Verizon tweaks Edge program to increase time between handset upgrades

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) is tweaking its Edge handset financing program to increase the amount customers must pay off on the cost of their device before they can upgrade to a new device. The carrier is also making changes to its single-line plans, a company spokesman confirmed.

Verizon spokesman David Samberg confirmed to FierceWireless details of the changes, which first were reported by the blog Droid Life. The changes are set to go into effect Oct. 16.

On its Edge handset financing program, Verizon is increasing the number of monthly payments customers must make from 20 months to 24 months, which should lead to a decrease in how much customers pay per month in device financing. However, customers must now pay off 75 percent of the balance on their current phone to upgrade to a new phone--Verizon previously only required customers to pay off 60 percent of the balance of their phone. 

Thus, customers who stick to their monthly payment schedule will be able to upgrade to a new phone after 18 months (or 75 percent of 24 months) rather than after 12 months (or 60 percent of 20 months under the old system).

Verizon also tweaked its service plan pricing for Edge customers. Customers on Verizon's More Everything plans with data ranging from 500 MB to 8 GB plans will now receive a $15 per line discount when they use Edge (it had been $10 previously), and plans of 8 GB or more will get a $25 discount per line when customers use Edge, which is unchanged.

Sales of Verizon's Edge program continue to trail those of rival AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T). AT&T has said it expects around half of all its new customers in the third quarter to choose its Next handset financing plan. By contrast, only 18 percent of Verizon customers used Edge in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Verizon is also changing some of its pricing plans. Verizon is cutting the price of its 500 MB More Everything plan by $10. The plan now offers 500 MB and unlimited voice and texting for $20 instead of $30. The plan has a $15/250 MB overage charge.

Verizon is also apparently increasing the cost of its 2 GB plan, which includes unlimited calling and texting. In August Verizon priced the plan at $60 per month, but now the carrier plans to begin charging $75 per month for 2 GB of data and unlimited talking and texting. Verizon's 1 GB per month plan now will cost $60 per month.

The $60 per month plan will carry a $15/500MB overage charge and the $75 plan will carry a $15/1 GB overage charge.

For more:
- see this Droid Life article

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