There is good news and bad news from Verizon Wireless. The Big Red has finally chosen to eliminate two year service agreements, but alas -- the number one wireless carrier in the United States has also decided to increase the pricing on all activation and upgrade fees. Verizon Wireless has already implemented these changes for both current and new subscribers on all postpaid plans as well as prepaid options.
Some may remember that Verizon Wireless started getting rid of standard wireless contracts back in August of last year, removing subsidized handsets for new subscribers. This meant that for those looking to sign up under the Big Red for the first time, they will need to bring their own handset, purchase a device upfront at full price, or get a new smartphone by way of the 24 month installment plan. Existing subscribers already under a two year contract still could choose to renew their plan with each handset upgrade, instead of shifting to a payment option. As for those who agree to a contract, they can access a new handset at a lower upfront price and will not be made to pay more, although it bears noting that because they agreed to a contract, they will be tied to the Big Red for a period of at least a couple of years.
But Verizon Wireless has decided to change things as the new year starts. When the time comes to upgrade, current subscribers under a two year plan will now have to either purchase a brand new device at full price, or avail of an installment option and repay their handset costs over a period of two years.
In other words, customers will be able to change their service any time they want, but they will still be required to pay out their remaining installment balance if they choose to terminate their Verizon Wireless plan early. Strictly speaking, mobile users will still be made to sign a contract, but because the contract is technically for the handset (and not the mobile plan), the Big Red is promoting it as a zero contract option. To date, only one other major US wireless carrier, Sprint, is offering a two year agreement and subsidized device cost to both existing and new subscribers.
And now for the bad news -- activating a new handset or upgrading an old device meant paying fees of $20 for each device. Now, the Big Red has increased the amount to $30 (a flat fee applying to any device). Originally, handsets purchased via Verizon Wireless’ payment option did not come with upgrade fees, but the industry leader debuted a $20 fee last year, with subsidized devices coming with a $40 fee.
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