The year 2000 was not an easy one for me. I had hardly any money thanks to a low-paying non-profit job and student loan debt. Even when not spending much beyond the necessities, I wasn’t improving my financial condition. I was moving around from apartment to apartment; by 2004 I would had lived in seven different locations in four years, in different locations across the sate of New Jersey. It became apparent that I was going to need a cell phone, and I was probably one of the last of my friends to get one. This was at a time I had no money for tech.
In 2000, it was clear that Verizon Wireless offered the best service and coverage in my area, so I chose them over Cellular One, AT&T Wireless, Sprint PCS, and Nextel. I’ve been a customer of the company since then. Every two years, I renewed my contract and benefited from the “New Every Two” credit of (previously) $100 to use towards a phone, usually making the new phone free. Of course, I was not required to buy a new phone every two years or sign a new contract. I often did wait longer than two years to use the credit and re-sign my contract. For my first renewal, I waited until I had a new job and was earning some money. I was happy to see the Kyocera go; by that time, the phone’s technology was considered ancient.
I’ve taken advantage of the “New Every Two” discount several times since then, despite Verizon Wireless reducing the credit to $50. Some customers today qualify for only a $30 credit because the value depends on the type of calling plan that accompanies the phone.
Verizon Wireless has been offering bad news lately. First, the company announced that the carrier will begin offering the iPhone, but with only 3G capability. Now, customers who sign a new contract or renew a contract after January 16 will have no “New Every Two” discount to look forward to. The discount was a good way for Verizon to maintain loyal customers. To be clear, existing customers who have New Every Two on their contract will have the chance to use their New Every Two discount, even after January 16, but after that, New Every Two will not be part of their new contract, and the credit will not be available when they renew again two years later.
Will the company be able to keep customers without offering significant incentives to prevent attrition to other carriers?
Photo: Sonny Side Up!
Updated January 18, 2011 and originally published January 14, 2011.