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Sprint launching new upgrade program

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) -- Sprint is launching a new program that gives customers unlimited talk, text and high speed data and the chance to upgrade their smartphone every 12 months.

The company said that the Sprint One Up program will cost $65 a month, which is $15 less a month than its Unlimited, My Way standard rate plan. Customers are guaranteed unlimited talk, text and data for as long as the phone line is in service.

The program is available to new and existing customers on Unlimited, My Way and My All-in plans beginning on Friday. It is not yet available in Florida or Washington, D.C.

Customers who want to sign up for the Sprint One Up program must buy an eligible smartphone or tablet and agree to two years of installment payments. Sprint said that once a customer makes 12 straight payments, they can upgrade to a new smartphone or tablet.

Rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless also allow customers to upgrade their phones more frequently than the traditional two years, but the customer pays the full price of the phone in installments without a reduction in the fees for voice, text and data. Normally, the phone is subsidized, and the phone company makes it for it through monthly service fees. T-Mobile USA also allows for frequent updates; customers pay $10 a month to participate. For all customers, T-Mobile has reduced the service fees while making customers pay for the phone in installments.

Sprint Corp.'s stock fell 22 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $6.26 in afternoon trading. The shares have traded between $5.61 and $7.26 over the past year.