In just over a week, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have announced device upgrade plans.
These plans are all designed to let eager tech users get new phones quicker than with traditional plans, which typically require a two-year wait.
But despite having a similar goal, each plan works differently. Here’s how they compare.
Exchange period: If you want to be able to change out your smartphone often, then the plans offered by T-Mobile and Verizon are the better choices.
» T-Mobile’s Jump plan lets users get a new phone twice during the span of 12 months. A user must trade in the device and make a down payment for each upgrade. Customers must wait at least six months before their first upgrade.
» Verizon’s Edge plan also lets users get a new device every six months, but a user must trade in the device and have paid for at least 50 percent of it.
» AT&T’s Next plan, meanwhile, requires a user to wait a year before trading in a smartphone for a new one.
Down payments: If you like putting things off and would rather not pay a down payment, go with AT&T. The company won’t bill users for the plan when they sign up. Instead, users will be charged their first monthly payment at the end of the cycle.
» Verizon said it will charge users their first monthly payment when they sign up.
» T-Mobile has the steepest upfront payment. It charges a down payment each time a user gets a new device, which is $100 for many of its phones.
Monthly payments: When it comes to monthly payments, there is no clear winner.
» T-Mobile said it will charge users their regular monthly payment and an additional $10 for the Jump plan.
» AT&T’s monthly payments depend on the device. The carrier said payments can be as low as $15 or as high as $50.
» And Verizon said its monthly payments are determined by dividing the retail price of a smartphone by 24.
Availability: T-Mobile Jump is the only plan that is available now. AT&T Next will be available Friday and Verizon Edge will start Aug. 25.