You have to hand it to Telstra, they do love throwing new things at the wall to see if they will stick. This week they have added a new device program to their offerings, Upgrade and Protect. Basically the program offers two options, replacement devices for those who break them, and early upgrade foe people who just have to be consumerists.
Now, this isn’t free. To enrol in the program you have to pay $15/ month ($180/ year) and is available on new phones and tablets bought via a Telstra repayment plan. You must enrol at purchase but can cancel at anytime (and can’t rejoin after).
After the enrolment you are then eligible to pay for an upgrade or broken device replacement. For upgrades if you want to upgrade in the first 12 months your device must be in “good working order” and you’ll pay $99 and and sign on for a new mobile repayment plan.
If you have had the device for over 12 months then the $99 fee is waived but you still need to sign-up for a new mobile repayment plan. What’s interesting, is that you don’t need to sign up for a multi year length contract, you can stay month to month. Technically this just moved the 2 year contract to the hardware instead of the plan. Of course you need to be an active Telstra subscriber to use Upgrade and Protect.
For those prone to breaking their devices, or those devices that aren’t in ‘good working order’ then there is the protect option. For $249 you can get a new device any time as long as you sign up for a new mobile repayment plan.
Now what is “good working order”, Telstra provides this advice:
- Turns on and off
- Functions normally (for example, it’s capable of making and receiving calls and connecting to the internet and has a fully functional touch-screen as intended)
- Includes a fully functioning battery
- Is free from physical damage except normal wear and tear (for example, it doesn’t have liquid damage, a cracked or discoloured screen or casing, connector damage, or a faulty or broken SIM reader)
- Doesn’t have any missing, disassembled, customised or non-original parts
- Has all activation and device locking features disabled (e.g Find My iPhone)
- Has had a factory reset performed
- Is not IMEI blocked
The economics of if this is worth it to you is, well, up to you. Let’s say you upgrade every year, you would pay $180 to enrol, plus 12 months of your repayment plan for you device, which would easily be $400 for a decent device so you’ll be at least $580 in the hole. Assuming you phone is in good condition you can then give it back and start paying for a new device.
For people who don’t want to hand down their devices, keep them or on sell them this could be an enticing plan. Considering the added damage insurance it’s not an uninteresting option, but it is also not cheap. It’s effectively a re-brand of Telstra old leasing idea. Our real question is what will happen with all of the returned devices?
From an e-waste perspective it’s more than a little concerning to think that there may be a glut of near new device heading for a less than environmentally-friendly end. One would hope they’re refurbished and re-sold, or donated to a needy charity.