Home - , , - A Free Phone Every 6 Months? Simple Mobile Launches Phone Upgrade Program

A Free Phone Every 6 Months? Simple Mobile Launches Phone Upgrade Program

In the postpaid world phone upgrade plans like T-Mobile's Jump, AT&T's Next, Sprint's Easy Pay and Verizon's Edge are being heavily promoted by the carriers as a better replacement for the traditional phone subsidy tied to a two year contract. With these plans you pay a little more each month in return for getting a free phone upgrade every six to twelve months. While the economics of these plans are debatable they do seem popular. AT&T is reporting that 50% of new customers are opting for Next and T-Mobile is claiming an 81% adoption rate for Jump.

TracFone owned T-Mobile MVNO Simple Mobile has just launched a prepaid phone upgrade plan. Simple is calling theirs by the rather unimaginative name, Phone Upgrade Unlimited Plan. There are three plan choices. They all include unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts and unlimited data throttled after 1 GB per month. They also include 100 to 200 minutes of calls to Canada and landlines in Mexico. The difference between the three plans is how often you can upgrade your phone. There's a $50/month plan that lets you upgrade every 18 months or you can upgrade every 12 months for $60 a month or every 6 months for $70 month.

The way the upgrade works is that you get a $200 ($70 plan) or $300 ($50 and $60 plans) on phones purchased from Simple Mobile's phone sales partner Quality One Wireless. Prices on that site are on the high side: Nokia Lumia 635 $179, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini $289, Samsung Galaxy S III $379, iPhone 6 16 GB $749

In comparison Simple's non-upgrade plan with unlimited talk, text  and data throttled after 1GB is $40/month. So you are basically paying $180 ($50 plan) or $240 ($60 plan) for a $300 discount or $180 ($70 plan) for a $200 discount on a limited selection of phones that for the most part are priced above the best deals available from other sources. For example, the unlocked iPhone 6 16GB is $649 at the Apple Store and the Lumia 635 is under $100 at Amazon and Walmart. On the other hand there are a few good deals at Quality One like Moto X (2nd ed) 16 GB for $449, $50.99 less that Motorola's price.

Here are all the Phone Upgrade Unlimited Plans in tabular format:
Price Voice Minutes Domestic & International SMS Text Messages Domestic MMS Picture Messages Int'l Min Upgrade In / AMT Data
$50 (30 day plan) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 100 18 mo / $300 Unlimited, Throttled after 1 GB 1
$60 (30 day plan) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 200 12 mo / $300 Unlimited, Throttled after 1 GB 1
$70 (30 day plan) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 300 6 mo / $200 Unlimited, Throttled after 1 GB 1

For Comparison here are Simple Mobile's regular (non -upgrade) plans:
Price Voice Minutes Domestic & International SMS Text Messages Domestic MMS Picture Messages Data
$25 (30 day plan) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited None
$40 (30 day plan) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited, Throttled after 1 GB 1
$50 (30 day plan) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited, Throttled after 3 GB 1
$60 (30 day plan) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited, Throttled after 10 GB 1
1 Users report throttled speed is 64 Kbps or less. BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) included allowing BlackBerrys to use Push email, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) & BlackBerry App World.

While I don't think Simple's Phone Upgrade Plans are a terrible deal, they don't have any real advantage over putting $10, $20 or $30 a month in your own phone upgrade bank account and shopping around for the best phone deals when you are ready to upgrade. Plus, if you leave Simple Mobile before you are eligible for an upgrade, money in  a bank account will still be there while the extra paid to Simple for a Phone Upgrade Plan will be lost.

Related:
Prepaid Operator Profile: Simple Mobile
T-Mobile and T-Mobile MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared


9 comments:

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  1. Whether or not it is a good deal, to me a big attraction of "prepaid" is no contract, no commitment. This seems like a back-door contract thing. Postpaid/contract under the prepaid banner.

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  2. I've always heard nothing but negative things about these guys.

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    1. Agreed. I had Simple Mobile and every month I had my internet cut off like 8 to 16 days before the due date. When reached CS I was always told that I had used to much internet. It's a soft cap plan not a hard cap. False advertising. They lost my business.

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  3. Like everything Tracfone does, this is another way to cheat customers. High phone prices + high plan prices = bad deal

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  4. TracFone has a record of bad customer service and false advertising. I wouldn't trust them. The way they do business I wouldn't be surprised if those phones are refurbished.

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  5. Nothing is simple about this. Like others have commented, TracFone is a no go for me as well.

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  6. 100% agreed. Sounds shady.

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  7. I believe T-Mobile has 81% because they've bundled their upgrade plan with their replacement/phone protection. You can't have one without the other, and it's just more money in their pockets.

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