Verizon said today that it’s going to start charging its customers $30 to upgrade their phone. This is a fee all of its top rivals already charge, with some asking more and some less.
This new fee will go into effect on Sunday, April 22. According to Verizon, “This fee will help us continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect”.
For comparison sake, AT&T and Sprint have a $36 upgrade fee. T-Mobile’s is lower: $18. These are charged whenever a customer buys a replacment handset at a lower subsized cost because they have signed up for a two-year wireless contract.
As smartphones grow in popularity, carriers are looking for ways to defray their costs. Although customers typically pay $200 or less for these products, the carriers pay the device makers hundreds of dollars more for each unit. They make up the difference with a percentage of each month’s service charge, as well as upgrade fees.
Verzon pointed out that customers have the option of trading in their old unit for cash, which can help defray the cost of the upgrade.