they are reworking the system from the ground up so it takes longer than the other carriers. But Indiana is very well covered.

      • Jon C.

        4g coverage that is

      • jjordan

        Well where I am specifically which is about 30 minutes south of Lafayette/west Lafayette the coverage is 3g only and most of the central to southern part of the state is like that

  • R

    It should say what up nd get Neil patric Harris( how I met your mother) to male ad’s for them

    • R

      Sorry make not male

  • Dominic Lacerenza

    We just put two new LTE sites up in Chicago tonight and are also working in St Louis, Nashville, New York, Baltimore, parts of Florida, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, etc. It’s a very lengthy process, weather inhibiting, decommissioning old equipment and commissioning brand new equipment. The upgrades are coming but honestly it’s only a handful of people working on them. We’re incredibly understaffed and working 60 hours a week. Surprisingly there should be about 5000 sites up come the end of November. Just make sure if you guys upgrade any of your mobile devices that they’re compatible with TD LTE Band 41 so you can take advantage of the data speeds.

  • dswatson83

    There is a really good comparison showing the pricing and info on all 4 upgrade plans at http://www.learningcameras.com/tips/5-all/165-the-real-cost-to-upgrade-your-phone

    • Amadeus Klein

      Interesting, but the logic is flawed… It completely overlooks monthly plan costs and other things so it does not actually tell the whole story…

  • Amadeus Klein

    This will probably be a good way for sprint to migrate customers to their “unlimited” brand plans… If your on an “Everything” plan you get a $75 dollar discount after 1 year, but you don’t get the upgrade eligibility as you pay full price with just the little discount…

    I’ve been a sprint customer for several years, the service is iffy in most locations still…

    This is a step in the right direction, but when my contract is up in 8 months I’ll be seriously considering moving to T-Mobile or one of the other big 4 unless service improves… This is a nice program but I would have to spend another $60 a month plus phone payments to take advantage of it… (I’m on the “Everything” family plan) So it looks like I’ll skip it…

  • GwapoAko

    Sprint , AT&T and Verizon’ scheme is really deceptive… You pay full price on the phone and the service.. with Tmobile they separate the cost of the phone and service…So think before you avail of these deceptive practices from Sprint, AT&T and Verizon!!!