According to a report from Apple Insider, Verizon is set to introduce a new “upgrade fee” to customers. What does that mean? Starting on April 4, if you’re a Verizon customer you’ll have to pay $20 just for the privilege of upgrading your phone. Even when you upgrade that phone by buying one through the company.
Currently there is no fee associated with upgrading to a new phone at Verizon, but the new fee will be charged under its Device Payment Plan as well as if you buy the phone outright. You’ll even be handing over $20 if you are part of Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program.
Of course, it’s important to mention that Verizon isn’t the only company to do something like this. Sprint charges a hefty $36 for device upgrades, and AT&T charges $15. T-Mobile, in typical T-Mobile fashion, charges nothing.
According to the reports, Verizon will still charge a $40 upgrade fee for those on two-year contracts, and those who bring their own device will not be charged a fee. So why is there a fee in the first place? You mean apart from the fact that Verizon is trying to scam you out of more of your money, right?
“The upgrade fee helps cover our increased support costs associated with customers switching devices,” said a Verizon spokesperson in a statement to ZDNet. “Customers can pay the charge when they upgrade, bill it to their account or trade in an old device to offset the cost. The fee for upgrading on device payment is still half of the two-year contract upgrade fee.”
So what does this mean for you? Well, let’s assume you are a Verizon customer who wants to upgrade to the iPhone 6s. At full retail price, for the 16GB version (although let’s be honest, who wants 16GB?), you’ll pay $649.99. Alternatively, you could pay monthly installments of $27.08 for 24 months. On top of either of those prices, you’ll pay an extra $20, or a little less than $1 per month. Sure, it doesn’t sound that bad when put like that, but the fact remains that Verizon is simply trying to get more money at your expense.
Basically, if you’re a Verizon customer looking to upgrade to a new phone, you can save $20 by doing it before April 4.
Perhaps the best way to do things, if you’re willing, is to buy a phone unlocked directly from Apple. This way, you have complete control over your device. If you want to leave and go to another carrier, easy peasy. Plus, no phony $20 “upgrade fee.”
If you’re in a rural area with not much network coverage, then perhaps Verizon really is the best choice for you, but if you happen to live in a city, then you should consider T-Mobile. The company has been making strides in the mobile world of late, largely being credited for coming up with installment plans for a device, and not locking customers into years-long contracts. Not only that, but T-Mobile customers also have other benefits, like the ability to stream from a large variety of services without that affecting your data limits. Oh, and there’s the fact that T-Mobile’s plans are way cheaper.
T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan has been gaining in popularity extremely quickly over the past year or so. For $50 per month, you get unlimited talk and text, and 2GB of data. For $65, you get 6GB of data. For $30, you get 10GB of data. Last but not least, for $95, you get unlimited data. Think I’m talking data limits? Think again. After you hit your allotment of data, you’ll simply be throttled down to 3G speeds at no charge.
When it comes to Verizon, things are a little different. You’ll get unlimited talk and text, sure, but the cheapest data option is $50 for 1GB. For $65, you’ll get 3GB. For $80, 6GB. The top option is $120, for 18GB. There’s not even an unlimited option. Oh, and if you happen to hit your data limit, get ready for overage fees.
You might have guessed that I’m not much of a Verizon fan, and you would be right. Unfortunately, however, some people just don’t have a choice but to go with Verizon. If you’re one of them, I’m sorry, but it looks like you’ll be paying $20 next time you want to upgrade phones.