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Phones 4u JUMP contract lets you hop phones, at a price

JUMP tariff lets you upgrade to a new phone -- provided you don't mind paying more and being locked into a two-year rolling contract.

Phones 4u wants mobile users to take a running JUMP. Nothing to do with scaring you to death with zombie children -- or the eponymous 1992 hit single by Kris Kross. Oh no. The mobile retailer is launching a new contract called JUMP -- for people who just can't bear to wait a whole year (or more) to get their hands on the latest and greatest phones.

The 'Just Upgrade My Phone' contract -- see what they did there? -- lets mobile users upgrade to "a selection of the latest smart phones on the market" as often as every six months. Think of it as the Doodle Jump of mobile tariffs, allowing you to hop from shiny new handset to shiny new handset, leaving a trail of yesterday's models in your wake like a mobile Casanova.

There are no upfront fees for each upgrade, which Phones 4u reckons makes JUMP more accommodating than other flexible tariffs on the market. However, the monthly tariff price rises with each JUMP -- so you'll need to shell out an extra £2.99 to £3.99 per month to get your hands on the Samsung Galaxy Superduperwhuper or the HTC BurningHeartsDesire before your mates do.

Worse still: each JUMP incurs a two-year BUMP because you have to sign up for another rolling contract. So don't be too surprised if all that JUMPing leads to a distinct feeling that, rather than travelling upwards towards smart phone nirvana, you're just hopping around in a bottomless money pit with only your unbridled gadget lust for company.

Price comparison website's talkative tech expert, Ernest Doku, debunks JUMP thus: "Switching handsets mid-contract without fear of incurring penalties or any up-front fees will be welcomed by smart phone fans who want to own the best handsets as soon as they launch, but they will have to pay a premium for the privilege.

"Each upgrade places consumers into another rolling contract, with a higher monthly commitment to pay for the new phone. This can make overall handset costs higher than normal over the course of a 24-month JUMP deal."

Doku adds: "However, for those tech-obsessed enough to want to upgrade frequently -- and willing to pay extra each month to keep up with the smart phone Joneses -- the JUMP tariff is an option worth considering."

Phones 4u gives an example of a customer who is paying £38 per month on JUMP for a "non-iPhone device" who wants to upgrade to an iPhone 4S after six months. The new monthly toll -- factoring in the outstanding balance on the phone they're upgrading from -- would be £58.44. JUMP after a year and the cost would be £53.74.

Phones 4u has been trialling JUMP in 100 of its shops since last May, but from today the contract created for handset Casanovas will begin rolling out nationwide. It's expected to be available in all 580-plus stores by May, and also from Phones 4u online and telesales.

The JUMP contract includes remote data back-up and storage for contacts, music, photos and videos from Phones 4u. Up to three mobiles can be traded back in at a time when you upgrade -- or you're free to hoard them in your desk drawer. Phones 4u guarantees that your old phone will be worth at least £100 for the first 12 months -- provided it's not been too badly treated. Cracked screens, water damage and missing batteries won't wash.

The JUMP tariff is actually two contracts -- one with a mobile operator for your network usage and one with Phones 4u for the handset. Both contracts are set at a minimum term of two years.

Are you willing to do cartwheels in a bottomless money pit until the end of time so long as you get Ice Cream Sandwich before your mates do? Tell us all about your upgrade lust in the comments below or JUMP on over to our Facebook page.