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Verizon Slashes Full Retail Smartphone Pricing After Eliminating 1-year Contracts? (Updated)

There has been a lot of not-so-happy talk over the last week about Verizon and the elimination of 1-year contracts from new customers or from those that are renewing, but after glancing around their site for a few minutes today, things may not be so bad after all.  Check out the screenshot above that was taken within the last few minutes from Big Red’s site and tell me you aren’t excited about those full retail prices.  A DROIDX for $399?  DROID Pro for $429?  How about the brand new HTC Thunderbolt for $569?  While we’re sad to see 1-year contracts go, this appears to be a great sign for those of us that refuse to sign contracts at all.  We’ll be digging around our VZW contacts for more info.

Update:  I reached out to Verizon for comment on this new price drop and received this back:

…there is no connection between the 1-year contract announcement and adjustments in our smartphone pricing.

We adjust our pricing from time to time to address current market dynamics and to stay competitive. The good news is the Droid franchise is extremely popular so lower prices mean more customers can experience one of the fastest growing operating systems on the nation’s largest and most reliable network.

Let’s just hope these prices stick for the foreseeable future because I’m a fan.


Cheers James!


    I’m not sure who your Verizon contacts are but the Verizon EMPLOYEES I’ve run into always seem to want to be really helpful or impress me with their “inside” knowledge like a year ago when they first started doing the technical changes to prepare for the iPhone. I found out because our service was disrupted by one of the test and Tech Support felt so bad he admitted the real reason behind the issues; I’m disabled was home alone, but the disruption of service left me vulnerable – unable to even call my neighbor or 911 for help if necessary and family unable to reach me at the regular intervals at which they check on me. I received about an hours worth of ‘inside’ info that day. He also sent texts to my family to explain and let them know I was ok.

    Shortly before the iPhone actually began selling on Big Red, two Verizon employees – 1 in the store and the other over the phone, that because Apple insisted on Verizon not doing the rebate pricing games with the iPhone – “the iPhone’s price is what it is for everyone.” Therefore, Verizon customers better get ready for a slew of changes:
    no more 1 year contracts, but phones sold at better retail without contracts, no more ‘New Every Two’ phones and renewal discounts for existing customers who renew their current contracts and no more renewal discounts built-in on new contracts, and cancellation fee increases. That was back in January just after the iPhone announcement.

    Last Friday, 4-8-11, after having been treated HORRIBLY by a Tech Support Rep, I was able to get Customer Service to replace my handset for the ‘millionth’ time since September when I switched from Windows Mobile to Android. At which time she informed me that although I pay for the top tier premium warranty replacement coverage Verizon offers, the company has recently change how the process works because the manufactures are being stricter on the phones we send back to them:
    Verizon must RECEIVE defective device back within FIVE days no longer the industry standard 10 days or you will be charged for the REFURBISHED phone at FULL RETAIL PRICE.
    When the warehouse receives the defective device, they will inspect it and if THEY decide it shows signs of having been dropped or water damage, Verizon will charge you $99 on your next bill and send you pictures to prove it via your online myverizon.com account.

    Everything the Verizon employees have told me has come true eventually over the years so I tend to believe them a lot more than I believe the company PR machine. 99% of the Verizon employees with whom I have had the pleasure of speaking have been genuine and helpful and most of all, HONEST.

  • Daniel

    They should stop trying to rip you off on a phone.

    If you sign a 2 yr contract, they should give you $350 and let you get your own phone. Or don’t give you any discount on the phone and reduce the plan prices for no-contract.

    Looking at the phone prices there are huge disparities between the no-contract and 2yr price on different phones. The iPhone price difference is (650-200) = $450 meanwhile the DroidX is (400-150) only $250. Definitely getting ripped off if you sign 2yr contract on a Droid X.

  • LionStone

    I picked up the T-Bolt for $220. for the 2 yrs, to get locked in on the unlimited data. Depending on how the data rates develop, in one year, if I really want something else, I’ll pay the $175. ETF and the phone will have cost me $395. Isn’t that still about the same as if I’d buy a one year? I think it was going for $350. for a one year? So maybe it will cost about $50.00 more to do it this way?

    • Rousellbrandon

      It’s 350 etf for a smart phone. But u can get around that by activating a reg phone on the line and the etf would be 175. I got my tbolt on 1yr for 229. Ordered over phone.

  • TheVerizonGuy

    They’re offering them with no markup. I work for a wireless retailer and I can tell you that’s the prices we order the phones at from our vendors.

  • Dreedy Android

    Thanks for pointing that out guys! Called Verizon, told them I purchased the TBolt outright on the 03/17 and they issued a $30 credit to my account. I owe you guys one!

  • Anonymous

    I agree that retail is not cheap by far, however, when you think about what these devices are capable of, we all need to realize that we’re spoiled and that’s why we expect things for nothing these days.

  • #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

  • ThunderDolt

    Cool, I will go back to Best Buy today and price match my Thunderbolt since I’m within 30 days!

  • NewsWorthy

    I just think 2 years is a really long time to be tied to a contract anymore given the refresh rates of the hardware these days. I will just be putting money away specifically so that I can purchase my hardware off contract from here on out. As I have said before, I will be getting very familiar with Best Buy’s Buyback policy. If I can get 40% of my retail purchase price back every year, that’s even more motivation. I know many will say we don’t NEED to upgrade that often and I do agree. However, this industry is driven more by what we want. Not what we need.

  • Devin Rs42

    This actually helps best buys buy back program a lot. I may consider joining that next phone i buy.

  • Craigg

    I like the ability to purchase a phone without having to sign a long contract. What I don’t like is the that subsidy varies from $200 – $320. If the subsidy was only $200 on all models I would likely never sign a contract.

  • If they don’t bring back 1 year’s, my lines will soon be on another carrier. Even if they do, Verizon has just become too consumer un-friendly since they got that damn IFone so I probably will anyway unless a pure stock, 4G, dual core phone comes out with a 1 year option in a hurry. Who wants to be stuck with one of these phones for a full two years when you’re paying the absolute highest prices for service in the industry?

    • Anonymous

      Will, I feel your pain bro.

    • Anonymous

      What an idiot! You one of those people that want to leave Verizon JUST because they have the iPhone as a choice now. Im certainly not leaving the best carrier in the nation… because they carry a phone I dont like.

      A Droid X on a 1-yr contract would have ran you about 350, now for no contract at all you have to pay 50 extra dollars… Yeah they’re real tyrants.

    • Anonymous

      How mad will you be if Verizon does the same thing as at&t and lets you get an early upgrade (if you already had an iphone) to the new one every year? I think it is likely.

      Verizon is becoming too consumer unfriendly? AT&T does not even let you side load apps

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but $569 is not pocket change IMO??? I have a decent job and all, but that is still a pile of cash. Even if people are comparing it to laptops etc…I don’t replace my laptop every 6-9 months??

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but $569 is not pocket change IMO??? I have a decent job and all, but that is still a pile of cash. Even if people are comparing it to laptops etc…I don’t replace my laptop every 6-9 months??

    • Nor do you need to replace your phone — I’m still using my Droid1, which is now almost 18 months old, and it still does everything I need it to. Just shop smart, and make sure you’re not getting a dud when you buy, and you’ll never find a need to replace every “6-9 months.”

  • I’ve always had 2-yr contracts but realistically 2yr contracts are stupid from a consumer point of view. The average lifecycle of mobile devices is 6mo to 1yr. It’s difficult to stay cutting edge without buying off contract or paying a costly ETF. I would think carriers would manage to keep more customers with 1yr contracts so we can stay cutting edge.

  • I’ve always had 2-yr contracts but realistically 2yr contracts are stupid from a consumer point of view. The average lifecycle of mobile devices is 6mo to 1yr. It’s difficult to stay cutting edge without buying off contract or paying a costly ETF. I would think carriers would manage to keep more customers with 1yr contracts so we can stay cutting edge.

    • Anonymous

      I would have thought that as well. The customers buying 1 year contracts are most likely going to renew with VZW while buying a new device (at a higher cost) every year instead of once every two years (at a lower cost). The monthly cost of either contract is the same, so they’d be making more money off devices if they kept the 1 year contracts. With VZ now selling the iphone, and T-mobile on the way out the door, there is even less of a reason for someone to change carriers, thus making it even more likely for people to renew contracts with verizon (and why they shouldn’t worry about people jumping ship after a year).

      IMO, this really doesn’t make that much sense for Verizon, unless they really do make a ton of money off ETFs…

  • Unexpected62

    I think the lowering of retail prices affects everyone even on contracts, because when you pay the “on two year contract pricing” you’re still charged the tax of the original price, so now that will be less.

  • FortitudineVincimus

    “How about the brand new HTC Thunderbolt for $569? ”

    how about no f****** way, you got to be a tard to pay that much for a phone.

    • Anonymous

      Right, because they don’t make up the $220 over the course of the 2 year contract or anything. Not to mention the fact that you’ll pretty easily sell your year old Thunderbolt on eBay for way more than some guy selling 8 months later.

  • Anonymous

    This is good, but I wish the prices were lower, if you can buy off contract this is outstanding!!!

    • Wmsco51

      They will start coming down if not they won’t be selling phones. So domino effect begins

      • Anonymous

        I agree those prices are for the people that want to be first at owning a
        device. Make their money fast before the next device comes out in 4 months

  • Dean2359

    Thanks! Just called big red and they credited my account $30. Love droid life

    • Anonymous


      • Razrback501

        +2. Wife and I just bought Thunderbolts last week. Called and got two $30 credits. Thanks for the tip Dean 2359 and Kellex. Love Droid Life! By the way, the leaked skype video chat works great.

  • Mike

    i fucks with this…

  • Anonymous

    maybe the end of 1 year contracts won’t be so bad after all

    • Anonymous

      Yes it will

  • Anonymous

    @ Matty G
    Well for me I wanted to make sure that if there was a phone that I liked after a year then I could get it without penalty. One year plans work great in that aspect and the price wasn’t terrible either Example: TBolt was $229 instead of $199 ($30 bucks more but I can get out after a year instead of waiting two years). Also, phones get outdated in less than six months these days. A year like 2011 makes the outdate time even greater with dual core phones coming out, LTE, and a ton of anticipated new phones, etc etc.

    And $569 instead of $599 is no bog deal to me either!

    • Wmsco51

      Quadcore coming end of year too

  • Charles

    Is it just me or did anyone NOT notice a difference? I was waiting for the “after” image with the cheaper full retail prices.

    Yeah, screw Verizon after this.

  • Anonymous

    I was hoping Verizon would do this. They must recognize that the ridiculous rate of Android phone releases means that people are going to want to upgrade their phones more often. Note that the iPhone’s price is still insane ($650/$750).

  • LivinFree

    This is great news for us folks who refuse to be in contract. sucks for used device sellers tho as the price just went down on them.

    What gets me tho is how the hell do they justify there $350 ETF fee. If they can now afford to sell at these retails prices people are getting hosed on an ETF if they buy under contract. Typical another scam on the consumers by corp america as thee is no justification for a $350 ETF at this point specially when they are making a profit on the devices at the displayed screen shot.

  • Anonymous

    What was full retail for a DX before this?

    • LivinFree

      $559 or $569 if I’m not mistaken

    • Anonymous

      Pretty sure it started at $599.

  • I never even considered 1 year contracts so that wasn’t a loss for me, but I get that people who used them would be PO’d. For me, I’d rather have the “discounted” retail prices. Could VZW actually be doing a favor for their customers? Color me wary

    • Anonymous

      Well for me I wanted to make sure that if there was a phone that I liked after a year then I could get it without penalty. One year plans work great in that aspect and the price wasn’t terrible either Example: TBolt was $229 instead of $199 ($30 bucks more but I can get out after a year instead of waiting two years). Also, phones get outdated in less than six months these days. A year like 2011 makes the outdate time even greater with dual core phones coming out, LTE, and a ton of anticipated new phones, etc etc.

      And $569 instead of $599 is no bog deal to me either!

      • Yeah it used to be easier to make it that two years. Admittedly, I’ve only made it to the two years once over the last ten. But with the rapid development of both Android and technology inside phones, it’s becoming impossible to see myself making it two years. I’m gonna try though, real real hard. Even though within the last year I’ve had the Droid, Droid X, and now the Nexus S…I’m not off to a good start.

  • stealthV

    Yay! I Love You Verizon ;D

    • Anonymous

      please tell me you are not serious?

  • Booo $569 for a thunderbolt? i paid $636 for mines =/

    • They only dropped it $67? That’s ridiculous. So they get you using their networks (as you’re unlikely to leave anytime soon considering you spent $600 on a phone), but the only “benefit” you get from losing the 1-year contracts is $67? These guys have such high profit margins, yet whine that they’re barely scraping by while providing an essential public service to get the govt on their side. I hope Google buys a wireless company. At this point, I think it’s our only hope.

  • Mr. Joe

    They’re doing it cause they feel bad for locking the bootloaders.

    • 787

      verizon feel bad? lol, that’ll be the day

  • Pcguru30

    meh.. I still say a phone should not cost more then a laptop, smartphone or no smartphone

    • Anonymous

      A laptop with a touchscreen, 8MP camera, full-day battery life, and 3G/4G?

      • Pcguru30

        there are sub 400 laptops with touchscreen.. Example being Asus EEE PC, some include a 3G card built in. They don’t have the battery life of a phone but thats to be expected simply from a size standpoint. as far as 8 megapixel camera.. you really don’t need that on a laptop

        • I’m curious how much those cameras actually cost. Sure, you’ve got more pixels, but a 15 megapixel point and shoot does not have the same caliber sensor as a Nikon D3S. There is so much more that makes a camera expensive than just the number of pixels. I’m not arguing with any of your points, I just wonder how much this stuff actually costs.

          • Jcampbell474

            Who needs that many megapixels anyway. It’s just the dimensions of the picture. Has nothing to do with quality.

          • Exactly my point. Well, kinda. The amount of pixels on your sensor does matter, but after a certain point it’s a moot point unless you’re shooting pictures with your camera phone that you’re going to make into 20 ft posters. You definitely need more than one pixel, but like I said, I’ll take a D3S with less pixels than a point and shoot with 100 megapixels.

          • Ian

            I like to think of it this way; The more pixels on the sensor, the easier it is to see problems with the camera’s optics!

    • DBK

      Seeing as most notebooks and netbooks go for 300 – 500 now a days, your wish has just been granted. 😛

    • Anonymous

      Guess it depends what kind of laptop you’re buying, but these smartphone prices certainly aren’t more expensive or equal in price to any laptop I’ve ever bought.

    • Smallness adds to the cost. Desktops are cheaper than laptops.

    • TheRealBeesley

      You would be a terrible business owner 🙂 Demand = High, Price = Higher. jk tho man, I get what you’re saying totally.

    • PhiLale

      The prices are high because they want you to enter into those two year contracts. Besides that it’s a good rule of thumb that as electronics(well high tech) get smaller and there has to be smaller parts made for them the cost of manufacturing goes up. But really the real reason is they want you into those two year contracts. I think apple itself gets atliest $500 for each phone that att or Verizon sells and I am pretty sure it’s more than that. So them locking you in that contract gives them the opportunity to make there money back and than proced to bend you over and stick it to you with sand in the gasoline

      • Phullofphil

        That was sand in the vasoline not gasoline. But any way there making chips now that are in the 28 nanometer size as far as gateways and cor urea and gates that are either 1 or 0 which means open or close. That’s a lot of transistors and such. Next year it’s going to be smaller. I was just thinking that if they really wanted to and could get around the heat factor they could make the basest computer ever seen on this planet and make it the size of a laptop. I still don’t get why they don’t make more powerful computers with like terabyte of ram and rom. 1000 terabyte hard drive and a 2000000ghz 10000 core intel processor with hyper threading of course. I am egadgerating but I remember paying over two thousand for a computer that did nothing but blink at me after I programed it for 14 hours. It does not seem like we are getting the best computers available out on the market. Yeah gaming computers are the exception but you have to buy the parts separate and that’s super expensive. I am talking hp computers that are just the best that technology can through at us. Just like there doing with the smartphones. If they could we would already be seeing quad core smartphones. But that won’t happen till the beginning of next year with the nvidea tetra 3 which just like the tetra 2 is the first one out but usually the worst performer. You got to go with TI omap, snapdragon, or my favorite is made by samsung which I think is the eyxnos cause it usually comes with the best graphics processor

  • The other great thing this does is forces people to sell used versions even cheaper now. Not that they are ever outrageous in price as is but some people still try to get close to retail from a used phone. Now buyers can get that used Droid X for aroudn 280 instead of the 350 most people are trying to get out of a used one

  • DXDroidX

    This pricing actually took effect on Monday because I bought a Droid X out of contract at a Verizon store and the rep said “woah, the pricing must have just changed this morning because it shows as $399.00”. So it’s been in effect for a few days now, but I guess just updated on the website recently.

  • This is shockingly customer friendly. There must be a catch. $400 for an X makes me kind of want to upgrade early.

  • Anonymous

    $399 for a year old cell phone is hardly “cheap”

    • sure its not cheap but its off contract and is great for people who don’t want to sign a new one and then later pay 350 to get out of that contract.

      • FortitudineVincimus

        so let me get this straight… pay $350 to get out of a contract or $320 more to buy the phone off contract…. hardly a great deal for non-contractors

        • I agree. Plus, every month you pay your bill that $350 drops another $10. I left Verizon (was tired of their pro-Apple attitude and data speeds plummeted after the iPhone was released) with another year on my contract and it was $175 vs $350. That’s the law in California at least.

          What sucks though is I left Verizon so I could get the Nexus S and save money on T-Mobile, only to have them bought by AT&T a month later. Looks like I’ll be moving back to Verizon as soon as the deal goes through as I think AT&T is much worse. I am glad to see Verizon moving forward with Android, but it was a little off-putting being a customer for 10 years and crappy phones up until the Droid, just to be a second-class citizen compared to their coveted Apple crowd.

          • VZW4LIFE


            I know what you mean. They swear that is not the case, but since February I have had TWO Verizon reps be downright NASTY with me – a FIRST in the 5 years we’ve been with them. Our phones had not been crappy though – we had been really happy with all of our phones before Android, but it has been the STELLAR Verizon employees’ customer service that’s kept us loyal. To get 2 HORRIBLE reps within 2 months of iPhone, after 5 years with NONE? Very suspicious. In the end, my incidents happened after the AT&T/T-Mobile announcement, but that was not a surprise – T-Mobile’s been having issues a long time. They just weren’t big enough nor mean enough to hang toe-to-toe with AT&T.

            BTW: AT&T Internet side has already notified their customers of new usage caps and detailed monitoring of what they do on the Internet because Congress struck down net neutrality rules. Thanks to Congress, the monopoly that calls itself AT&T has elected to rake its customers over the coals as fast as they can.

            Here’s a taste of what they are doing:

            e.Conversion from DSL to U-verse High Speed Internet. When AT&T is able to provision Service to you via our U-verse High Speed Internet at your location, we may, in our discretion, discontinue your DSL service and make available to you AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet at the then applicable rates, terms and conditions, which may differ from your previous DSL Service rates, terms and conditions (including bundle discounts). If you are on a term plan and your price will increase as a result of this conversion, you will not have to pay any applicable ETF if you elect to cancel service.

            Your new AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet will require different customer premises equipment (“CPE”). When you are selected for conversion, we will provide at least thirty days’ notice of the discontinuation of your service via e-mail. Thirty days after such notice, we may at our sole discretion, either disconnect your service or temporarily suspend your service for up to fifteen days before we permanently discontinue service.

            According to AT&T, AT&T customers no longer get to choose which AT&T service they want. As of May 2, 2011.

    • without a subsidy, it most certainly is cheap. high end unsubsidized phones are often 600 or more.

    • Anonymous

      It depends. I remember when off-contract prices ‘feature-phones’ like the enV were priced upwards of $299 (sometimes more). Regardless of how you define ‘cheap’, you certainly are getting significantly more bang for your buck nowadays.

      • I remember paying $250 for a RAZR off-contract. I think they’ve always hyper-inflated the off-contract prices just to make you sign a contract. We’re just used to be screwed as customers. I think there needs to be standards set and every phone will work on any network. You buy your phone separate from the network (just like a computer-higher levels of competition) and you sign up for service. I know the chances of that happening are even less after the AT&T/T-Mobile deal, but it’s just a dream of mine 🙂

        • Anonymous

          That’s exactly what’s happening, I know a Verizon retail store that refuses to even sell phones off contract. Wasn’t it the nexus one that cost like $179 to build, so we can assume an end price of about $195-200, yet they want to sell you one off contract at more than $500. They increase their prices on the phones so that people won’t buy them off contract as most people would not buy a phone for $500-$600 (soon to be $700) dollars.

        • Wmsco51

          Phone co. sell service and phone manufacturers sell phones: competitive service and latest tech.for lower prices…Win Win

        • Anonymous

          In other words, the way mobile phones are sold in the rest of the civilized world. American consumers want their phones to be cheap, even if it means having a ball and chain for two years.

          • VZW4LIFE

            Don’t you mean most Americans want INSTANT GRATIFICATION no matter the trade-off? That ‘buy now, pay later’ mentality persists even now during one of the worst economic periods of our country’s history.

          • Ian

            I know a good deal of people who WILL NOT go for a phone on contract because they don’t do contracts if they can help it.

            Personally, I don’t tend to like to move from one cell phone to the other in a flash, so I’d just as soon go get a subsidy and get a better phone for less money. It’s not like they’re going to charge you that much less because you didn’t get the phone on contract.