Verizon set to add new $20 charge to smartphone upgrades [Update]

Update: In a statement to Droid Life, Verizon confirmed the move, saying:

"The upgrade fee helps cover our increased support costs associated with customers switching devices. 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."

Original story: Verizon is reportedly preparing to implement a new upgrade fee for most of its customers. While customers on two-year contracts currently pay $40 to upgrade their device, the carrier will apparently implement a new $20 charge for upgrades on device payment plans, as well as those upgrades purchased for their full retail price, beginning Monday, April 4.

A supposed Verizon memo, obtained by Apple rumor site MacRumors, outlines the changes.

Verizon reportedly set to add $20 charge to smartphone upgrades

As noted in the memo, Verizon claims that the charge is necessitated by "increasing support costs associated with customers switching their devices." The only groups not seeing the new fee are those on two-year contracts, who already pay one, and those that bring their own devices to the carrier.

Both AT&T and Sprint charge similar activation and upgrade fees, with AT&T charging both for upgrades through its Next program, as well as for when you bring your own device. Sprint's upgrade and activation fees can go as high as $36.

Joseph Keller
77 Comments
  • Carriers, dont you just love 'em?
  • lol, these american carriers. :D
  • Basically a fee for doing nothing.....
  • More like a fee for delaying and blocking updates, lol. Posted from Bikini Bottom via my ShellPhone 950 XL
  • Yep. Odds that they implement a credit for customers who have a clue and never use tech support? Uh huh. Really they just want more money. Carriers are becoming like airlines -- "cheap" tickets but you have to pay extra for luggage, food, etc. that all used to be included in the price.
  • I like that idea. If the customer hasn't used tech support before the end of the contract, give the fee back as a statement credit. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • For a moment a thought they were going to charge for mobile software updates... Windows Central App for Windows 10
    Lumia 630 build .164
  • Shh, don't give them any ideas....
  • Same here! :-D
  • Yeah. I initially read it that way too. Both are stupid ideas.
  • It's such a bs fee too. _________________________________________________
    Sprint (9 1/2 years) - Samsung SPH-A460, Sanyo PM-8200(S), Samsung A900 "Blade" & Samsung SPH-M620 "Upstage" simultaneously (2 lines), Samsung Instinct & Samsung Upstage simultaneously (2 lines), Palm Pre & Palm Pixi simultaneously (2 lines), HTC Evo, HTC Arrive:::::. Verizon (since March 2012) - iPhone 4s, HP Pre3...........Finally back to Windows Phone with the HTC 8x (iPhone 4s as work line, HP Pre3 to play with). Then the Lumia Icon and the Lumia 735 for work.
  • That's a crap signature
  • That's a crap statement , Dooosshy McDooosherson. There's no basis for it except to be antagonistic. Way to be, Dickereen.
  • Confused as to why we're still talking about Verizon on Windows Central? I made the switch to AT&T after Verizon gave us the cold shoulder and I haven't looked back. Good riddance.
  • They are a carrier who sells Windows Phones...
  • but are they really?
  • I believe his point is that they do not support their windows phones. Which is why I switched back to att after going to verizon
  • As long as the story isn't platform specific, then usually carrier related stories appear on all the Mobile Nations sites.
  • Same here I switched in 2012 got the 920 instead of staying with Verizon and taking the 828. Getting all the better phones with AT&T.☺ Posted Via Win Central App for Win 10.
    Posted from my Lumina 950 on AT&T.
  • I'm so glad I finally dumped Verizon a few months ago.  Now, I get much better coverage in my area, more services and all for a lower monthly price.  Oh, and I don't get crap at the new carrier for wanting a Windows device.
  • We just left Verizon after 6mos. Yesterday. Went back to att. Had att for 7yrs. Before the switch. Verizon blows
  • I've come to the conclusion that t-mobile finally has good enough coverage in my area to leave Verizon. Working on buying a GSM phone to try it out. +Lumia 929
  • I left last year to TMO with 4 lines with unlimited data.
  • just get a lumia 640 of 550(both have band 12). of course, the 950 is awesome if you can swing the extra cash.
  • Ya I like the 640 better than the 550, gonna try something cheap first. If it works well I'd like to get the 950 to replace my Icon. Nice thing about no contracts is you can do that kind of fun stuff. +Lumia 929
  • The 640 hasn't long left before Full public Release of W10M renders it useless, as it's so demanding. Windows Central W10 Lumia 650.
  • I hope you realize your 650 will be in the same boat if that is true. The 650 only runs 100MHz faster than 640 and is virtually identical in most other respects. 640 even has 500 extra mAh in the battery.
  • Do you not realise how much more efficient, responsive, the 212 chip runs things needed for a smooth W10M Experience. That the SD400 chip can't even contemplate the extra 500mAh battery is irrelevant. The 650 is a good capable phone.
  • It also costs more than twice as much from where I'm standing, which kinda defeats the purpose of me buying a cheap phone to try out a GSM network, doesn't it? As I stated before, my intention is to buy a 950 if it works out well, as I'm ultimately looking for a replacement for my Icon.
  • What makes the public release of W10M more demanding than the Insider Previews?   I've been switching back and forth between a 640 (that cost me $40 off-contract, btw) and an S5 Active.  Sometimes I switch to the 640 when my battery is low and I can't stay near a charger.  Sometimes it's because my S5 is being a pain and running exceptionally slow.  The 640 on W10M (IP, Slow Ring) runs VERY well.  The only thing keeping me off of it full time is the weak camera, and a few other little nitpicky things that are the OS itself, not how it runs on the phone.
  • The AT&T fee must be for new customers on BYOD.   Existing customers can switch devices all they want.
  • Yeah, I don't get the AT&T part.  I swap my sim between phones all the time, seamlessly and without any interaction or cost from AT&T.  I wonder if it just means if you're paying Next payments, which I don't do since I'm BYOD.
  • No I just bought my wife a 950 the other day on the next plan I paid tax and that was it, no fee involved. I have the 950 also and again the day I got it no fee just tax. Posted Via Win Central App for Win 10.
    Posted from my Lumina 950 on AT&T.
  • The tyranny of these carriers is amazing.
  • I'm glad I switched to prepaid 7 years ago. I don't know how people put up with this stuff.
  • Yeah, once you go prepaid it's hard to stomach the thievery of these carriers.
  • Yep. Even on Verizon prepaid is actually a decent deal when you consider their good coverage. Only reason I'm leaving them is because they don't give a crap about Windows.
  • Yep I have the 55 dollar go phone plan and get unlimited everything with 5gb of lte data plus rollover data. I have a signal literally everywhere. Now please anyone out there that can top that?
  • Look at you, Mr. Moneybags! I've got unlimited everything for $40 a month, data speeds capped after 3GB.
  • I'm paying Cricket (which uses AT&T's towers) $45 a month for 5GB of data.  Even though the speed is capped, it's still fast enough for music streaming and HD videos.  That same 5GB plan on AT&T would cost me $75 plus another $10 once you add in taxes and fees.  That's a very noticeable price increase for what is essentially the same service. 
  • I'm on Cricket too. Agreed that it's a good service and I'm on the cheap $40 plan since I'm on Wi-Fi most of the time and barely use my data.
  • We're thinking of switching to Cricket as well once our contract is up.  I don't think my wife quite gets that we'll have to pay for our phones up front, so I'm expecting a fight once she sees how much her phone really costs, lol. We're on AT&T now, and I don't like the bloatware they have, but it's still better than Verizon.  And on W10M at least you can truly delete some of it! 
  • It's for her own good. She'll treat her devices better once she knows what they really cost. But the money you save reach month will probly get her attention in a positive way.
  • It's actually her idea... We're paying 160 for 2 lines sharing 2 GB of data (we easily stay under), with Next 18 payments.  She's complaining about the cost. But with the phone payments and insurance, we're not really saving much compared to Cricket, just getting more data.  We'll be down to about $100 once the payments are up, if we drop the insurance. But she constantly complains that her phone "sucks", and she cracked her screen.  I told her she'll have to pay full price to replace her phone, and she said she doesn't care, she'll just take her current phone to Cricket.  I was like...what?  Women make my brain hurt sometimes....  I may have hers repaired under insurance, and hope that she can take care of it for a while.  But I'm not too keen on having to pay upfront for whatever I get, mostly because I need my total bill to more than what I get reimbursed for at work to use corp. e-mail.  Without my phone price added in there, it'll drop below the threshold and it'll actually cost me more!
  • Over all as technology progresses instead of making things more affordable they just want to make more money... everytime they say "We need to increase price to cover infrastructure maintenance cost." I would love to see thier actuall bills... I get there are cost associated with it, however, with how horrible all aspects of support are, how much of that money IS actually going to what they say they are spending thier money...
  • Indian people dont need to pay :P
  • You don't pay in the UK not that I have noticed.
  • Carriers in Canada have been charging $35 upgrade fee for as long as i can remember. Some carriers don't do it but the excuses they use are complete BS.  Save the $20 and a contactract and just purchase out right if you can. Contract free and upgrade fee free for 4 years ;)
  • Never paid it or had to pay upfront for my ativ just mentioned ww had it at $0 & Rogers comped me. Only thing I hate is having to pay for unlock for a phone that has long ago been paid off
  • So basically, even if I buy my phone outright, even not from Verizon, change the sim over myself from my current phone, they still charge $20 on my next bill... I wonder if that applies anytime you swap the sim out of one phone and put it in another? Like I have an 8x and a 735, so I decide to run my 8x for a little bit, pop in the sim, and they charge me $20?
  • No. It's only when you upgrade a phone through Verizon. If you go into a Verizon store and fork over full retail cost of a phone or pay for it on one of their device installment plans, they hit your next bill for a $20 activation fee.
  • That's why I am never ever EVER going back to a CDMA carrier, even one such as Verizon that hands down has the best network. GSM and unlocked phones it is for me.
  • The fee will double for WP users.
  • Glad I left them 3+ years ago. Between that, and the garbage support for Windows, I was able to leave for AT&T without any hesitation.
  • ATT for the win!
  • Anything you want to do at Verizon includes a fee.
  • None of this affects Windows Phone users because Verizon hasn't gotten a new WP in forever.
  • These carriers are insane. Honestly I can't decide who are the bigger criminals, the guys in D.C. or the US telcos.
  • Try hedge fund mangers or the pharmaceutical industry. Thrives I tell you. All of them.
  • Lol
  • I won't ever sign on to a phone contract. The unlocked 950 works just fine for me.
  • Yup. Got dinged for it last nigt when I ordered the S7 Edge.
  • Since when does Verizon offer BYOD?
  • Last year I purchased an Icon off of Ebay for my wife.  Verizon charged a $40 activation fee.  It was almost like BYOD, but with a Verizon branded phone.
  • Buy unlocked. Sign up with T mobile
  • This is why I'm so glad I moved to Cricket. Super cheap plan ($35) with more data than I had before, and when I travel to Canada I can get the $45 plan and actually use data there, unlike Verizon even though we had a Canada plan! No stupid fees like this (that I'm aware of), either. I get really good coverage as well (maybe not as good as Verizon's, but I can rarely tell a difference). And no carriers blocking updates on my unlocked 950.
  • So once every two years you'll have to pay 20 bucks? That's about the only impact for most people. Wow. I can totally understand all of the rage...
  • MS and VZ keep taking turns with their customers. Then they tag team us, one not supporting Windows Phone and the other won't have anything to do with Windows Phones. 
  • It takes two seconds to change a phone. Literally about no work. I use to work for Verizon and att. This additional fee is bonkers.
  • Corporate greed at its best. I change my device regardless if I buy it from you and I get the privilege of paying you 20.00 .... :: applause ::
  • Att neglected to charge me for my 950XL from my att 920, but maybe that's because I bought it from MS.
  • Glad I am on T-Mobile.
  • Just buy your own phone. I got a 640 and left VZW for T-Mobile. Cut my monthly fees by almost 50% and couldn't be happier. VZW is like a cable company, they treat you like dirt.
  • Verizon, the bailout bandits.  This fee will do nothing but hurt mid range owners on Verizon. People with means won't feel this but those will less will be hurt by Verizon shifting more of the costs of paying csrs to everyone using that service.  Verizon ceos are a bunch of criminals that should be thrown in jail.
  • Dropped vzw like a bad habit last year and I am so happy to say they aren't getting my money. I hope they fail.
  • T Mobile is going to use this for their advantage. What a SCAM. After you pay full price ($500+) you have to give them $20 for what? Bunch of crooks. I'm a T-MO customer and hopefully they don't start doing that too.
  • I'm so happy with project fi! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android