Back around April of last year, Verizon added a $20 phone upgrade fee, something instituted for the purpose of covering “increased support costs associated with customers switching devices.” That increase apparently wasn’t enough, as Verizon has quietly bumped that $20 upgrade fee to $30, and the stated reason is essentially the same: to cover costs.
The change apparently took place last week. According to the Verizon website, “You will be charged a $30 upgrade fee if you purchase a new device at retail price or through the device payment program.” You can see that note for yourself here if you have a Verizon Wireless account.
This is different than an activation fee, which is applied to a new line; the upgrade fee is for existing customers who are getting a new device to replace their old one. Speaking to the folks at Ars, a Verizon spokesperson said the increased fee was to cover the cost of providing its network.
Another quiet move on the carrier’s part is the elimination of two-year contracts for existing customers, forcing them to take on the same device payment plans (or outright purchase the device) offered to new customers. If you’re an existing customer under a two-year contract, you won’t be able to renew it when the time comes.