Home Tech Verizon Ditches Contracts and Raises Upgrade Fees

Verizon Ditches Contracts and Raises Upgrade Fees

written by Jude Kasekamp January 8, 2017

Happy New Year, Verizon subscribers! If you’re still in a contract (how early 21st Century), you won’t be able to renew. The carrier is forcing existing customer into a new contract-free plan with device payments. That is actually very good for subscribers. The bad news? You’ll still have to pay an upgrade fee, which just went up by 50%.

Verizon Wireless logo on glass

At CES 2017, T-Mobile announced all-in plans that don’t charge surprise fees and taxes. T-Mobile’s eccentric CEO John Legere says he’s on a brash crusade to revolutionize the industry. While battling objections of data prioritization and HD up-charges, one of Legere’s favorite targets is Verizon. The nation’s biggest carrier seems to have been sticking to their old ways. However, once Big Red announced their Verizon EDGE plans back in 2015, it was only a matter of time before they phased out contracts entirely.

While the concept of contracts is being trashed as a relic of the past, some things don’t change. Verizon will now charge a $30 fee every time you upgrade your financed phone, $10 more than they charged last week.

On Verizon’s FAQ page:

You will be charged a $30 upgrade fee if you purchase a new device at retail price or through the device payment program.

Some people are clinging to the way things were, and may see contracts’ demise as a negative. Ultimately, transparency is best, and device subsidies were never entirely good for consumers. It is too bad that the wireless industry has taken this long to evolve.

Verizon seems to be playing it safe, changing their policies relatively slowly. Increasing the cost of upgrade fees may be a strategy to recoup shrinking profit margins from the increasingly more competitive wireless landscape. Verizon has been losing its network advantage, though the carrier is still sitting comfortably in 1st place in coverage and customer base.

What do you geeks think about this changing field? Are you happy with your carrier, or have you lost all hope for wireless service in the United States?

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