Verizon’s updated ETF policy won’t start shaving dollars off until 8 months in



Folks looking to sign up with Verizon won’t like this one: they have made a pretty big change to how their ETF policy works. As it stood just yesterday, the company would hit you with a $350 early termination fee for breaking out of a smartphone contract within its first month, though they’d shave off $10 every month until it expired.

That is no longer the case. A recent change to the policy now  keeps the fee firmly at $350 throughout the first 7 months of a contract. It isn’t until the 8th month that you’ll begin to see the fee deteriorate, and it’s broken down like so:

  • $10 reduction each month between the 8th and 18th month
  • $20 reduction each month between the 19th and 23rd month
  • $60 reduction on the final month.

Comes out to be about the same by the end of it all, but it certainly doesn’t look as appealing to break out within the first year and a half of the contract’s life. This is no doubt a move to counter T-Mobile’s promise to pay folks’ early termination fees for leaving their current carriers. Make it much more expensive for T-Mobile and it just might pressure the carrier to back out of that promise.

Of course, such a move could also note that the tactic is working beyond their wildest imagination. T-Mobile has added more and more customers each quarter, after all, and they’ve stolen the title of fastest growing carrier thanks to their new unCarrier strategy.

We’ve always gushed over the potential T-Mobile’s bold moves would have on the competitive state of the industry, though we’d rather see competing carriers look to add more value to their offerings instead of using sly tactics like this to try and stiff the competition.

A business has got to do what it’s got to do, though, and you can’t really tell Verizon much about how to run theirs — they still command the largest user base and the best network despite being known to have some of the priciest service, after all. The change goes into effect starting today for new contracts, though any contracts signed prior to the change are still subject to the old $10 deduction each month. You can read the full text of the change straight ahead.



If you’re signing up for Postpay Service, you’re agreeing to subscribe to a line of Service either on a month–to–month basis or for a minimum contract term, as shown on your receipt or order confirmation. (If your Service is suspended without billing, that time doesn’t count toward completing your contract term.) Once you’ve completed your contract term, you’ll automatically become a customer on a month–to–month basis for that line of Service. If you cancel a line of Service, or if we cancel it for good cause, during its contract term, you’ll have to pay an early termination fee. If your contract term results from your purchase of an advanced device on or after November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $350, which will decline by: $10 per month in months 8–18, $20 per month in months 19–23, and $60 in the final month of your contract term. For other contract terms entered into on or after November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $175, which will decline by: $5 per month in months 8–18, $10 per month in months 19–23, and $30 in the final month of your contract term. If your contract results from your purchase of an advanced device prior to November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $350 minus $10 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. For other contract terms entered into prior to November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $175 minus $5 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. Cancellations will become effective on the last day of that month’s billing cycle, and you are responsible for all charges incurred until then. Also, if you bought your wireless device from an authorized agent or third–party vendor, you should check whether they charge a separate termination fee.

[via Verizon]


Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Damn they suck

  2. Good to know for those who still sign contracts.

    1. Isn’t it cheaper in some cases to buy a phone with a new 2-year contract, then cancel, pay the ETF, and move the phone to your regular line. I’m thinking Note Edge. say $400 on contract, plus the $350 ETF, your paying $750. That’s better than the $900 off contract price.

      1. I never thought about it like that. I have unlimited data still so I don’t have that option.

  3. Ingenious. This is likely purely to get T-Mobile to buy out more of the ETF putting more pressure on them.

    From a consumer perspective all Verizon LTE device are unlocked. Verizon software modifies their android phones to work poorly on other carriers but the newer iPhones work beautifully on T-Mobile since it’s essentially the same device.

    1. My first thought this was just to piss off T-Mobile. No other reason.

  4. More reason why I am about to suck it up, pay the ETF, and leave Verizon. Damn this crap.

    1. Or have T-Mobile pay for you.

      1. Sure! If T-Mobile actually had coverage. They are the 4th largest carrier for that reason and will remain so until they actually do something to fill the huge gaps in their coverage.

        I call them T-Metro PCS for a reason. They have ZERO coverage outside of major cities and a few smaller cities dotted in here and there. I tried them out back in August. Coverage sucked everywhere I went (Metro Atlanta area), their speeds were no better than Sprint or Verizon’s, on 2G, 3G/HSPA+, or LTE, and their building penetration was comical.

        Needless to say, I sent my stuff back to T-Mobile with their prepaid return label. Nearly 3 months later and they are STILL trying to auto draft my card. After multiple calls to them, those dolts can’t even do something as simple as terminate auto pay, so I don’t have a ton of faith in T-Mobile building out their network.

        1. In about 3 more months T-Mobile will be the 3rd largest carrier.

          1. Highly doubtful. What you do see is how many people T-Mobile keeps adding. What you don’t see is how many people leave T-Mobile a short time later after they realize how bad their service truly is. Why do you think they lean so heavily on WiFi calling?

          2. I used to be with the overrated/overhyped Verizon, been with T-Mobile for 18mo’s now, I travel all over Connecticut, no complaints at all. That’s first hand, real world. You will see for yourself, it won’t be long before T-Mobile takes the #3 spot, they’ve had 5 consecutive quarters of strong growth, that’s the real world, not some perception problem that you have.

          3. Just Connecticut, eh? Well, I guess they’ve gotta be good somewhere.

          4. Umm…that’s where I live, duh! That’s all I can speak for regarding T-Mobile’s network, where I live.

          5. Err the way you were talking make it sound like T mobile has great coverage. Here it Michigan they cover less then half of the state.

          6. Where’s the perception problem? You only see the GROWTH. You don’t see the folks leaving after they realize how horrible T-Mobile service really is.

            And good for you for having excellent service in one of the SMALLEST states in the U.S. They probably covered it with, what, 4 towers? You being happy about traveling all over CT is just as dumb as anyone who complains about spotty coverage in the desert.

          7. 8 years with T-Mobile. Love love love them. The customer service has never been anything but great, and it actually has gotten even better over time. The reception and speed of course are not perfect, it’s not Verizon. But it’s also not Sprint. I get great reception all over Long Island, some 50-60 miles away from a major city. My speeds are fine at 15.4Mbps down, and that’s HSPA+ because my older phone isn’t LTE. Once I upgrade the handset, my speeds will jump accordingly. I’ve also noticed that the network keeps expanding since the dead spots with low signal when I travel to other states get fewer every year. I think they know their network needs work to catch up or they will lose their customers, and they’re investing as more folks sign up.

            Btw, I pay $53/month in a family plan with some friends. Unlimited voice, text, and 4G data with no throttling. I torrented 192GB of movies on my phone in July; they’ve never said a thing. It’s pretty awesome.

          8. I’m porting my number from Verizon this coming week when my first month with Cricket is up. Coverage has been pretty much the same with all of my traveling thus far in the past month. Speeds are limited to 8Mbps down on LTE and 4Mbps down on HSPA. I have no issues with those speeds.

            I’m paying $45/mo on auto pay with unlimited Talk/Text/3GB of Data per month and I don’t have to pay extra for hotspot if I need it. If I need extra data, it’s only $10/mo more for 10GB of data.

  5. Meh. Some of us sign a contract with the intention of fulfilling the contract, not looking for all the ways to game the contract.

    1. It’s not just gaming the contract. There are many reasons why one would want or need to get out of a contract. Just because people aren’t sticking out the 2 years doesn’t mean they’re trying to “game” anything.

      1. That’s fine. If two years is too much commitment for you, and $350 is too scary for you, don’t do business with them. But these incessant, “Man vzw is pure evil” comments just because they want to recoup the money they paid out on the front end of a contract gets tiring.

    2. I payed the fee to leave Sprint. I refused to stay on such a horrible service.

      1. I get great service from Sprint all over Maryland, DC and VA. I looked into T-Mobile, and they almost have more dead spots than they have coverage.

  6. No difference to me. Bout to sign another 2 year contract and will continue to do so until someone can match Verizon’s reliability.

    1. “Reliability”? Are you an advertisement? Verizon is just a marketing machine is all. I left Verizon for T-Mobile 18mo’s ago, no complaints at all, and I travel all over Connecticut by the way, T-Mobile’s network is great, and getting better all the time.

      1. Lol, congrats on traveling all over one of our nation’s smallest States. I had T-Mobile for 8 years up until 2012 and I seriously doubt they’ve expanded their coverage or increased the load capabilities of their towers, since then. My job has had me go to all corners of our country and my travels have been worry and stress free since leaving T-Mobile. Even in the middle of nowhere, I literally can not recall a time I have been without at least 3G on Verizon. I just got tired of being in major cities at sporting/major events and the network being unusable due to congestion. The final straw with T-Mobile was when my car broke down in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania and I struggled just to grab a bar or 2 of voice signal.

        1. Haven’t increased load capabilities? Are you aware that T-Mobile bought MetroPCS and has been merging their spectrum to launch 15mhz and 20mhz Wideband LTE? Your experience with T-Mobile is very, very old, they’ve been making tons of improvements in the past year, and more imorovements next year.

          1. Less than 2 years is hardly a long time considering my tenure with them, in which I was patient and gave them a chance to improve. At least they have solved their easiest problem. good luck to T-Mobile on that coverage though.

          2. Regardless of the amount of time I’ve been with T-Mobile, I have still been all over the state with my T-Mobile S4, not just a few places, strong signal everywhere. Their in the process of converting EDGE to LTE, and next year lighting up a ton of 700mhz markets, enough 700mhz to cover a little over 200m pops, they are making a ton of peogress.

          3. I travel for a living and my co-workers that utilize T-Mobile for their cell services are always complaining of terrible service/reception/dropped calls/etc – Verizon isn’t perfect but I can always count on a signal wherever my job takes me.

        2. 8 years on T-Mo here. They have definitely made improvements in the past two years, and it’s noticeable. Since then, I’ve travelled to NC, PA, FL, NY and NJ. The outskirts of Raleigh, NC wasn’t that good but the rest were great. I help organize a festival in Saylorsburg PA which is truly the middle of nowhere, but we’ve also been in Hawley and Bloomsburg, and I was in Bethlehem too. They all had good reception. There were a few dead spots in the mountains while driving on rare occasion, so no, they’re not Verizon. But I assure you T-Mobile is indeed making leaps. For $53 a month for unlimited everything vs $110 for just 10gb of data that my friends on Verizon pay, I’m quite happy.

          1. I’ve been on Verizon since the early 2000’s. I currently have a grandfathered unlimited data plan and no contract. However, it’s not close to T-mo rates. My traveling is mainly major cities. Any experiences in LA and Miami? Good services in those cities, and T-mo prices could entice me to leave.

  7. When I left Verizon, I had to pay $350, and I only had 1 year left on my contract. That was a few years ago, after they first bumped the etf to 350.

    1. What a deal!

  8. Vzw seems to really hate their customers. If their service wasn’t so good… least its free for me.

    1. And sadly, their customers don’t seem to mind being hated.

      1. I’ve never had a problem with Verizon customer service, I don’t understand why they get a bad rap. Now Comcast’s bad reputation is definitely earned.

        1. Because of policies like this one, and the fact that they track every single packet of data you send and sell that information to marketers, without telling you or giving you the option to opt out.

          1. They email privacy notices, and give you a link to opt out.

      2. Personally, I’m not their customer because I secretly wish they would be bff’s with me. I’m their customer because they have functioning cell towers in all of the regions I frequent.

        You people that make this stuff personal/emotional need to relax.

    2. Telecommunication and internet providers are generally DETESTED by their customers in all surveys. The reality is they have all the political control, and we have little choice, and that little choice is being made smaller every day.

      This Verizon shift is no different. (I am a Verizon customer with a grandfathered Unlimited plan) I am amazed when I visit so-called 3rd-world nations–where everything is more expensive–have cheaper and more customer favorable phone service and internet. Faster, cheaper, and much more phone choices. Then their are the other industrial nations which are much further ahead! One of the few if not the only country that allows companies to charge incoming call to your account.

  9. Llama Franco is Sad

  10. Why anyone puts up with Verizon’s anti-consumer, anti-privacy policies is beyond me. They make Comcast look consumer-friendly. Well, OK, that may be not be accurate, but still….

  11. I hate this company.

  12. This just gives me reason to be disgusted with Big Red. If they can’t hold customers based on service and quality, then this is just offensive!

  13. I inherited Verizon from my parents. This is the world we live in. And I want to burn it.

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