Verizon Wireless has announced plans to start charging a $30 upgrade fee for new handsets as of April 22nd. It was the last main US carrier to have an upgrade fee in place, but alas, now everyone must suffer henceforth.
Verizon is supposedly making up for the decline in profit margins last quarter due to subsidies for the iPhone among other things. While carriers make huge heaps of money from new customers or customers switching from a regular feature phone to a smartphone, customers moving from smartphone to smartphone when their contracts expire don’t often reel in much revenue. Verizon is hoping the $30 upgrade fee will change that.
Straight from Verizon’s press release:
This fee will help us continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect which includes Wireless Workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts who provide advice and guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever.
That’s PR-talk for “We want more money.” Luckily, Verizon is kind enough to point out their trade-in program for old devices. Participating in it will allow to save money off of the new purchase or waive the upgrade fee entirely.
Don’t feel bad, Verizon subscribers. Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile all have had upgrade fees in place for some time now. They have yet to make sense to anyone and Verizon’s is no different, but at least you aren’t paying for something that others aren’t. Plus, AT&T recently doubled its upgrade fee in February to $36.
It’s all good. Sort of.