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What Will a Verizon iPhone Mean to You?

Leaving Plans Networks Missing? Bottom Line Comments  100+  

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?

Jumping Ship

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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Jan 10, 2011, 12:41 PM

Wow - speculation!

It's been a characteristic of Phonescoop for as long as I've been a reader that there was little mention of rumor or speculation about upcoming devices or changes in the industry without some hard evidence. Certainly, phonescoop has been nothing like Engagdet or Gizmodo, both of which editorialize heavily (Gizmodo much moreso).

Not that I'm complaining so much; indeed, the article is a comprehensive look at the question of a Verizon iPhone, and compared to most other technews outlets (who have little beyond "Verizon iPhone Jan 11th! AT&T is hooped!" or some variation there of), it's a thorough examination of the industry in practical consumer terms.

It's a surprising shift in journalistic strategy for what has always been a very relia...
All the people that like to cry about dropping calls will be gone and I won't have to deal with them anymore! This is so epic it's not even funny. Good luck to big red and the new iphone, hopefully they'll put better hardware in there CDMA version to ...
It's a good critique, for sure. We thought long and hard about this idea, and we've never (to my best recollection) published a story claiming that an unannounced phone is actually true. There is good evidence that Verizon Wireless will launch an iPho...

Jan 14, 2011, 4:54 PM


hey guys, what are you doing? lol

Jan 10, 2011, 10:47 PM


"(including the iPhone-clone BlackBerry Storm)."

If the Storm 9530 or Storm2 9550 are iphone clones it is only in the same sense that Bizarro is Superman.
hahahaha; agreed. As someone who has suffered with the S1 for 2+ years and couldn't be happier since getting the DINC. I can only say that BB was (imo) forced by Vz to come out with the Storm after crApple and ATT released the holy phony. Poor RIM, ...
I would certainly consider the Storm to be RIM's answer to the iPhone.
Blackberry made a HUGE mistake because they did try positioning this against the iphone, and Verizon went along with it (initially) This is why so many people bought the device who shouldn't have (peolpe expecting it NOT to be a blackberry) and why t...

Jan 10, 2011, 10:38 PM

I didnt see any phonescoop putting down the iphone before... knowing its issues

So why again is phonescoop and every other tech site trying to put down the verizon iphone... doesnt matter what anyone says either way until you own an iphone you dont know what your talking about and honestly you may say u arent gonna be an iphone owner but u will soon enough... Android is just a device youre gonna have reset every few months... freezing, viruses, and incompatible apps for devices... seriously just get an iphone... still customizable and does everything right! plus the customer service from apple is best hands down!!!!
They are not putting down the iphone. They are engaging in speculation. Until there is an actual product to examine they can do little else. Calm please...
Putting down? Where are you getting that from? 😕

We have all used an iPhone as our primary phone at one point or another. It's a great device.

Jan 10, 2011, 4:19 PM

the beginning of the end of exclusive handset deals...

So, the two largest carriers VZW & AT&T will both have a version of the iPhone, while Sprint, T-Mobile USA, MetroPCS, rural carriers, etc., remain shut out. What a victory for cabals & exclusionary business practices in an already anti competitive market.

Look for the FCC to place limits on carrier exclusive handset deals. Otherwise, as VZW & AT&T increasingly throw around their market share to monopolize (or duopolize) the most desirable devices, the wireless industry could be left w/ the two heavyweights and nothing but small remnants of all other carriers. And that would not serve the public interest.

The problem is, that the average consumer does not realize this. Big Red and Blue continue to dominate the marketing while attracting the herds. I opted to free myself from the tenticles of the two largest carriers in hopes of better pricing while sti...
Sprint, T-Mobile, USCC, Metro, cricket, etc seem to have been doing fine without the iPhone, not everyone in the world wants one, get off the bandwagon. Android and symbian are still more widespread over iOS and will probably continue to be.
So in YOUR (wiwavelengths) perfect world what would the wireless industry look like?

A single giant company that stretches from shore to shore and does nothing but sell a data connection. Its ran by the government so access is rolled into your taxe...
I hope that you are wrong. The last thing we need is the FCC interfering where no monopoly is occurring.

Jan 11, 2011, 5:07 PM

im joining...

im not under contract with tmobile, so the wife and I will be coming to Big Red, but not for the iPhone, its the new adroids we are joining for
Very smart move imo. After using a BBS1 for several years I was a bit hisitant about making the jump but couldn't resist Best Buys free offer on the Droid Incredible over the holidays; WOW, I'll never look back. I can' stop playing with it and the n...

Jan 10, 2011, 11:26 PM

Awesome article!

Thanks for this article. It feels like a guilty pleasure.
iDont Care

Jan 10, 2011, 1:36 PM

iSheep rejoice!!!

There goes Big Red's network. Lets see how those bastards do when the iSheep flock over there from AT&T and hog up their network!
sigh..it means that all the sheeple wil migrate from the overcongested AT&T network to big red..so it's just moving one clog from one artery to another.

Lovely..my android will be suffering while every iCrapPhone hogs our bandwidth.. 😢
Right because you say so? Making the statement " There goes Big Red's network" is the dumbest thing I've ever read.
I'll bet Big Red is slobbering like a wolf.

Jan 10, 2011, 2:33 PM

There is no 5gig cap

Not a hard one anyway.

While it's true that excessive usage every month could cause them to terminate your contract, this isn't at 5gigs, and if you go over the 5gigs they won't smack you with overages (unless you're tethering).

I've gone over 5gigs on many occasions (I love me internet radio and youtube) as have others. I have a friend who averages close to 10gb a month. We haven't been charged a dime overage, or cut off.

Now, if you're tethering and exceed the 5, that's a different story (especially if you're not paying for it). But there is no cap on verizon's unlimited smartphone plan.

Interesting article otherwise. If it comes, it should be interesting. I really want them to announce something like windowsphone7 or th...
Jobs can no longer blame at&t for any iPhone issues and glitches.

Jan 10, 2011, 4:39 PM

Big Red's network

Lets go to the party and get wasted then! 🤤
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