According to sources for the well-connected blogger Mark Gurman, Apple Stores will soon begin selling the iPhone on the AT&T Next, Verizon Edge and T-Mobile JUMP early upgrade programs in the United States. The report claims that the pilot program will commence in late August in certain test markets, rolling out to additional Apple Stores later this year.
AT&T Next, Verizon Edge and T-Mobile JUMP allow customers to upgrade to a new smartphone once every 6 to 18 months, with the cost of the device broken down into 20 to 24 monthly payments that are added to the regular monthly service bill. Each upgrade program has slightly different policies in terms of when and how often you can upgrade, paying off your device early and making down payments.
Apple currently sells the iPhone beginning at $199 with a new two-year service agreement, while customers can also purchase the smartphone off contract and unlocked for between $719 and $919 depending on the model.
The report adds that it is no coincidence that Apple is rolling out this program ahead of the iPhone 6 launch in mid-September, given Tim Cook’s aggressive plans to boost iPhone sales in Apple Stores.
Apple will begin training employees for this new program between August 10th and August 28th, as the Cupertino-based company prepares to make improvements to the Genius Bar and other areas of its customer service experience.
Gurman notes that it is possible for these plans to change at the last minute. He did not receive comment from AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile at the time of publication.