Verizon Wireless said today it will
begin charging customers a $30 upgrade fee beginning April 22 for buying a new
device at a discounted price.
AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile USA
already impose the fee. Verizon is the last of the major operators to make
customers pay extra for getting a new phone on contract.
“This fee will help us continue to
provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to
expect,” company spokeswoman Brenda Raney said in a statement.
Customers can trade in their old devices
through Verizon’s trade-in program “as a way to save money or potentially
offset the fee completely,” she said.
Upgrade fees have long been in place at
other carriers. Sprint doubled its upgrade fee from $18 to $36 last year, and
AT&T followed suit in February when announced it would charge existing
customers $36 to get a new phone. T-Mobile USA charges customers $18 when they
move to a new device.
Operators say the fees are necessary to
offset the cost of pricey new smartphones which cost more to subsidize than
more basic devices. The charges mean both new and current customers pay extra
charges nearly every time they get a new device, since operators also charge