Petition Asking Verizon to Drop Contracts Draws 79K Sigs [Update]

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A petition hosted at Change.org is asking Verizon to follow in T-Mobile's footsteps and drop contract requirements for customers. The petition has already gathered more than 79,000 signatures out of a goal of 150,000.

[Update: We added Verizon's statement.]

Petition Image

Change.org Image for Petition

Earlier in April, T-Mobile announced its "Uncarrier" plans that let customers buy an iPhone without an annual service contract. The company is offering iPhone owners unlimited talk time for $50 a month, and 2GB of data for $10 a month or unlimited data for $20 a month.

With this plan, T-Mobile is essentially selling unsubsidized iPhones. Customers buy their iPhones for up-front down payments similar to the subsidized model, with 24 $20 monthly payments. Users can leave T-Mobile any time they want, though they must still pay off the iPhone if they do.

In practice, the Uncarrier plan is similar to the subsidy model that is the norm in the U.S., but it allows users the freedom to leave the carrier without a penalty. Plus, users who use their devices for longer than two years save money after the device is paid off.

AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all subsidize iPhone prices with a required two-year contract, but users continue paying the higher price for their data plans as long as they use their devices.

On April 8th, Verizon said that it would consider dropping the contract/subsidy model if customers asked for it. The petition at Change.org is an attempt to rally Verizon's 100 million customers to do just that, ask Big Red. From the petition:

Getting rid of carrier contracts is a win for customers. Verizon's CEO, Lowell McAdam, has already expressed his willingness to do away with them if consumers speak loud enough about it. So here's your chance: sign this petition to tell Verizon to end carrier contracts and create an affordable way for consumers to purchase their devices. If you're a current customer, you don't have to switch carriers or have plans to switch carriers. I've been a long-time Verizon customer and I don't see myself ever leaving; but I want that choice myself; I don't want them making it for me and imposing stiff penalties if I do decide to leave.

You can read more at Change.org.

In a statement, Verizon told The Mac Observer, "Verizon Wireless has for years offered many different choices for customers, including contract plans or month-to-month plans that do not require a contract."

Note that the comment doesn't really say anything, but the petition hasn't even been submitted yet. As such, a noncommittal statement is far more than many companies would offer in response.

Comments

Bob

It will be interesting to see what happens when someone on T-Mobile gets a new phone, say 18 months in, and still has to pay for their old phone for another 6 months.

gnasher729

What happens if you buy a car and decide to buy a new one before the other one is paid off? Same thing.

The difference to the subsidy model is that after 18 months you owe T-Mobile exactly the amount of money of the phone purchase price that you haven’t paid yet. If you buy a $579 phone for $99 downpayment plus 24 x $20 monthly payments, you owe them $120 which you continue paying $20 a month for the next six months. However, you don’t have to pay them for the service for your phone because there is no contract (of course you can’t use the old phone when you don’t pay for service), but you can sell your phone, and the buyer is free to use it with T-Mobile or anyone offering a non-subsidized phone contract.

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