New pricing discourages upgrades - a summary of my options I've said it in earlier posts - the new pricing model discourages casual-to-non-data users from getting a decent phone toward the end of their contracts. My NE2 eligilibility comes up early next month, and I was considering applying it toward the purchase of an EnV3 or Touch (because I have the EnV2 now and like the form factor and features). We're not heavy TXTers, don't use mobile web, so why need the features on the phone? Answer - we don't, really. But for saving notes on the notepad, typing in contacts, sending the occasional TXT, the keyboard is pretty much a must-have.
I use the minimal Family plan with 3 lines. With this new pricing structure, I'd be required to add a $10/mo data plan for the two lines I'd upgrade, raising my monthly obligation from $80 (before taxes) to $100, a 25% price increase.
I do not know how common my 'profile' is among Verizon customers - if users like me comprise 0.01% of their customers or 20% of their customers. But for those who use their phones as I do, they're providing significant motivation to hold out until all our lines come off contract and move to one of their MVNOs like Page Plus. One has to assume that Verizon has calculated that they'll lose a fraction of said users but that the increased profit from these data plans will surpass the income from departing 'low-profit' customers...
The next question (for me) becomes how much the subsidy of a 2-year contract amortizes out on the monthly cost (that I'd pay) were I to purchase one of the '3G multimedia' phones off contract and just activate it on a PagePlus account. After all, two of the Page Plus Talk&Text 1200 plans plus one Standard plan would set me back $62.50/mo, but would nearly quadruple my airtime allowance (no longer 700 minutes shared), would add 2400 TXT messages (I currently pay per TXT), and 50MB per line (for two of the lines), probably plenty for my needs. Sticking with Verizon would cost me about $100-110/mo (including discounts available to me and taxes/fees) if I upgrade my phones... Total cost difference works out to $960 over 2 years for my account. For the non-data phone, I could purchase an LG VX8300 from Page Plus for $60, leaving me $450/phone to get off-contract new phones from Verizon (yes, up-front cost) for the total spend over 2 years to be equal.
So for an EnV-3, I'd pay $300 non-contract (today's price on VZW website for non-contract), saving me $300/2 years (more than the cost of one of the required data plans). For the EnV Touch, I'd save about $100 over 2 years - almost doesn't seem worth it, except that in addition to saving $4/mo, I'd have many more minutes and much less worry (if any) over TXT usage. So I'd actually be able to USE those 3G features (some, anyway) without additional cost to me. It's not looking good for me sticking with Verizon...
Thankfully, my current pricing is retained until I either upgrade phones or change plans, which I'm not inclined to do, given the new requirements. So, I'll just hang on until my last contract expires in early August (can't justify paying an ETF) and see what makes sense (e.g. if this new pricing model has blown up in Big Red's face) at that time.
Apparently there is no stipulation that you have to pay the ETF in one chunk immediately upon early termination. ATT charged me $175 plus 6% sales tax (Maryland rate) which amounted to another $10.50. My response was to faithfully pay them $25 per month for 7 months (and not a cent in state sales tax). I thought that the slow ETF payment partially offset them charging my credit card a full month ($85) for for 4 days of service in my last month (Feb 25 - Feb 28) in a month that normally ran from Feb 25th through March 24th had I not early terminated on the 28th. I have heard of people paying as low as $1 per month or less for ETF. I just felt that $25 per month was more than reasonable enough for the greedy likes of ATT and Verizon!