Smartphones have changed the way we communicate with others for the better. There are messaging apps that allow us to have digital conversations with anyone, anywhere in the world in real-time. We can even have face-to-face conversations with those same people with services like FaceTime and Skype. It truly is amazing!
One downside to these wonderful innovations is the rising costs that come with these using these gadgets. Verizon quietly made a couple changes over the weekend that will cost its customers more money.
Telecommunication companies have been changing the way customers are charged for quite some time now. These changes have typically been an effort to account for the climbing use of data.
It seems as technology improves, the more data we use. Some people use so much data that last year Verizon began suspending users' accounts that were consuming "an extraordinary amount of data."
Verizon's account changes
The first change that Verizon made over the weekend was to its activation and upgrade fee. The fee used to be $20 when you purchased and activated a new phone. That fee has been raised to $30.
The second, and more substantial change, is the elimination of two-year contracts. That's right, if you're an existing Verizon customer, you will not be given the chance to sign another contract when the one you have now expires.
The company started this practice in 2015 for all new customers. Now, even if you have been with Verizon for years, the option of signing a two-year contract is gone. Verizon confirmed to FierceWireless that both of these changes went into effect on January 5, 2017.
This pretty much ends the days where telecommunication companies would help subsidize the cost of a new phone. Now, customers are being required to sign up for equipment installment plans (EIP). This is a device payment option allowing you to purchase a new phone with monthly payments.
According to Verizon's website, here is how device payments work:
Monthly device payments provide you the flexibility to get the most current devices by making monthly payments over time rather than paying for it all up front. You'll make a monthly payment until your device is paid off.
The program requires you to enter a device installment agreement to pay for the device in monthly payments over 24 months.
- There is a one-time $30 activation fee when you activate a new line through the device payment program.
- There is a $30 upgrade fee when you add a new device to an existing line through the device payment program.
- The specific terms and payment amounts can be found in your first bill and your device payment installment agreement.
- Your monthly device payments will be charged on your bill.
- You can choose to pay the installments over the full period of the term or in a lump sum to pay off the total price at any time.
Verizon isn't the only carrier to eliminate two-year contracts. In fact, these seem to be going away for everyone. T-Mobile and AT&T had already eliminated two-year contracts previously.
Some people could see this as a positive, as you're no longer locked into the same carrier for two years. The downside is the extra costs for the new phone.
One great benefit of sticking with the same carrier in the past was the free, or less than the retail price you pay for the latest and greatest smartphone. Without this feature, it might be time to look into changing carriers and finding the one that offers you the best deal.