Verizon today announced that upgrades will now take longer, extending the wait time from 20 to 24 months, and that they'll be harder to get, disallowing upgrades between device types. Here's the new deal, according to Verizon:
- In alignment with the terms of the contract, customers on a two-year agreement will be eligible for an upgrade at 24 months vs. today's early upgrade eligibility at 20 months. This change aligns the upgrade date with the contract end date and is consistent with how the majority of customers purchase new phones today. The first customers impacted by this change are customers whose contracts expire in January 2014. As always, customers may purchase a new phone at the full retail price at any time.
- Customers also have the option of purchasing a phone at full price at any point before their contract expires and beginning April 21, some devices will be available for purchase through the Verizon Wireless Device Payment Plan.
- The New Every Two program ended in January of 2011. Verizon Wireless has continued to allow customers to utilize these expired credits. However, as of April 15, these credits will no longer be available.
- Customers may continue to share an upgrade with another person on an account if that customer is upgrading to a device within the same equipment category. Customers can utilize a phone upgrade to purchase a new phone; however, the option to transfer upgrades from non-phone devices (such as a Jetpack or tablet) will no longer be available.
The reason for the changes, apparently, is that competition is so strong in the US, networks so equally robust and performant, consumers enjoy so many and such varied choice, that Verizon feels confident they can be even less customer friendly and anyone who doesn't like it can just switch to any of the other dozens and dozens of options.
No, wait. That's an alternate universe. Verizon's doing it because they can, and unless you're lucky enough to work, live, and play in a place where one of the other carriers is cheaper and better, they know you're stuck with them.
Or maybe that's just me. How do you feel about Verizon's new upgrade policy?
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.