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July 18, 2013

Verizon Jumps on the Annual Upgrade Program

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Verizon Wireless is following the lead of chief competitors AT&T and T-Mobile by offering a new subscription plan allowing customers to upgrade their Smart devices each year.

The Verizon Edge program, which begins Aug. 25, also allows customers to get a new Smartphone or tablet every year with no long-term service contracts, finance charges or upgrade fees. Customers can also upgrade to a new phone after six months — but only if 50 percent of the full retail price of the device has been paid.

“If you want to stay on top of the latest technology, the new Verizon Edge device payment plan offers an affordable way to upgrade to the newest device and satisfy your love of technology,” said Verizon Wireless public relations manager David Samberg in a blog post. “Verizon Edge is a flexible equipment payment plan that spreads the retail price of a phone over 24 months.”

Customers simply choose the device they want and then sign up. The price of the phone is stretched out over a two-year period with the customer paying the first month at the time of purchase.

Verizon’s announcement comes just two days after AT&T announced its Next program.

As part of Next, customers must pay monthly installments for the device and, after 12 months, trade it in or opt to keep it and have no more payments after 20 months. Both new AT&T customers and existing customers who are upgrade eligible can take advantage of the program.

Any current Smartphone or tablet in AT&T’s lineup is eligible for the Next program. The interest-free monthly payments range from $15 to $50, depending on the device selected. For example, a customer who selects the Samsung Galaxy S 4 would pay $32 per month, in addition to the monthly wireless service plan they choose. There will be no penalty for paying off the installment plan early.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, announced JUMP, its phone upgrade program late last week.

T-Mobile has yet to release many details of JUMP, which officially launched July 14, but said it will allow customers to upgrade their phones up to twice per year — as soon as six months from enrollment.

The wireless firm has also been quite critical of AT&T’s plan, calling it a “poor copycat” of its own plan.

“They’re charging you twice on the same phone and calling that a good deal,” T-Mobile executive Andrew Sherrard told CNet.