Verizon Wireless, the nation’s biggest carrier, announced today that it will begin charging a $30 device upgrade fee beginning April 22. It will be applicable to existing customers purchasing new mobile equipment at a discounted price with a two-year contract.

With AT&T and Sprint having both been charging an upgrade fee for awhile now, today’s news means that now all major wireless operators in the United States are imposing a fee on customers upgrading to new devices.

Call me stupid, but shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t my carrier incentivize me to sign on the dotted line rather than take my cash just because I agreed to buy a new iPhone and pledge myself to a lengthy (and often) pricey service contract?

If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, looks like a duck and acts like a duck – there’s no reason not to call it by its real name.

If you ask Verizon, they’re doing it for your benefit:

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.

If this is any consolation, the carrier says folks can take advantage of their green friendly trade-in program as a way to save money or potentially offset the fee completely.

Interesting enough, Basking Ridge, New Jersey-headquartered Verizon was quick to point out that “the upgrade fee is not unique to Verizon Wireless”.

True that!

While it’s understandable there are some costs related to paperwork associated with creating a new account and service contract, it’s hard not to suspect such a flawed reasoning.

Put simply, it stinks – and badly, too.

Why else on Earth would both Sprint and AT&T double the upgrade fee from $18 to $36 last September and February, respectively?

Yeah, it was such a rip off!

What’s an upgrade fee to you? Do you think it’s justifiable?

Vent your frustration down in the comments.

  • Greg Hao

    Churn. It’s the reason why I switch carriers every two years.

    And absolutely stupid of the carriers.

  • Just more reason to leave your carrier at the end of your contract period.

  • Anonymous

    I never understood these money grab fees. It’s the same thing here in Canada. I don’t know how they can justify this fee. Obviously the fee has nothing to do with upgrading because I can pay full price to buy the phone off the shelf and move my sim over for no extra cost.

  • CONFUSED. title says 30 and article says 35. which one?

    • Apparently it’s $30

    • That was a typo. Fixed now 🙂
      It is indeed $30

  • where the hell is the FCC when you need them…now the FCC wont say shit cause they also are in all the carriers pockets..fuckers

  • These Tier 1 networks are makin’ that dolla and there is nothing we can do about it. Sad day.

  • It’s bad enough we are forced to have a data plan on all smartphones. It’s all about the bottom dollar.

  • Anonymous

    Some of you people do nothing but moan, that’s probably less than it costs here in the UK and for months people have written on this blog and almost cried about no unlock yet now it seems everybody just wants everything for free .. At the end of the day you aren’t forced to pay Verizon to unlock your phone but it’s a cheap option that for the last few years people simply haven’t had so I don’t see it as a bad thing, that being said, I don’t have a need to unlock my phone and it is free at the end of my contract so it’s all good.

    • @BatesOut, You reading the right article? This is about an upgrading fee, not and unlock service. Simply put, we are moaning because it seems silly for a Carrier to charge a $30 fee to upgrade your old phone to get a new one, and renew the contract for another 2 YEARS. That means they got us by the balls for another 24 months, and all we are asking for a friggin’ break. That’s all I’m saying :o)

  • Carriers should offer a way to upgrade and activate a phone by the customer for free. If a customer is not savvy enough to do the upgrade themselves then there should be a fee.

  • Anonymous

    carriers are evil

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like it is time to use those consulting services. Make lots of nonsense calls to tech support. “nothing happens when I touch the screen! (after 10 minutes going round and round with the help desk). Getting hot in her, let me take my gloves off”

    Every month file a dispute over a one minute call.

    Report your phone as lost a few times, but find it in an hour.

    Please more suggestions.

    Just means more job security for help desk slaves.