No contract phone plans: Verizon reportedly ready to leap in
T-Mobile and AT&T have offered plans allowing users to upgrade their devices more quickly. Are no contract phone plans in the works?
Verizon will soon roll out a no contract phone plan called "VZ Edge."
That's the word this week from the folks at Droid Life, who got their hands on what appears to be an employee training slide detailing the new program. According to the information on the slide, instead of purchasing a device with a standard two-year contract, VZ Edge customers will pay a monthly fee on top of their voice and data costs, until the device is paid off. Once they've paid off 50 percent of the device, they can upgrade for no cost.
Confused? Let's run through an example. With a standard phone contract, you'd pay an upfront cost of approximately 200 bucks for a new device, and you'd sign a two-year data and voice contract. With VZ Edge, on the other hand, that two hundred bucks would effectively be spread out over a series of months, so there would be no upfront, wallet-thinning cost. In addition, you'd get the freedom to upgrade much more regularly.
Of course, nothing comes for free in this world, and we're betting – although the slide makes no mention of it – that the VZ Edge plan will include some sort of fee, or perhaps an interest charge on top of the monthly payments.
As Sascha Segan of PC Magazine noted yesterday, programs such as VZ Edge – or the recently launched AT&T Next and T-Mobile Jump – may make sense for some folks: tech geeks with a penchant for frequent upgrades, for instance. But other users will likely be better off with a regular old two-year contract.
"[A]ll of these plays involve making a long-term plan and sticking to it – something Americans aren't all that good at doing," Mr. Segan wrote. "Trying to play your wireless company is like trying to play a casino in Vegas. Sometimes you'll get an edge, but ultimately it's your one human brain against a company full of accountants and computers; the house usually wins."
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