I have been looking forward to replacing my Blackberry 8830 World Edition for several months now. The phone, even with ample extended memory, is sluggish and does not have the same capabilities other modern phones have.
With the release of the Motorola Droid, I decided this was a good opportunity to upgrade. On my way home from work on Friday I stopped by the Verizon Wireless store, confirmed I was happy with the phone, and walked out of the store with my purchase including some accessories.
It was an expensive evening, but I’m happy with the purchase so far. The good news is I’ll be paying less per month for a while. But here’s a breakdown of what it would cost to own a Motorola Droid on Verizon Wireless.
The first thing you will notice is the price of the phone. If you start or re-start a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless, the phone costs $299.99 with a $100 rebate available. If you buy the phone in person, you will have to send in your receipt to receive the rebate in the form of a debit card, but if you buy the phone online, the rebate is instant. I also had my “New Every Two” rebate, reducing my cost by $50.
The phone comes with a regular charger but if you want a car charger, Verizon sells the necessary micro USB charger for $29.99 in the store but you can find less expensive options are available on Amazon.com. Verizon also wants you to buy a multimedia docking station. I did not find this necessary, but I did buy the car mount, $29.99 at the store. The navigation features on the Droid rival the best GPS devices, and the car mount makes those features convenient.
The cheapest monthly plan at Verizon Wireless is $39.99 for unlimited nighttime and weekend minutes and 450 anytime (any other time) minutes, but any “smartphone” requires a data plan in addition to the voice plan, so you’ll pay another $29.99. At this time, using the cell phone as a computer modem is not supported on the Droid. I did have “tethering” with the BlackBerry, so I will be saving $30 per month by canceling this feature until Verizon offers it on the Droid early next year.
Verizon Wireless wants to ensure that Droid users don’t abandon the network before the end of their contract. Phones are sold at a loss by the company with the expectation that they will make back the cost of the phone, and profit, through monthly fees. Full retail price of the phone is $559.99. To protect itself further, and to encourage customers to purchase sooner rather than later, on November 15 Verizon will be doubling the early termination fee on for Droid purchasers to $350 from $175. This fee drops by $10 every month of the contract, but it is still a gutsy move when early termination fees have already been judged illegal in California.
Total cost of owning a Motorola Droid on Verizon Wireless
Assuming you don’t go over your minute allowance, here is what buying a Droid could cost you.
|Motorola Droid after $100 rebate||$199.99|
|Car charger accessory (optional)||$29.99|
|Car mounting accessory (optional)||$29.99|
|24 months voice plan 450 minutes||$959.76|
|24 months data plan||$719.76|
|24 months 500 text msgs (optional)||$240.00|
|18 months tethering (optional)||$540.00|
You’ll pay more if you want more accessories, like the multimedia dock or a Bluetooth headset. Many of the applications you can install on the phone require a small fee, and some, like the visual voicemail app, disappointingly carry a monthly charge. However, Google Voice is a good, free option, and it integrates seamlessly with the Droid. There are many other useful apps that are free.
So far I like the Droid. It is a major improvement over the BlackBerry 8830. For those who like AT&T, check out the true cost of the iPhone 3G.
Photo credit: allaboutgeorge
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published November 9, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.