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Unlimited Data Users Losing Another Upgrade Workaround at Verizon Come August 24

LG G3 Verizon - 11

Unlimited data users on Verizon, at this stage in the game, know most of the tricks when it comes to upgrading phones at a reasonable price. In other words, since Verizon took away unlimited data plans years ago, users of those plans have had to find loopholes in the system to allow them to keep their plans without having to fork out full retail prices for phones. Unfortunately, one of the most commonly used loopholes is about to be closed up. Come August 24, Big Red will force upgrades used on smartphones to keep data packages for the remainder of a contract, according to sources of ours.

Let me explain what this means. 

As I just mentioned, Verizon has tried throughout the last couple of years to kill off unlimited data plans by forcing customers off of those plans should they use an upgrade. In order to keep an unlimited data plan, customers of Verizon have had to pay full retail prices for phones, buy phones through the device payment plan (which is no longer an option because Verizon killed it on July 13), or use an upgrade on a separate line and then transfer that new phone over to the unlimited line. It’s this last option that is changing.

In that last scenario, a number of customers had figured out that they could use upgrades on lines that had feature phones (non-smartphones) to buy new discounted smartphones, but by doing a couple of tricks, could move the smartphone over to their unlimited line, while keeping their $9.99 per month feature phone line intact. It’s an involved process that works as follows. Customer uses an upgrade on the feature phone line to buy a new smartphone at a discounted rate, even though they are locking that line in for another two years. Verizon makes them add a $30 2GB per month data plan to that line initially with the purchase of the smartphone. However, once that smartphone is moved over and activated on the unlimited data line, the $30 2GB data plan on the old feature phone line can be cancelled, taking that line’s monthly price back to $9.99. You could, in theory, also do this by adding a new line to buy a smartphone before transferring the phone over to your unlimited line and then canceling the data package on the new line.

Make sense? It is by all means a loophole that many of us have used for a couple of years now.

So here is what’s changing.

  • Starting August 24, Verizon will require customers who upgrade or activate a new smartphone to have a data package for the length of their contract.
  • This applies to any customer with a “legacy plan” and who has purchased a smartphone with a 2-year agreement.

See what’s happening there? Instead of being able to upgrade a feature phone line to a smartphone, and performing the data package cancellation to drop the line back to $9.99 per month, customers will be forced into keeping a minimum $30 2GB plan attached to the line that is using the upgrade.

In order to avoid this new requirement, Verizon will offer two options:

  • Customers can switch to MORE Everything plans or;
  • Purchase or provide a non-contracted smartphone (Verizon Edge, full retail, etc.)

Why is Verizon doing this?

According to information we have received, Verizon believes that when it “gives customers a discount on the retail price of a smartphone, we expect them to pay for data services and keep the smartphone activated for 2 years. This change closes the loopholes which allowed customers to activate/upgrade a smartphone and immediately revert back to a basic phone, resulting in a discontinued smartphone with no associated data plan.”

There you have it. This new policy goes into effect on August 24.

  • cg

    Well, I guess I could do any number of things.

    I guess I can cancel both of my feature phone lines as soon as my contract is up with them. One is due next year and the other the year after that.

    Starting next month, I guess I can put away $70 a month for 12 months. The superficial changes Samsung made to the Note 4 from Note 3 isn’t getting me excited. I had planned on keeping the Note 3 for a full two years anyway, but if I was faltering in that decision, than Verizon made it easy. Note 5, here I come!!!

    I am not getting rid of my VZW unlimited data plan. I will be their most annoying customer (trust me you’ll hear about me in real life) when they start playing their throttle games. And if I falter, then T-Mobile, here I come…

  • admmck

    Any update on this?????

  • sgm182

    Can anyone confirm if you can use an upgrade on another smartphone line and then activate on my unlimited line? I’m hoping this is only for basic phone lines.

    • kg2105

      I hope this is still possible as well, really wish the Note 4 came out sooner.

  • Skyler W.

    I used my girlfriend to get an upgrade last year. She was on TMobile and the service is crap here. She wanted to switch to Verizon and they were having a deal where you get the S4 for $150. I bought the S4 and gave her my S3. Compared to her old phone it was a major upgrade. Previously I have just paid full price for a phone in order to keep my unlimited data. I’ll have to come up with a new scheme to get my next phone now.

  • Jeff Loux

    Transfer your unlimited data at Costco. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    • Max

      @jeff loux Does this work? the guy at the store told me it would, but I didn’t 100% believe him, since online costco says 100% you can’t do it.

  • Mike

    Looks like it is already in effect:

    MY VERIZON WIRELESS CUSTOMER AGREEMENT

    (Para una copia de este documento en espanol, visite nuestro website: vzw.com/espanol.)

    Thanks for choosing Verizon Wireless. In this Customer Agreement, you’ll find important information about your Service, including our ability to make changes to your Service or this agreement’s terms, our liability if things don’t work as planned and how any disputes between us must be resolved in arbitration or small claims court . If you’re signing up for Service for a minimum contract term, you’ll also find information about that contract term and what happens if you cancel a line of Service early or don’t pay on time, including the possibility of an early termination fee you may owe Verizon Wireless.

    MY SERVICE

    Your Service terms and conditions are part of this agreement. Your Plan includes your monthly allowances and features, where you can use them (your “Coverage Area”), and their monthly and pay–per–use charges. You can also subscribe to several Optional Services, like data add–on packages. Together, your Plan and any Optional Services you select are your Service. The terms and conditions for your Service can be found in the brochures that are available when you activate, or online at verizonwireless.com

    HOW DO I ACCEPT THIS AGREEMENT?

    You accept this agreement by:

    Agreeing in writing, by email, over the phone, or in person;

    Opening a package that says you are accepting by opening it; or

    Activating your Service.

    When you accept, you’re representing that you are at least 18 years old and are legally able to accept an agreement. If you’re accepting for an organization, you’re representing that you are authorized to bind that organization, and where the context requires, “you” means the organization. By accepting you are agreeing to every provision of this Agreement whether or not you have to read it.

    If you do accept, you can cancel a line of Service within 14 days of accepting this Agreement without having to pay an early termination fee as long as you return, within the applicable return period, any equipment you purchased from us or one of our authorized agents at a discount in connection with your acceptance of this Agreement, but you’ll still have to pay for your Service through that date. If you signed up for Prepaid Service, no refunds will be granted after 14 days or if your account has been activated. Your activation fee will not be refunded unless you cancel within three days of accepting.

    If you change your device or receive a Service promotion, you may be required to change your Plan to one that we are currently offering at that time.

    • admmck

      I ordered a phone last week and it worked fine…

  • disastrousrainbow

    I like hearing all these “In ten years when T-Mobile is this” or “When T-Mobile gains more customers” arguments. Don’t you all realize that when T-Mobile truly DOES get that big they’ll just be in the same realm as Verizon? Meaning, a huge carrier, needing to compensate, alleviate their network, etc? How do you think they’ll do that? By lowering their prices? By not instituting caps? You are absolutely ignorant if you think that day won’t come. Same as when their network stops returning 35mbps downloads once millions more start joining in. It’s what happened to Verizon, isn’t it? They had the fastest LTE network when it launched, but that’s because there wasn’t that many people on it.

    Now that a majority are, however, the speeds have gone down. What a shocking concept! So in ten years, yes, T-Mobile could very well be like Verizon, but just like Verizon that means many ungrateful, annoyed, irrational customers now complaining how crappy their service is compared to, shiz, I dunno whatever company is the new black.

  • Does it matter

    I guess it’s ok to go to a buffet with 5 people and only pay for 1 plate since we are going to pass that plate around. Hey I paid for the plate I can do what I want with it. Business is money and when it’s your business you protect it the way you need to. The same people crying about this are the ones who cry when Viacom and the other content providers want more money which then forces directv and other companies to lose the channel because they don’t want to pay more and pass the cost to you. Then you call directv and demand a discount or free month making directv have to buckle nad pay Viacom to get the content cause you need it So bad.