Verizon's New 'Edge' Plan Allows Smartphone Upgrades Every 6 Months

Verizon will soon make it easier for customers to upgrade to a new smartphone.

The company on Thursday announced a new "Edge Plan" designed to allow customers to upgrade to a new handset after just six months with their current device. That alone might be enough to get customers to switch to Verizon, but as with everything else, there's a catch.

According to Verizon, in order to sign up for Edge, customers will need to choose a month-to-month service plan, and not the standard two-year agreement. The cost on that device will be divided over 24 months and added to the service bill. Upon picking up the new handset, the device's first monthly payment will be due.

Once the six-month mark hits, customers will be able to get their hands on a new smartphone if, and only if, they've paid half the retail price of their previous handset. However, since the device is being sold on a no-contract plan, customers won't get the subsidized pricing they're used to with two-year deals.

Verizon's Edge announcements comes after AT&T, its chief competitor, showed off its own early-upgrade option, called Next. Like Verizon's Edge, that option lets customers pay for a full-retail smartphone over 20 months, but upgrade their device every year. It's somewhat similar to T-Mobile's own no-contract plans.

So, what does this mean for mobile users? It appears, at the very least, that the smartphone market is changing, and finally, customers aren't going to be locked into artificial upgrade policies. Still, there's a good chance that the carriers have thought this out clearly, and as nice as it might be to get a new smartphone every six months or a year, you can bet you'll be paying for it.