The chains are broken but is it too early to party yet? I’m talking about what I call “cellular servitude” and it just became optional for Verizon Wireless customers. Effective today, you can go month-to-month for your cellular plan and bypass both the long-term one or […]

Logo_vzwThe chains are broken but is it too early to party yet? I’m talking about what I call “cellular servitude” and it just became optional for Verizon Wireless customers. Effective today, you can go month-to-month for your cellular plan and bypass both the long-term one or two year contract as well as your handset subsidy. That’s right, you’ll be paying full price for a handset with no contract, but at least you now have the option of bringing your own CDMA handset to the network. That’s something the GSM-based customers of AT&T and T-Mobile have done for years due to their easy-to-swap SIM cards.In practice, I’m not sure it will be as easy as that however. You’ll likely have to involve Verizon Wireless each and every time you want to switch handsets because there is no SIM card involved. The press release doesn’t mention the particulars of how this will all work, so if you have half-a-dozen CMDA phones under your mattress, you might want to think this all through. In any case, the change applies all customers, both current and new: just contact VZW if you want to go month-to-month, although if you’re in a current contract, you’ll have to wait it out or pay a pro-rated Early Termination Fee. Now if I could just get Verizon Wireless to enable the GPS radio in my EV-DO modem, I’d be heaven. Well, maybe not in heaven, but at least I’d know exactly how far from it I am. If this no-contract option sounds appealing, you can already see what it will cost you out of pocket for a new phone or wireless broadband solution: VZW already has the unsubsidized pricing option available for all of the devices they sell on their site. Don’t be surprised when you see that $99 Centro going for $349.99.

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  1. The interesting thing is that Korean CDMA carriers have made it easy to swap phones for years through a standard called RUIM (Removable User Identity Module). Many of the CDMA phones we have here in the US are also available in RUIM versions in Korea, obviously including many of those from Samsung and LG. Perhaps Verizon will consider adopting that standard here in the US.

  2. Verizon has had an online ESN changing feature available thru their Customers “My Verizon Wireless” website for quite sometime now. This allows one to change their CDMA handset without involving VZW customer service, most of the time. The only hassle I have come across is when I wish to transfer to an older device or a from a Non EVDO device to a EVDO device and vice versa. So if your like me and have several CDMA Verizon devices that are fairly modern, it is trouble free.. And also, it works finer for DATA cards and USB Modems. I regularly switch between several PC Cards and a 720 USB Modem without a hitch.

    This will be a very nice option for those wanting to use DATA devices but not get nailed for a year. As long as you can “social engineer” yourself out of an activation fee, this is a sweet offering. I feel they will be tougher on the Activation Fees, but in the same breathe if you are bringing your own customer owned equipment to the dance you should at least have a chance on beating the activation fee.

  3. Bernard Farrell Monday, September 22, 2008

    One of these decades we’ll catch up with the rest of the world. In Ireland it has been possible (for at least the last 10 years) to switch handsets and carriers by taking out a small card (don’t know what it’s called).

    This is a small step by Verizon. I won’t really be satisfied until I see them letting us use any phone we want to connect to their network.

  4. if I read this correctly, it appears that there is no difference between the monthly price of a month-to-month plan versus a 2-year contract plan. if that is correct, I am impressed with this offering by Verizon.

  5. You read it correctly: nationwide voice and data plans are the same monthly price: with or without a contract. Makes sense as they’re essentially swapping the subsidy on the hardware from their budget to yours. The plans shouldn’t be affected.

  6. citivolus: I believe the difference is that now you pay full price for phones instead of getting a discount when you purchase a 2 year service plan.

  7. that’s great to hear. yes, it *should* be that only the handset price is affected, since mobile carriers have used the subsidization excuse as the reason for ETF’s and such. just didn’t expect them to put their money (as in lack of recurring revenue) where their mouth is!

  8. Now does this mean that Verizon will start activating Sprint handsets? I remember a while back they said they would do that at some point in the future. Their press release stated “Verizon Wireless’ new Month-to-Month agreement gives customers the freedom to purchase new devices at full-retail price, or use their own CDMA devices…” Nothing about it being a Verizon-branded device.

  9. The only thing missing is that verizon should stop rounding off Minutes.. if i make a call for one Minute one second i get charged for two Minutes… get’s my goat when i get charged for going over my Minutes when my real time use was just over hafe the time

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