Earlier today, Verizon announced some changes to its upgrade policies, including its decision to move upgrade eligibility to the end of a customer's 24-month contract. The changes don't appear to be sitting well with users so far, but a newly-leaked photo has surfaced today that could make things just a smidge better.
The image, posted by Droid-Life, shows a purported internal Verizon document that mentions a "Device Payment Plan" as an option for customers that want a new device. Details on the plan are light, but it says that the Device Payment Plan is "for full retail cost," and up at the top of the image the doc mentions "a new payment plan for Smartphones that allows...costs over twelve months."
It's a bit tough to figure out exactly what this Device Payment Plan is based off of the little information that we can gather from this leaked image. However, what we can see seems to suggest that Verizon is planning to allow customers that aren't yet eligible for an upgrade to buy a phone a full retail price and then spread the cost of the device out over a 12-month period. That may not be doable for every single person that wants to upgrade before they're eligible, but it'd be a nice option to have and could definitely help some folks get that shiny new phone that they're lusting after without having to wait for their upgrade date.
While there's no word yet on exactly when Verizon will officially announce this Device Payment Plan, the leaked document says that it's "launching soon for Smartphones." Of course, anyone that's been in the mobile industry for a while will attest that "soon" is a pretty vague window of time that could mean just about anything. Here's to hoping that with high-profile hardware like the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and Nokia Lumia 928 due in the near future, Verizon's "soon" really does mean that the launch of this Device Payment Plan isn't far off.
UPDATE: Verizon has confirmed its "Verizon Wireless Device Payment Plan," revealing that the program will start on April 21. A spokesperson for the big red carrier explained to The Verge that smartphones and tablets priced at $349.99 and up are eligible for the Device Payment Plan. The program will allow customers to purchase a phone or tablet before they're actually eligible for an upgrade, spreading the full retail cost of the hardware out over a 12-month period. However, customers that take advantage of the Device Payment Plan will also be subject to a $24 finance charge that will be billed at a rate of $2 per month.