What Will a Verizon iPhone Mean to You?
Jan 10, 2011, 12:07 PM by Philip Berne
After months of speculation, it seems Verizon Wireless might finally launch an iPhone at an event in New York's Lincoln Center tomorrow, January 11. Here's what a Verizon iPhone might mean for you.
Phone Scoop and a number of other publications have been invited to a Verizon Wireless event in New York City this Tuesday, January 11. Current speculation has us believing that Verizon might finally announce its own model of the Apple iPhone. But the speculation ends there. We have no official confirmation from Apple, and even if we knew for sure that an iPhone would launch this week, what exactly would that iPhone look like? What would it have on the inside?
More importantly, though, what is it going to take to buy one? Assuming you already have a cell phone contract, on Verizon Wireless or any of the major, nationwide carriers, what would buying an iPhone actually cost you?
If you are currently a Verizon Wireless customer under contract, you probably won't be able to pick up an Apple iPhone on Verizon for the lowest price available. Depending on how long you have left on your current contract, you will probably have to pay an upgrade fee (around $20 or so), and then pay for the new iPhone at almost the full price of the device. You might find some wiggle room here with the right salesperson, but Verizon Wireless does not offer early upgrades, like you'll find on T-Mobile.
When AT&T originally launched its iPhone, it allowed all existing customers to sign up for a new contract and buy the iPhone at the lowest price. Even if you had just signed a 2-year contract and purchased another phone the day before, you got the best price for the iPhone. AT&T also extended its eligibility requirements for the iPhone 4 to allow more customers to buy one for less. It is possible that Verizon Wireless could be more aggressive trying to draw buyers to its new iPhone, so we'll keep an eye out for special deals, especially for existing customers.
|Initial ETF for Smartphones||Decrease in ETF||Initial ETF for Feature Phones||Decrease in ETF|
|AT&T||$325||$10 per month||$150||$4 per month|
|Verizon Wireless||$350||$10 per month||$175||$5 per month|
|Sprint||$200||$10 per month after 5th month until $50 minimum ETF.||$200||$10 per month after 5th month until $50 minimum ETF.|
|T-Mobile||$200||$100 with 180 days remaining. $50 with 90 days remaining. Lesser of $50 or monthly rate with 1 month remaining.||$200||$100 with 180 days remaining. $50 with 90 days remaining. Lesser of $50 or monthly rate with 1 month remaining.|
If you're not already a Verizon Wireless customer, and you're under contract with a different provider, you're going to have to pay an early termination fee (ETF). The good news is that jumping ship from other carriers to Verizon is less expensive than trying to leave The Network. Verizon Wireless charges $350 to dump your expensive smartphone plan, or $175 if you have a more basic device. For every month of service, Verizon drops the ETF on smartphones by $10, or by $5 for more basic phones.
If you're defecting from AT&T, you'll be paying $325 if you drop your contract in the first month. But for every month you've stuck with Big Blue, you'll pay $10 less. So, if you bought an iPhone 4 last June, and it's been 7 months since you signed a contract, AT&T knocks $70 off your fee, and you only pay $255. If you have a feature phone, and not a smartphone, your ETF on AT&T starts at only $150, but AT&T drops a mere $4 off the fee for every month you pay for service.
If you're leaving Sprint, expect to pay a $200 ETF if you're in your first 5 months of service. After 5 months, Sprint drops its ETF by $10 per month, until you're down to $50 five months from the end of your contract. At that point, $50 is the lowest you'll pay to leave Sprint early.
T-Mobile is a bit more complicated. If you have more than 6 months (180 days) left in your T-Mobile contract, you get slapped with a $200 ETF. With about 3 to 6 months remaining, you'll only pay $100 to leave. From 1-3 months left, you'll pay only $50, and if you leave in the last month, you pay only your monthly fee or $50, whichever is lower.
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