Verizon has been getting a lot of attention this week, with its official announcement Tuesday that it will offer the iPhone. But a quieter development on the Verizon front, The Wall Street Journal reports, is its less-publicized news that it is changing its upgrade policies–a change the report says will ultimately make phones more expensive for Verizon’s customers.
According to the article: “Verizon officials have confirmed what SmartMoney was told by Verizon sales reps at a number of stores around the country: The company is ending its popular ‘New Every Two’ program, which offers Verizon subscribers a credit of $30 to $100 toward a new phone every two years. As of Jan. 16, the company will stop offering the credit to new customers and won’t re-enroll current customers in the program after their next New Every Two upgrade. The cell carrier is also putting the brakes on its permissive early upgrade policy, store representatives confirmed.”
The changes mean more out-of-pocket expense for the company’s customers, the story says. “With the New Every Two perk, a longtime customer with a $100 credit could get the iPhone4 for $99.99–half off its new-subscriber price of $199.99,” The Journal story reports. “When the program ends, new subscribers will no longer be eligible for those discounts. Existing customers will lose the perk when they renew their contracts (unless they renew before Jan. 16–but that date is well before iPhone orders will be taken). And with the end of the early upgrade program, customers who were previously eligible for discounted phones as early as 13 months into a two-year contract will now have to wait 20 months to get a new phone at the promotional new-customer price instead of retail (for the iPhone, that’s currently a difference of $400).”