Many of are used to upgrading to a new mobile phone every couple of years and receiving the new phone either for free or at a greatly reduced price. But if you are a Verizon customer, that perk is about to come to an end.
The major cell carriers have traditionally offered their customers a selection of subsidized phones in exchange for having them sign on to two year contracts. If a customer subsequently canceled their contract before the two years was up, they would have to pay for the phone by coughing up a huge Early Termination Fee.
Carrier T-Mobile did away with long-term contracts and subsidized phones in March 2013, and now Verizon is planning to do away with them too, and soon. Beginning August 13, Verizon will stop giving away phones or selling them at a discount.
In exchange, Verizon customers will no longer have to agree to be locked into a long-term contract and pay a large fee if they wish to cancel the contract early. All new plans will basically be on a month-to-month basis. You’ll just pay a flat fee each month based upon how much data you think you’ll need.
I expect the other major carriers to eventually follow suit and drop their subsidized phones and long-term plans as well. When that happens, changing carriers will literally be as easy as taking your existing phone into a rival carrier’s office and having it activated by the new carrier on the spot.
Bottom line: If you have a traditional two year contract with Verizon, plan to pay full price for your next phone, but you’ll also avoid having to pay an Early Termination Fee should you decide to switch carriers.
Click here to read more about these changes on the Verizon website.