Thursday, July 18, 2013

Verizon Wireless details its Edge device upgrade program; which program is the cheapest?

On Thursday, Verizon Wireless confirmed the new Edge device upgrade plan that was leaked a few days ago. The official statement fills in the gaps of our knowledge of the plan, and Verizon made sure it included a comparative table to show Edge vs. Next (AT&T) and JUMP (T-Mobile).

Here are the details:
  • Covers both basic and smartphones
  • To use the Edge program, customer must opt to pay full price for a device, split in 24 payments.
  • Can upgrade after six months, but customer must have paid at least 50 percent of the phone's cost.
  • The rest of a device's cost is waived.
  • Customer must trade in old phone
  • No program fee
  • No finance charge
In its table (above), Verizon lists Competitor A (T-Mobile USA, program began on 7/14) and Competitor B (AT&T, program beings 7/26). As seems normal for the carrier lately, it will be late to the game. Remember how long it launched the Galaxy S4 after the other Big Four carriers; in this case it will trail T-Mobile and AT&T by about a month or more.

Ken Dixon, Verizon Wireless’ vice president and chief marketing officer said:
This is a flexible new equipment payment plan for customers who really want to purchase a new phone annually. This an affordable way for customers to quickly upgrade to the latest technology without a long-term contract.
In terms of similarities and differneces, like T-Mobile Jump, Verizon lets you upgrade every six months, whereas AT&T Next only allows one upgrade per year. Like Next, Edge has no program fee (Jump has a $10 fee but that includes insurance).

All plans require a customer to trade in their old phone. Since you have to pay 50 percent of the cost of the phone, but have to trade in your old phone, Edge -- like Next -- is close to be a wash compared to paying full price and trading in the phone to a third-party like Gazelle. Still, with that sort of option, the customer must weigh the vagaries of the aftermarket pricing for a used device, and many will find these plans attractive for their simplicity.

Notably, AT&T's is the only program that covers tablets, too.  Verizon's is the only one that covers basic phones.

As with Next, when comparing Edge vs. T-Mobile's JUMP, JUMP comes out ahead. The reason is the lower cost of T-Mobile's service plans. Note: An estimate by Laptop Magazine said that, in terms of cost, T-Mobile was lowest, then Verizon, then AT&T.

Of course, Verizon (and AT&T) would say that you get what you pay for. While T-Mobile's plans are cheaper, the nation's fourth largest wireless carrier's coverage is less extensive, as well. T-Mobile is upgrading its network, though.

Dixon added:
We think we deliver the better value in the marketplace. If you have this great device with all of these great capabilities, you want to be able to use it no matter where you live, work, recreate or educate.

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