Verizon has discovered a fun new way to retain customers: Make their contracts last longer. As spotted by Droid Life last week, Verizon has recently done away with its 24-month and 30-month contracts, which it calls device payment programs. Going forward, if you want to buy a phone through Verizon, the only options will be to pay the full retail price of the phone upfront or sign on for a 36-month contract. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
Verizon extends all contracts to 36 months
As Droid Life notes, Verizon’s new 36-month contracts apply to virtually every device that the carrier sells. In an FAQ on its website, Verizon explains that the device payment terms are 36 monthly installments for smartphones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, and more. Basically, every electronic device available from Verizon now has a 36-month contract.
Additionally, Verizon won’t let customers pay more than the scheduled monthly installments. For example, if you buy a 128GB iPhone 13, you will be paying $22.22 a month for 36 months. You can’t pay more to shorten the term of the payment program. Your choices are to either continue paying exactly $22.22 every month, or pay off the rest of the phone.
This change certainly won’t be to everyone’s liking. The good news is that if you had a 24-month or 30-month contract with Verizon prior to February 3rd, 2022, the terms of your old agreement will not change. You can continue to pay off your phone and reconsider when it comes time to buy a new phone. With the iPhone SE 3 set to arrive in March, many Verizon customers are going to run up against this issue sooner than later.
On one hand, customers are holding on to their smartphones far longer than before. An iPhone 11 or a Galaxy S10 might not be an ideal pocket companion in 2022, but my iPhone 11 is going on its third year and is no worse for wear. That said, as Droid Life warns, not all smartphone makers support their phones for as long as Apple does.
In any case, this move was probably inevitable. AT&T switched over to 36-month contracts last year and hasn’t looked back. T-Mobile experimented with 36-month contracts in 2018 as well, but now offers 24- and 30-month contracts again.