While companies like T-Mobile and AT&T aim to lead the way with new and improved ways of being transparent with smartphone customers, Verizon Edge (introduced today) brings big red into the fold. This "flexible equipment payment plan" allows users who would otherwise have had to pay a relatively large fee to switch from one phone to another on the same payment plan to upgrade instead inside 6 months. This after having spread the cost of the phone over 24 months and paying off at least 50% of the phone in the first place.
It's rather simple, really - Verizon is cutting the contracts out of smartphone sales. This plan appears to be really, really similar to what T-Mobile began offering earlier this year, aiming to expand the number of choices consumers have in how they pay for their phone. While any phone that's "subsidized" by the mobile carrier it works with, the cost remains - if you pay $199 for a smartphone that's $599 "off-contract", the additional cost is rolled in to your 2-year contract monthly payments, whether you can see them or not.
"Here’s how it works: Choose the phone you want and sign up for a month-to-month service plan, it’s as easy as that. The full retail price of the phone will be divided over 24 months and you’ll pay the first month at the time of purchase. If you want to upgrade after 6 months, just pay off 50% of the full retail price of the phone and you can choose a new phone and start all over again.
There are no long-term service contracts, finance charges or upgrade fees with Verizon Edge. Every six months, as long as 50 percent of the cost of the phone has been paid, you can upgrade to the newest basic or smartphone available." - David Samberg for Verizon
This all comes not long after both Verizon and AT&T pushed their upgrade time requirements to 24 months, one after the other.
Have a read of our looks as T-Mobile "Jump" article for more information on the carrier's efforts to allow switching of smartphones while their Uncarrier plans lead the way with up-front and clear pricing on the hardware itself, in the first place.
Meanwhile AT&T's latest efforts include Yearly updates and device trade-ins. T-Mobile quickly responded to AT&T's announcement of their "Next plan" earlier this week with a declaration that it was "all wrong." We'll be expecting something similar from the carrier now that Verizon has revealed something similar.