Verizon Wireless Eliminates Early Upgrade Eligibility, Must Wait Full 24 Months

We're not trying to pick on Verizon Wireless today (really, we're not), but we can't help it if the wireless carrier insists on putting targets on its back. The latest bit of news from Big Red is that it's getting rid of early upgrade eligibility and requiring that its subscribers ride out the entire length of their contracts before getting a new phone at a discounted rate.

Previously VZW subscribers would be eligible to upgrade at a reduced rate after 20 months. That's still an eternity with how fast the smartphone market evolves, but it was certainly nice to have the option of purchasing something new ahead of schedule. Not anymore.

Kyocera 6035
If your phone is this old, you're probably eligible for an upgrade.

"In alignment with the terms of the contract, customers on a two-year agreement will be eligible for an upgrade at 24 months versus today's early upgrade eligibility at 20 months," VZW announced today. "This change aligns the upgrade date with the contract end date and is consistent with how the majority of customers purchase new phones today. The first customers impacted by this change are customers whose contracts expire in January 2014. As always, customers may purchase a new phone at the full retail price at any time."

VZW didn't provide any other reasoning for the change, stating only that most customers wait until their contracts expire anyway. Fair enough, though it'd be nice of the company supported its position by supplying numerical data. Otherwise, it looks like an arbitrary change in terms at a time when the competition is heating up.