Just when we thought we knew what the landscape looked like for iPhone rental programs, T-Mobile has changed things up in the eleventh hour. The telecom has introduced a new Jump! On-Demand promotion that can get you even cheaper monthly payments on the iPhone 6S or 6S Plus — as long as you own a nice phone and are willing to trade it in to them.
This is chiefly a trade-in deal, and the monthly payment you’ll end up depends on what you hand over. Below, you can check out the table T-Mobile released today, which tells most of the story. Previously, Sprint was offering the cheapest monthly payment plans with their iPhone Forever plans, provided you had a trade-in. T-Mobile’s Jump! On-Demand pricing lacked trade-in promotions, but that changes now, making T-Mobile the cheapest way to get an iPhone rental. That said, you’ll need to note that for both, you need to own your trade-in outright before handing it over to T-Mobile or Sprint.
Whether or not this (or Sprint’s) deal is worth it depends on what you’re trading in and its condition. High-end smartphones retain high resale value — if you have something like an iPhone 6 in excellent condition, you might be better off selling it on eBay and using the cash to get started on a regular Jump! On-Demand or iPhone Forever plan.
Consider an unlocked 64 GB iPhone 6S — $750 directly from Apple. With T-Mobile’s new deal, you’ll pay $148 on the year if you trade in an iPhone 6, which is $602 off the unlocked price — that’s to lease for one year, not own, but if you plan on leasing from now on, that doesn’t matter anymore. The question is if you can get more than $602 elsewhere for your used 64 GB iPhone 6 — ambitious, but not totally out of the question.
If you can’t sell your old phone for that much or don’t want to be bothered with selling in the first place, T-Mobile’s deal seems pretty awesome — if you lump the up-front cost and monthly cost of the 64 GB iPhone 6S together, it comes out to $12.33 monthly, which handily beats Sprint’s iPhone Forever promotion. The $5 monthly, $0 down promotional price for the 16 GB iPhone 6S is also pretty good, but we can’t recommend it because we can’t recommend the 16 GB iPhone 6S itself — too little storage in 2015. For those still on the fence about leasing, T-Mobile is also offering a deal where you can save $125 off retail if you choose to keep your iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus after completing 18 months of payments.
The short version — if you’re all-in on leasing an iPhone from year to year on and currently own a phone, T-Mobile is now your best bet. The promotion starts when the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus go on sale on September 25.