It’s about to get more expensive for Verizon subscribers to upgrade to a new phone. When the carrier added a $20 fee in 2016 to its plans, a leaked memo indicated that the move was to cover “increasing support costs associated with customers switching their devices.” Apparently, it’s costing Big Red even more money when you get a new handset now, regardless of whether you’re paying for it in installments or at one shot. As Arstechnica points out, the new fee went into effect on Jan. 5th, so not many people would have noticed or have had to fork it over yet. We’ve reached out to Verizon for confirmation and an explanation and have yet to hear back.
A Verizon spokesperson told Arstechnica that the price hike is to “help cover increased cost to provide customers with America’s largest and fastest 4G LTE network.” But the company’s most recent earnings reports show that its capital expenditures have actually dropped in the past year, making that explanation seem unlikely.
Last week, Verizon also got rid of two-year contract renewals, meaning those subscribers still on two-year plans can no longer stay on them when their agreements are up. Verizon, along with most of the industry, already eliminated two-year plans and the device subsidies that came with them. As smartphones become more affordable, it looks like maintaining the lines for them on your wireless service providers may be getting more expensive.