Verizon implements radical change to upgrade policy

For 10 years, Verizon customers have grown accustomed to the carrier’s “New Every Two” program, which allows them to get a new Verizon phone at a discount after 20 months. But starting January 16, the program will come to an end and replaced with a new upgrade system.

Verizon isn’t detailing what the new program will be, but assures anyone who buys a phone before January 16 will still be eligible for the long-advertised upgrade deals.

The previous program allowed customers to get a new phone for $30 to $100 off the price without needing to extend their service contract.

“Customers who sign up for plans before Jan. 16 will be grandfathered in to the ‘New Every Two’ program so they can use it one more time,” confirmed Verizon spokesperson Chuck Hamby in an interview with The Star-Ledger. Hamby had a busy day yesterday answering questions about the news.

One thing he couldn’t say, though, is what upgrades will be like.

Surely this can’t be a coincidence, coming just days after Verizon announced the impending availability of the iPhone 4. The carrier is obviously looking at big ways to change its brand due to that announcement.

The new upgrade program is “still going to have plenty of value in it, it will just be simpler to understand,” said Hamby, but nothing more than that.

However, for those who are already Verizon customers and looking to get the iPhone 4, their existing upgrade credits will be applicable.