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.

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Do you guys even proof read your articles before publishing them?

“and early upgrade foe people who just have to be consumerists.”

“and you’ll pay $99 and and sing on for a new”

Is it too much to ask for you guys to read through your articles before you post them?

Nicholas Oliveri

this is the same program as they have had for years the only difference is it cost $15 instead of the $10 it used to cost

Ex Telstra Employee

Martyn Massop

Does anyone know what happens with Stay Connected then? It’s the same price currently. I really hope that current Stay Connected customers are migrated over to Upgrade & Protect. I was on a lease plan for the exact reason of being able to upgrade my phones regularly, then they removed lease plans. So when i changed phone in April I had to take out a whole new standard plan and add Stay Connected for insurance which had no upgrade path. Would be ridiculous if I had to sell my handset and pay the difference then take out a new contract… Read more »

Dianne King

I’m already on a similar plan with Telstra. I assume when I replace my damaged phone I’m provided with a refurbished one, thereby reducing the ewaste.

Bradley Smith

I can confirm these devices are used as refurbished devices in their second life in most circumstances.
I did hear a rumour that sometimes they go overseas to sell.
Definitely don’t get wasted, that would be a big loss for Telstra.

Daniel Narbett

First sentence “You have to hand it to Telstra…” – No! No no no!!! Uhum. Ok now off to read the rest of your article, which I’m sure is excellent. But let’s remember that most of what Telstra throw at consumers to see if it will stick is excrement!!

Darwin Tjokroaminoto

Optus has this program for free included in the contract without paying $15pm, and just pay $99 after 24mo (previously 12mo within 24mo contract). What a ripoff

Lesley Sutton

Optus has the same thing without the $180 joining fee

Matt Bone

Discoloured screen, so every Samsung device will fail as the displays in these burn-in quote rapidly