First word surfaced that Verizon would be shaking things up, switching from 20 months to 24 months for device upgrades. A short while later, a document was leaked to the folks over at Droid Life suggesting that the carrier would be rolling out a payment plan for smartphones. On the heels of that leak is an updated announcement by Verizon confirming the rumor.
According to Verizon, beginning April 21, customers will be able to purchase some smartphones with a Verizon Wireless Device Payment Plan. It didn't specify which smartphones would be available under the plan, nor if more will be added over time or if the feature will remain available only to a select few. Customers can buy a new handset at its full price whenever they'd like, regardless of whether they're still under a contract.
This is in addition to the early upgrade, with two-year contract customers no long being able to upgrade early at 20 months, instead having to wait the full 24 months. With the change, the upgrade becomes possible on the day the two-year contract comes to an end. This change applies to Verizon subscribers who contract comes to its end in January 2014; those with a contract end date that is earlier won't be affected.
There have been a couple other changes as well, including putting an end to the use of New Every Two credits on April 15, which is this coming Monday. Finally, customers can't toggle a non-cell phone device upgrade to a phone upgrade. This follows the carrier's rollout of a $35 prepaid plan for feature phones, which was also announced today.