Sprint kills 'One Up' handset upgrade plan less than 4 months after launch

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Sprint (NYSE:S) has decided to end its "One Up" handset upgrade program less than four months after introducing it. The announcement comes as Sprint is pushing its new "Framily" calling circle plan, which it introduced last week.

Sprint confirmed on a customer support page that One Up was terminated on Jan. 9. A Sprint spokeswoman declined to say why One Up was retired so quickly or how many customers had participated in the program. Sprint had been the last Tier 1 carrier to introduce a new handset upgrade program, following programs that rivals T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) launched over last summer.

Under the One Up program, new and existing customers could buy an eligible smartphone or tablet and agree to 24 monthly installment payments for the device. The carrier promoted the offering with a $15 discount on its Unlimited, My Way and My All-in plans--to $65 per month from $80. After 12 consecutive payments, customers could give back their current device, as long as it was in good working order, and upgrade to a new smartphone or tablet. Sprint One Up was available for smartphones on the My All-in plan as well as on tablets in combination with tablet plans starting at just $5 a month.

Sprint's new Framily plan, which some might refer to as a calling circle, provides greater savings for everyone in the group as more people join.

Under Framily, which is now in effect, new Sprint customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of data. For each new Sprint customer joining a Framily group, the cost per person will drop $5 a month up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line. A group of at least seven people will get unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for $25 per month per line, excluding taxes and surcharges. In addition, Framily members can each pay $20 per month per line to buy unlimited data plus get a new phone every year, or they can add 1 GB or 3 GB per month to their plan. Interestingly, if they travel over their data allotment they will be charged overage fees.

The plan is primarily aimed at customers who have paid full price for their Sprint-compatible phones. But according to Sprint's website, a Sprint customer with a discounted phone who is eligible for an upgrade, can switch to the Framily plan. Customers who are not upgrade eligible can change to Framily by paying an additional $15 per month per line until they are upgrade eligible or after 12 consecutive months of billing on the $20 per month unlimited data plan plus the annual upgrade buy up, whichever comes first.

Importantly, Sprint is still keeping a device installment plan of a sort. Along with Framily, Sprint also unveiled an installment plan for new devices. Called Sprint Easy Pay, customers can get a smartphone or basic phone for a simple down payment and 24 monthly payments with no financing fees. Sprint said the offer is available at select Sprint stores and will be coming to Sprint.com and other channels soon.

For more:
- see this Sprint page
- see this Re/code article
- see this CNET article

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