Verizon Wireless goes contract free; how hard will swapping multiple handsets be?

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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