Verizon Wireless has announced plans to start charging customers a $30 upgrade fee, even when they’re already eligible to upgrade under the terms of their contract. This makes Verizon the final major U.S. carrier to do so, as AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all do as well.
AT&T doubled its upgrade fee to $36 in February after Sprint did the same last year. T-Mobile charges an $18 fee, but that’s not likely to stay that low. Verizon was the final holdout, charging $35 to new customers, but no upgrade cut.
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Verizon says that “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.”
But its probably most likely that Verizon is introducing the fee because it can. All of its major competitors charge that much and this will give it a bump in revenue from all of those iPhone upgrades its flipping over. Verizon has also been in a period of growth, building out its 4G networks to support LTE-equipped Android devices, the new iPad and likely the next iPhone.
These kind of upgrade fees are irritating, as they’re seen as a tax on loyal customers who have fulfilled the terms of their contract when it comes to upgrades. Nevertheless, they’re a fact of life and it was just a matter of time that Verizon jumped on the bandwagon.