If you've got an iPhone and you're looking for a better deal from your phone company — more perks, lower monthly cost, better service — you may be considering switching to Verizon. It makes sense: Verizon has a big network and offers appealing prices. Before you switch your iPhone to Verizon you need to understand all of the costs that could be involved.
Go deeper on this topic by reading our article 7 Things To Do When Switching iPhone Phone Companies.
The Changing Phone-Company Landscape
It was only a few years ago that all of the major phone companies subsidized the cost of a new iPhone in exchange for customers signing up for a two-year contract. That meant that you could get an iPhone for a big discount off its full retail price if you just agreed to use that company for a few years. These days, though, phone-company subsidies and long-term contracts are mostly gone. That's why a new iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro can cost well over $1,000, while a brand-new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus costs less than half that much.
As those subsidies and two-year contracts ended and customers began to pay the actual cost of the phone, they started looking for phone companies who made the new phones affordable again. Most carriers came up with a combination trade-in and upgrade plan.
Switching Costs Vary Depending on Your Situation
Unfortunately, these new plans are more complex than the old subsidized ones and make figuring out the costs of switching to Verizon trickier. In fact, there are so many scenarios for switching, we can't provide a single cost. What we can do, though, is give you a sense of common costs for switching your iPhone to Verizon.
Buying a New Phone vs. Bringing Your Own
The first thing you need to figure out when switching to Verizon is whether you'll have any cost for your phone. You can use a phone you already own or buy a new one.
If you're switching a phone you already own, you need to know whether you owe any money to your old phone company for it. Many phone companies offer plans in which you pay for your phone in 24 monthly installments, rather than as a single, upfront cost. This makes the initial cost of the new phone lower, but it makes switching to a new phone company harder.
If you pay for your phone in installments, you either need to wait to switch until the phone is paid off or pay the full amount you owe to your old phone company in one chunk. How much that depends on the model you bought and how many payments you have left, but it can be a significant amount.
On the other hand, you can choose to buy a new phone when you move to Verizon. You'll still need to pay any balance on the old phone, but you may be able to get a promotional discount on the new one.
The best, cheapest scenario for switching is to own your iPhone outright. When you do that, you won't have any additional costs related to the phone itself.
You May Able to Trade in Your iPhone
You can save some money when moving to Verizon if you trade in a phone that you already own. As long as it's a relatively recent model, and you don't have any installment payments left on it, you may be able to get a few hundred dollars in trade-in value when you switch to Verizon. The exact models that qualify, and the exact amounts they can net you, change all the time, so check the Verizon site.
The trade-in value is usually credited to your account over a 24-month period, so it will only reduce your monthly costs by a few dollars. Given that, you might be better off selling a used iPhone before switching, since that can net more money.
Watch Out for Early Termination Fees
Though they're much less common than they used to be, you could have an Early Termination Fee (ETF) that you have to pay before leaving your old phone company. These are fees that are charged if you leave the company before an agreed-to period of time. Usually, the fee is calculated on a pro-rated scale that goes down for every month you stay with the company. Check with your current phone company, though, because ETFs can cost hundreds.
Everyone Pays Activation Fees
Verizon charges a one-time $30 activation fee for every device you're adding to your plan when you switch.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into calculating your costs when switching to Verizon. And this is all before you figure out what monthly service plan you want, how many phones you want on that plan, and other things that factor into the cost.
That said, as a potential switcher, you actually have some advantages. Because there are relatively few contracts these days, customers are able to switch between phone companies more often. That means that phone companies compete harder for your business. They offer limited-time promotions, discounts, and other offers to entice you. If you're thinking about switching, keep an eye on the promotions and you may be able to get a great deal, and save significant money, but taking advantage of the right offer.