How does the Verizon Upgrade Work?

By Elle Di Jensen

Get a new phone discounted or free when you upgrade with Verizon.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Mobile technology improves with every new discovery. Since technology moves so fast, you often buy a phone only to feel outdated when companies unveil new features. Recognizing an opportunity, many mobile service providers like Verizon have instituted an upgrade program that provides new, free or discounted phones every two years in exchange for signing another contract.

Begin Your Service

When you start service with Verizon Wireless, the company gives you a discount on a mobile phone if you agree to a two year contract. Verizon offers many phones from the Apple iPhone to Samsung. You also purchase services that change depending on the type of phone you buy. For example, a smart phone like iPhone requires a data package. Some models are entirely free while you have to pay for others to take advantage of more features. From the moment your phone is activated, you start adding time towards an upgrade with Verizon.

Upgrade After 20 Months

Although you commit to 24 months of cell phone service with Verizon, after 20 months your phone becomes eligible for an upgrade. Verizon gives you that early 4 month window to consider whether you need or want a new phone and which phone you want to upgrade to. Just like when you initially signed a contract with Verizon, there will be an assortment of phones to choose from and the price you pay depends on the features, such as a camera or web capabilities.

Sign a New Contract

When you decide to upgrade your phone, you sign a new service contract with Verizon. Verizon gives you a new free or discounted phone in exchange for your continued commitment to the company for your mobile communication service. When you upgrade and sign a new contract with Verizon before your previous contract has expired, the new contract starts when you activate your new phone. Even if you take advantage of the upgrade the minute you become eligible, you won't have to add the remaining 4 months onto the new contract. Your new contract begins immediately, and your next upgrade is available after 20 months.

Other Upgrading Details

If unsure of when your phone will be eligible for an upgrade, there are several ways you can find out. The easiest is to dial #UPG from your current cell phone. This will connect you with Verizon's automated system that will to tell you when your phone can be upgraded. You also log onto your account via Verizon's site to find this information or, if you prefer to talk to a customer service representative about the upgrade process you can call the toll-free number. You can do the actual upgrade on the Internet on Verizon's website, at a local Verizon store, or over the phone with a Verizon customer service representative. Be aware that when you sign a contract with Verizon and take advantage of the free or discounted phones, there is a penalty for early cancellation of contract. This can amount to anywhere from $175 to $350.