2012-04-13 03h53_52

As if you needed another reason to hate cell phone contracts. For the last few years, Verizon's upgrade cycle has been 20 months long - that is, you bought a new, discounted phone on-contract, and you could upgrade after 20 months. (Not to be confused with the cellular contract itself, which is a full 2 years/24 months.) According to an official statement from Verizon Wireless, customers now have to wait the full 24 months before upgrading.

Here's the relevant text from the announcement:

Upgrade eligibility begins at the end of 24-month contract. The change allows customers to plan on a single upgrade date for each of their connected devices and is in keeping with how the majority of customers purchase their new phones today. The first customers impacted by this change are customers whose contracts expire in January 2014. Customers may purchase a new phone at the full retail price at any time prior to the end of their contract.

In case you can't read past the contractual jargon (and it made my eyes cross for a while) it means that if you bought a new, subsidized phone or tablet and signed a Verizon contract in January 2012 or later, you've just had your upgrade pushed back by a third of a year. New customers who take phone subsidies will be subject to the same rules. If you pay full price, or if you've already passed the term of your original contract, you're eligible for a subsidy at any time.

This new policy stands in stark contrast to T-Mobile's new system, not to mention AT&T, which has kept the 20-month period. (Given how Big Red and Ma Bell tend to copy each other's policies, they might just follow suit after a while.) In any case, Verizon's justification of "allow[ing] customers to plan on a single upgrade date for each of their connected devices" seems somewhat less than genuine.

Verizon Wireless News Center - Verizon Wireless Changes Upgrade Eligibility

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • renatofontes

    T-mobile! =D

  • Mehmet Fatih YILDIRIM

    Why does Verizon want me harder?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

      I think it's a roundabout way of saying Verizon is a dick. Always trying to give us the shaft.

  • jbworldwide1

    What a big oppressive thumb Verizon has become.

    • cyber75sax

      Thumb wasn't the appendage I was picturing.

      • Christopher Bement

        Clitoris? Rectal Polyp? Goiter?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sethly Seth Muscarella

    As a Verizon customer, I actually had always thought it was a 24-month cycle right along with the contract renewal. So yeah, THAT is why most of their users upgrade that way already; they never knew.

    • RaptorOO7

      Your online account manager tells you when you are eligible, and when the contract ends. I looked up all of my lines today, 6 devices in total, my smartphone is going to AT&T, two modems are being canceled and merged into 1 big modem (paying retail) so I am cutting down to 3 lines by EOM. By this time next year I will have 2 devices left our tablets. That's it, leaving in a big hurry.

  • cyber75sax

    This deal keeps getting worse every time...

    • Kenny O

      I can neither confirm nor deny that when asked about this Verizon's CEO said "I am altering the deal, pray I don't alter it any further...."

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cory-Wilson/1536862974 Cory Wilson

    AT&T is 18 months, I dunno where 20 months came from. I always get an upgrade 6 months before my 2 year is up

    • http://www.facebook.com/DaATXMan Danny Davis

      Scary thing though is AT&T likes to follow VZW curtails. This will be a major disappointment if AT&T decides the same. I have two numbers with them and be debating the switch to TMo, but I'm just not confident in their service and they don't have the best of flagship phones I like. Although that might be changing with the new look. Prospect of a Sony Z is lovely. But their lack in WP phones is dull. I like both OS and use both now on AT&T. So we'll see how this plays out with them.

      • RaptorOO7

        IF AT&T is smart they will use this to their advantage and start grabbing up new subs off of this. Right now, its my smartphone, next year its my home connect box moving to AT&T, the only devices I will have on Verizon will be my iPad which is too expensive of a device to sell and recoup the money on right now.

      • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know


      • Mateo

        You realize all at&t phones are fully compatible on Tmo's network as long as you unlock them? You can buy a prepaid tmo SIM and test out the network on your phone

  • RampageDeluxe

    This seems like a very bad idea for Verizon. If a customer can renew their contract before their previous contract is up, you have a better chance of keeping that customer for a longer term. If you wait the full 24 months, you have less of a chance of keeping people longer. I've already decided to leave Verizon, but if not, I would look at my choices more closely knowing that I wouldn't have much of an incentive to stay put.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

      It also doesn't like they would be gaining anything financially, which won't be able to offset the negative publicity for once again pulling a dick move.

      This seems like the "we're going to start charging you a fee if you want to pay your bill with a credit card" fiasco all over again.

      • RaptorOO7

        Oh, but I am sure this is part of their strategy to move to no contract pricing where we pay retail for phones and still don't get a discount on the service. GS4 pre-orders start next week, here I come AT&T.

        • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

          I think that is their ultimate goal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

    Every time Verizon Wireless does something like this (where it suddenly decides to implement a new policy/program/feature that only benefits them and not their customers), I get pissed off all over again and start contemplating who I can switch to. And then I realize that there are no legitimate contenders, for one reason or another.

    When I first heard about Sprint going to LTE, I was convinced that would be my new service provider, but I've yet to hear anything good enough about them for me to switch. And I'm pretty sure they have data caps.

    With T-Mobile's new announcement, I now think they will be my next service provider, but their LTE is a little too new for me to make the switch. I absolutely love that they're not forcing their customers to subsidize phone purchases.

    Honestly, the only reason I haven't switch from Verizon yet is because I still have unlimited data. I'm way beyond the end of my contract, but I wanted to keep my unlimited data so badly that I paid full retail for my GS3, just so I didn't have to sign a new contract. It sucks that I basically have to pay for my phone twice because of the subsidization, but data caps just seem immoral to me. Plus, Verizon hasn't actually done anything wrong to me personally in awhile, but I swear if they look at me the wrong way, I'm gone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matteo-Rodrigo/1340430528 Matteo Rodrigo

      When they introduced share only plans and told me as an individual my cheapest plan was $100 plus fees, they immediately got off my radar. T-Mobile is looking more and more like the best option of you have coverage

    • Patrick Washington

      There are no data caps on sprint. The only TRULY unlimited carrier who doesn't throttle over a certain allotment. But unless you know how sprints coverage is in your area, I wouldn't make that move until you know all the details. In my area sprint is the bomb, but thats not the case everywhere.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

        I'm in the northeast (NJ/NY), but also spend time in FL. I don't think I know anyone with Sprint to even ask.

        Are they really unlimited? I thought there was still a catch.

        • brandonc1979

          No catch... full unlimited data.

          • s44

            The catch is molasses-slow 3G and incredibly limited LTE coverage.

          • Trey Holland

            This is changing (Already has here in much of NC) and every tower in the country should be upgraded with super fast 3g and LTE by the end of 2013. It's in many places now, but those not in big cities will have to wait just a few more months.

          • kirbnite

            The catch is, that you may have sevice in an area pulling a non-sprint tower. That usage is not unlimited and WILL get throttled or service terminated depending on how much data you use off of the non sprint tower.

          • DoctorRabbitfoot

            Not really a catch. Coverage and speeds differ largely on location. I had fast 3G where I live with Sprint (but have visited places with horrible 3G speeds).

      • giant22000

        T-Mobile offers truely uncapped, unthrottled unlimited!

    • RaptorOO7

      Sprint will take time to switch to LTE, but with Softbank's money they can hopefully get moving faster. AT&T is just as big and is pushing LTE forward and I can see serious improvement in my market. Verizon keeps making dick moves that benefit them and their attitude is we are the best network so bend over and take it. No thanks, I am willing to live with a little bit of annoyance now and then to get free. My wife's phone is pre-paid $100 a year so in a pinch I do have her phone if needed. AT&T here I come, so don't be a bigger dick than the current big dick Verizon.

    • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

      Unless you use unlimited you are being scammed out of your money, hard.

    • Huntrowmar

      I think if you purchase a phone thru the Amazon store, you don't have to change from your unlimited data plan. That's what I've been told.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matteo-Rodrigo/1340430528 Matteo Rodrigo

    Unless you're in an area where VZ is your only option, I don't get eggy you'd have them. Most expensive and arrogant carrier out there

    • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

      Coverage. if you travel a lot especially they beat everyone else hands down. They know it too and are taking full advantage.

  • RaptorOO7

    So first they tell us that no one wanted 1 year contracts and they cut our discounts and FORCED us into 2 year deals and now they say they are taking away the upgrade option at 20 months. This is why I am leaving for AT&T, maybe they aren't better but I can get more unlocked options and screw contracts.

  • Marsg

    I have an upgrade coming up, so will it effect that or will it go into effect after I get my current upgrade?

    • Bonstrow

      You need to check if your upgrade is part of the "new every 2" plan or if you have any "credits" from that, if so then you need to use them by 4/15 . I personally just spoke to a VZ rep cause Im also due for upgrade. My upgrade is not part of "new for 2" so I can upgrade anytime w no time limit. My husband just upgraded to iPhone5 last month. I checked the account & he is elegible for phone upgrade 10/23/14 which is 18 months.... BUT the Contract End Date: 03/23/15... so PLAN is 2 yrs The phone update has been 18 months for ages. I dont know about the 20 mos.

      Phone upgrade & plan upgrade are 2 separate issues. My understanding is that the 18 mos device upgrade will be 18 months until 1/14.

      Personally I dont have any problems with the upgrade to "pay for data" vs the old unlimited data plan I had. We have 5 phones on a family plan... 3 wanted tp upgrade galaxy S3 phones & 2 are apple, so we didnt have any choice but to change plans. The 5 of us have 4G of data & we are paying virtually the same $300/month as w unlimited data. We all use internet but my son ate up lots of data one month by streaming music.... he doesnt do that anymore.

      We have our phones set to go to wifi whenever possible and use hot spots whenever they are available. If you stream then you will need more G.

      So Im not unhappy at this point... the change will not impact us till we upgrade phones after 1/14. Your milage may vary....

  • http://twitter.com/Atyp3 David Steven

    Ah Verizon, just giving me another reason to hate you.

  • 8BitReverend

    Is this the latest loophole for a no ETF exit from Verizon? Anyone?

  • Dan

    F off, Verizon. Nineteen more days until I'm done.

  • Shiesty

    I called sprint out on this BS a while back....So you're eligible for a upgrade after 24 months huh? Which coincidentally when you're contract expires. If im out of contract then my pricing become the same as Johnny Public who came in off the streets as a new customer. Essentially there is NO REWARD for being a loyal customer. Sprint ended up giving me 2 months of service for free. Not an equal trade off ..but ehhh better than nothing.

  • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

    Verizon is getting more and more arrogant and greedy which is saying something since they have always been that way. I paid full price for my iPhone 5 so am no longer under contract but its time to look into a Nexus 4. I just don't want to lose the great coverage Verizon has.

    • TylerChappell

      I'm in the same boat with my DNA. Fortunately, its such a great phone that it should be able to last me for the next 2 years anyway.

  • Asphyx

    I'm stuck with Verizon so makes no real difference to me anyway....

    But how do you think they get all the money to have the coverage they do?

    Things like this!

    Until Att&T, T-Mobile or Sprint gets off their butt and starts challenging Verizon for coverage Verizon will continue to get away with murder and STILL get more business than the others!

    It's either that or we all give up our Mobile devices for a year until they get the hint that there is a point we will take a stand and we are not as captive as they think we are
    Problem being we ARE as captive as they think we are because we are all addicted to data!

  • giant22000

    This is reason 3,247 why I left VZW and was jumping for joy to pay ETF's!!! I hope this company goes under! What a waste of such a great network... :(

    Do they really think there lies claiming this is best for it's customers are believable!?!?

    Hey VZW, I've got a great idea, how about charging a universal service fee every month?

    What garbage! Wake up people, leave VZW, it's the only way this crap will stop!

  • TylerChappell

    The most amusing part is that they are saying they are doing it to make users plan for a single upgrade date. WTF? How does that make any sense? Is it really so hard for a person to know when they want a new phone? No, it isn't, not even for the non-tech-savvy, Shove it, Verizon.

  • Sandcrab3

    My upgrade has been extended by 4 months. It now states, when I check upgrade eligibility, that it has been changed to agree with the contract length.
    When I bought the phone in Feb 2012, they told me that I would be eligible for upgrade in Oct 2013. It stated that every time that I checked until today. I believe that is fraudulent I would like to see someone start a class action lawsuit and have the settlement of placing it back to the 20 month timeframe for the people that were under contract before this week. Just my 2 cents worth.