Verizon Goes All-In on 36-Month Device Contracts

Verizon 5G

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When buying a phone from Verizon going forward, you’ll still have two familiar options. You’ll be able to pay full price and own your phone outright or you’ll be able to shrink the upfront cost of it down by signing a contract. That contract option, or device payment plan, is getting longer today from Verizon.

Previously available as 24 or 30 month options, Verizon has gone all-in on 36 month contracts for devices. After browsing through Verizon’s device line-up this morning, I did not find anything but a 36-month option for any phone, from cheap $160 phones up through $1,000+ flagships. Should you buy a device today or any time after on a payment plan, you will be signing a 3-year contract with Verizon.

Verizon 36 Month Contract

You might have some questions, so we’ll try to get out ahead of those now.

  • What if you are on a 24-month or 30-month contract now? You are all good. You get to keep your current plan. You signed that contract and it’s good until it runs out or you buy a new phone and have to sign one of these new 36-month contracts.
  • How early can you upgrade with a 36-month contract? Verizon’s FAQ says you can only upgrade after you pay off the device completely, so that means you either pay it off early or run out the entire 36 months.
  • Can you pay more each month to shorten the contract? Nope. You either pay your normal monthly amount or you pay it off entirely – those are you only options.
  • So there are no early upgrades anymore? As far as we can tell, no (upgrade FAQ). There are some upgrade specials for iPhones, but the rest are all locked into 36-month contracts.
  • What about tablets or watches or hotspots or laptops? Verizon is pretty clear that 36-months is the option forĀ everything going forward. Here is a screenshot to make that clear.

If you are in the market for a new phone from Verizon, this is certainly a new piece of the puzzle you will have to consider. Buying a Samsung Galaxy S22 on a 3-year contract might sound scary, but Samsung will provide really great software support on that phone for beyond 3 years. A 3-year contract, assuming you plan to stick with Verizon, will lower the monthly payments on that phone. However, buying a year-old phone on a 3-year contract or one from a device maker who is terrible at updates (like Motorola), is really something you should consider not doing.

In case you were wondering, AT&T made the switch to only offering 36-month contracts last year. T-Mobile turned to them back in 2018, but a look this morning showed options of 24-month and 30-month depending on the phone. We aren’t sure when they backed away from 3-year contracts, but they appear to be your last option outside of a 3-year deal from the 3 major carriers.

Verizon’s website says that 2/9/22 is the actual start date for these new 36-month device payment plans, but again, they are the only option online today. We’ve reached out to Verizon for any additional info they may have on this change and will update this post if needed.

What’s up, Canada?



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