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Sprint to 'One Up' the Competition

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sprint (S) is reportedly ready to "one up" the competition and offer its customers an early upgrade plan of its own. But Sprint's "One-Up" plan carries an important distinction.

According to a CNet report Sprint's new plan will be similar in many ways to T-Mobile's (TMUS - Get Report), AT&T's  (T - Get Report) and Verizon's (VZ - Get Report) "easy payment" scheme. Sprint will ask for no money down and will allow customers to pay the balance of the phone's (or tablet's) cost in 24 monthly payments. After one year, One Up customers will be allowed to trade-in their phone for a new device.

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For example a phone that costs $650 would be paid off in 23 payments of $27 ($621) and a final monthly payment of $56 ($27 plus the $29 balance). If customers leave the program completely they would be responsible for paying the balance of the phone cost in the next month.

But here's how the Sprint plan differs from the others: when you agree to the deal you're also signed-up for a Sprint "Unlimited, My Way" or All-in-One" service plan which will be discounted $15 per month for One Up customers. These plans allow for unlimited voice calling, texting and data.

Sprint shares were retreating 0.11% to $22.78 at 10:21 am in New York.
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T- Mobile announced service plan discounts when it became the first carrier to offer device upgrade deals back in July. AT&T's and Verizon's plans followed but do not offer service discounts. Under Sprint's One Up plan unlimited everything drops from $80 to $65 each month. That's $5 less that T-Mobile charges in their "Jump" plan.

Existing Sprint customers whose contracts are at least a year old could also be eligible to trade-in their phones for the One Up plan. Sprint pre-paid customers will not be offered this deal.

Sprint will reportedly launching the One Up program this week.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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