And then there were three: Verizon is joining T-Mobile and AT&T with its own early upgrade plan, making Sprint the only major U.S. carrier without one.
Verizon today confirmed rumors of a new device payment and upgrade policy that will allow consumers to get the hottest devices without waiting up to 24 months to become eligible for one.
Launching Aug. 25, Verizon Edge (opens in new tab) expands on the current T-Mobile Jump and AT&T Next plans, but offers a quasi-unique take on how it should be done - such as making it available on both feature phones and smartphones.
Verizon Edge offers device upgrades after only six months, which is similar to T-Mobile's Jump but without the monthly fee. The plan also borrows from AT&T Next, which is also free of finance charges or upgrade fees.
The fine print
While AT&T Next spreads the retail price of a device over 20 months, Verizon Edge extends that to 24 months but allows customers to upgrade as early as six months later - as long as 50 percent of the device has been paid.
Verizon Edge does require the first month's payment at the time of purchase, but skips the long-term agreement required by AT&T, offering month-to-month service plans instead.
According to Verizon, customers will have to already be on Share Everything plans in order to sign up for Edge.
By comparison, AT&T Next is available even to those grandfathered in with unlimited data plans.
Verizon's move leaves Sprint standing alone with a traditional wireless carrier model, although it has gone in its own direction this month by offering new unlimited everything plans with a lifetime guarantee instead.
- Get ready for Verizon Edge with our updated Samsung Galaxy S4 review!