Verizon Wireless announced some changes on Friday that are sure to make their customers less than pleased. The carrier had been letting customers that were on a two year contract upgrade to a new, subsidized device after 20 months. However, starting with those whose contracts expire next January, customers will have to wait the full 24 months.
Customers will also be able to share an eligible upgrade with another person on their account. However, as of April 15, Verizon won’t let you transfer an upgrade from a hotspot, tablet or other non-phone device. Also, Verizon is not letting customers use expired credits from its discontinued “New Every Two” program.
The carrier does helpfully note that they’ll be glad to upgrade any customers willing to pay the full, unsubsidized price of a new phone at any time.
Verizon’s main competitor, AT&T, does allow customers to upgrade after 20 months, they do however allow an “early upgrade” with a larger initial payment. Sprint also offers upgrades after 20 months.
Verizon’s moves today should lengthen times between upgrades for their customers, and of course boost profit margins.
T-Mobile, bucking the trends in the industry, recently rolled out its new “uncarrier” plans, which allow customers to buy an iPhone 5 for $100 down plus 24 monthly payments of $20. While magenta network customers can buy a new phone at any time, they will still be responsible for the monthly payments on their prior phone purchases.