Phone payment plans and trade-in schemes seem to be all the rage in the US, and now the UK's largest LTE network EE is getting in on the game with its new "Swap" program. As the first carrier with a system like this in the UK, EE's Swap differs slightly from the way we've seen AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile set things up here in the states.
Under Swap, you will be offered the option to trade-in your phone for a new one assuming you're at least 6 months into your 18 or 24-month contract. If you do choose to trade your device in for a new one, you'll simply pay a one-time fee based on the cost of your monthly service plan. The fee ranges from £49 to £249, with a higher fee if you have a cheaper plan, naturally.
At this point only a handful of devices — iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2 and HTC One — are allowed to be traded in (and must be in good condition), but once they are and the fee is paid you can choose from any device in the EE 4G device portfolio. Just as you'd expect you'll be signing a new 24-month contract for the device, and it must be for a plan of equal or higher price than your current plan — no dropping down to a lower plan after taking advantage of Swap.
Just like the options from other carriers in the US, EE's Swap system seems just as convoluted and filled with asterisks. The end premise seems to be about the same, with eager customers who are willing to pay for a new device being given the option to do so while everyone else waits their full two years to upgrade or bring their own device off-contract.
EE INTRODUCES ‘SWAP’ – THE EASY WAY TO UPGRADE MID-CONTRACT
· EE pay monthly customers now able to ‘Swap ‘ to the latest 4G smartphones after just six months from as little as £49
· Launching on the 17th September, the new ‘Swap’ service is available to customers on 4GEE, Orange and T-Mobile plans
10th September 2013. EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, today announced the launch of ‘Swap’, an industry-leading way for customers to switch to the latest smartphones.
With the launch of ‘Swap’, customers with eligible devices can upgrade from any point from six months into their 18 or 24 month price plan.
Simply by returning their existing device, starting a new 24 month 4GEE plan and paying a one-off fee, customers will have access to the latest smartphones. ‘Swap’ is available to customers on 4GEE, Orange and T-Mobile plans bought directly from EE as well as through indirect partners. Swap provides an easy way for Orange or T-Mobile customers to upgrade to 4G.
Customers must already have an eligible device that’s in good working order, with no significant dents, scratches, or cracks on the screen. Swap is available exclusively in EE stores, so customers can get the latest device the very same day they hand in their old one. The one-off fee a customer pays is directly related to the 24 month plan they choose, and they have the option to move to any smartphone in the 4GEE device portfolio.
Pippa Dunn, Chief Consumer Marketing Officer, EE said: “With smartphone innovation moving at a relentless pace, we realise that some customers want to move to the latest handset at the earliest possible opportunity. That’s why we’ve introduced ‘Swap’ to sit alongside our existing upgrade offers – providing a new, simple and easily affordable option for pay monthly customers to move to the latest 4G smartphones.”
Swap will complement EE’s existing upgrade options. EE offers pay monthly handset customers in the last 45 days of their plan the option to upgrade for free, as well as Early Upgrade for all pay monthly customers who have been with EE for a minimum of six months. With Early Upgrade, customers will receive up to a 33% discount on their outstanding monthly commitment. Customers who choose this option can choose to either keep their device, or recycle it through EE’s recycle and reward scheme.
4G from EE is available to businesses and consumers in a total of 105 towns and cities across the UK, covering 60% of the population - with double speed 4GEE offering average download speeds of between 24-30Mbps now available in 20 towns and cities across the UK.
Swap launches on 17th September. For further information, including details of supported devices and terms and conditions, please visit www.ee.co.uk/swap.