Sprint Plans to Launch 'One Up' Early Upgrade Program for Smartphone Enthusiasts

Two years is an eternity in technology, especially when you're dealing with the fast moving mobile world in which today's smartphones are obsolete almost as quickly as you unwrap them. Nevertheless, two year service agreements in exchange for subsidized pricing are the norm, though more recently, wireless carriers in the U.S. have begun offering upgrade programs for those willing to pay to play. In fact, Sprint is the only one with no such program in place, though that's about to change.

Sprint is reportedly preparing to launch its "Sprint One Up" program, which will allow smartphone owners to break up their device payments into monthly installments and upgrade once a year by trading in their smartphone and/or tablet. The program is supposed to launch on September 20, 2013 (this Friday).

T-Mobile pioneered the early and frequent upgrade cycle by launching its Jump program back in July. Not long after, AT&T followed suit with a similar program of its own called Next, followed by Verizon unveiling its Edge upgrade program. With Sprint jumping on board, all four major wireless carriers in the U.S. will offer some sort of early upgrade option for subscribers willing to dole out the dough.

HTC Shift 4G
Afraid you'll get stuck with an obsolete phone? Sprint One Up helps you stay ahead of the curve.

These programs all work in essentially the same way, though each has their own twist(s). In Sprint's case, the One Up program will allow customers to purchase a smartphone at full price and break it up into 24 installments. So if you buy a $600 phone, it will run you $25 per month, and you'll get a $15 discount on your Unlimited, My Way, or All-In plan.

After 12 payments, you're free to trade in your existing device and start the process anew. The money you already spent up to that point is gone forever -- think of it as a rental fee -- though you don't have to upgrade after a year; it will be yours to keep at the end of 24 months if you don't trade it in, as you'll have paid its retail price.