T-Mobile's today rolling out yet another program for customers that aims to make upgrading even easier. It's called Score! (yes, with the exclamation point) and at $5-a-month for both postpaid and prepaid T-Mobile customers it offers a free upgrade to an entry-level smartphone after just six months, or a steep discount on a mid-range-to-premium phone after 12 months.
Okay, but what phones are we talking about here, and how much are you saving? Glad you asked.
After paying a total of $30 into Score over six months, your upgrade choices are just one phone: the Alcatel Onetouch Evolve 2, though it won't cost you anything to do the upgrade. You'll save $50 on that if you're a postpaid T-Mobile subscriber, or $80 if you opt for T-Mobile's prepaid plans.
But if you're willing to wait a year and pay $60 into Score, then your choices expand to some phones that are a bit more appealing. It won't cost you anything more to upgrade to an Alcatel Onetouch Fierce 2 or LG Optimus L90 (prepaid or postpaid), or the T-Mobile Concord II (prepaid only). Those options run at retail from $126 to $198, so you could save up to $140 right there.
Newer model: Galaxy Note 5
If none of those mid-tier phones suit your fancy, you can save on some of the best phones T-Mobile has to offer, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 ($40 off after deducting the $60 you've already paid into Score), or $90 off on either a Nexus 6 or Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
Opting for any of the upgrade options resets your eligibility calendar, naturally. As we mentioned earlier, this program is open to both prepaid and postpaid customers (though which payment scheme you're on will affect the phones available to you), and the discounts are available to both those who choose to pay for their phones up front or finance the cost over 24 months.
So is Score worth it? That depends on if you're somebody who either has or wants to upgrade their phone frequently. If you prefer a cheap Android handset that you can abuse and replace every six months, $30 per phone isn't that bad. Same if you really want an annual upgrade to the latest and greatest — unlike programs from the likes of AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile's upgrade program might actually save you money if you strive to take advantage of it. It might not be a lot of money considering how much you'll be spending on new phones overall. And there's no saying which phones will be available through Score when your time comes and if the phone you want will be among those choices (that the Nexus 6, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy Note 4 are there is an encouraging sign, though we'd prefer T-Mobile offer all of their phones through this program).