Verizon Wireless subscribers looking to upgrade to the Galaxy Nexus or the iPhone 4S in the coming months might be in for a bit of a shock, and maybe heartbreak.
Starting April 22nd, Verizon Wireless will apply $30 upgrade fee to the phone purchases of existing customers. This, of course, is in addition to the price of a phone and the toil of a two-year contract.
Verizon has a little bit of semantic fun with the press release, using "discounted" instead of "subsidized" to refer to its carrying half of the new phone price burden. It's a transparent substitution, and not one likely to make customers any less unhappy.
There's also the company's explanation for the fee, which is amusing and interesting in its own right:
This fee will help us continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect which includes Wireless Workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts who provide advice and guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever.
So, basically, Verizon is appealing to things like "education" and "consultations experts" to justify adding a new fee that basically punishes subscribers for remaining customers.
The company also notes, rightfully, that its new upgrade fee is "not unique to Verizon." That's an apparently jab at Sprint and AT&T, both of which enforce $36 upgrade fees. Not to be left out. T-Mobile also enforces an upgrade fee, though at $18, it's a bit less than its competitors' own.
Not that we can fault any of them, of course. The cost of subsiding cell phones and running LTE networks only goes one way, after all.