When Verizon announced new rate plans earlier this month, it looked like the carrier was abandoning two-year contracts, as the new plans require customers to buy a new phone on an installment plan. However, it turns out that the contract isn’t totally dead at Verizon.
Verizon has updated the original announcement of its new plans to say that existing on-contract customers can continue to get on-contract phones. The big red carrier says that “Verizon customers can keep and renew their two-year contract” and get a subsidy on any devices it offers as part of the contract. It uses an example that if you’ve been waiting for “a soon-to-be-launched smartphone,” you can renew your contract once the phone launches and get subsidized pricing.
If you are a contract customer, you can continue to keep your existing plan until you decide to change to the new Verizon Plan. You can also add lines to your existing plan if you’d like. You can switch to the new Verizon Plan in the middle of your contract if you'd like, but you’ll pay a line access charge of $40 for each smartphone rather than $20 like no-contract customers. And once you switch to the Verizon Plan, you won’t be able to switch back to your old plan.
So yeah, it looks like Verizon isn’t totally killing contracts, it’s just not offering them to new customers. That makes the whole “Verizon kills contracts” news a bit less of a big deal, but I’m sure that there are some on-contract Verizon customers that will be pleased to learn that they’ll be able to get another subsidized phone if they’d like. The wording of Verizon’s announcement suggests that it may at some point only offer select phones with a subsidy, but for the near future, new devices like the upcoming iPhone could be available with a two-year contract, so long as you’re already on one.