Verizon announced today that it would be rolling out a $30 fee for upgrading your phone when you extend your contract with them. In exchange, customers will get access to discounted hardware.
"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," the press release said.
Verizon isn't the only mobile phone carrier to do this, as AT&T raised its upgrade fee from $18 to $36, Sprint has a similar pricing structure. T-Mobile's upgrade fee is still $18, but who knows for how long.
In the PR, Verizon says you can try to offset the fee by trading in your old phone, but of course, that's all subject to what Verizon thinks your phone is worth. Someone with a newish smartphone may get the fee cut substantially or even waived, but it's all up to Verizon's discretion. It's bad enough that cell-phone bills have exorbitant taxes and fees baked into them. Now you're going to charge for upgrading my phone? I understand that devices that are data intensive such as the iPhone need to have their costs offset, but there has to be a better way to do it than this.
This is better than the ill-fated plan to charge $2 to pay customers bills, but it doesn't make the sting hurt any less.