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Verizon unveils early smartphone upgrade plan

4:43 AM, Jul 19, 2013   |    comments
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  • AT&T plan lets users upgrade phone every year
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  • Days after AT&T revealed its plan to allow rabid gadget fans to quickly upgrade to the latest smartphones, rival wireless carrier Verizon is following with its own option.

    The company confirmed the arrival of Verizon Edge, a new program for consumers who want the flexibility of upgrading their devices more frequently than every two years.

    Consumers pay for the full price of the phone, in 24 monthly installments. After six months, they can choose to upgrade to a new device as long as they pay for 50% of the full price of the smartphone.

    Customers on Verizon's Share Everything plans can start using Edge on August 25.

    Verizon's Edge follows T-Mobile's Jump and AT&T Next in providing users with the option to upgrade sooner than the traditional two-year contract allows. Each has varying stipulations, such as a down payment on a device from T-Mobile or the option to buy a tablet on AT&T Next.

    But they do share one common trend: any customer who uses this option will likely spend a lot more money.

    Let's look at what happens when you purchase an iPhone 5 under Edge. A 16-GB iPhone 5 sells for $650 on the Verizon Wireless website. Divide that over 24 months, and you have a monthly payment of roughly $27.08, not counting your plan or potential fees.

    After six months, a consumer will have spent $162.48 on their iPhone 5 under the Edge plan. So, what happens if you want to upgrade? The consumer must have paid $325 toward the cost of the phone in order to upgrade, which means they would pay roughly $162 to hand Verizon your iPhone 5 and start over with a new device. A consumer would have to make 12 payments in order to hit the 50% mark and upgrade without forking over cash up front.

    Readers, what's your take on these early upgrade plans?

    Brett Molina, USA TODAY

    Gannett / USA Today

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