Verizon's Edge program now allows users to get a new phone every 30 days, though it's still just as expensive to do so.
Under the Edge program, subscribers get a new phone for no money down, with the full (unsubsidized) price spread out over 24 monthly installments. Edge users can then trade in that phone for a new one after paying half the total price, minus any previous installments paid. Trade-ins were previously available after six months, but now users can upgrade much more frequently.
For example, Apple's iPhone 5S costs $27.15 per month with Verizon Edge, compared to a $200 one-time payment with a two-year contract. After 30 days, Edge users can pay $325--minus any installments they've paid already--and trade in the iPhone for a new device. Essentially, users are paying a premium for the privilege of upgrading often.
Unfortunately, Edge has the same pitfalls as it did before.
Unlike AT&T and T-Mobile, Verizon offers no discount on wireless service to Edge customers, making early upgrade privileges more expensive. (AT&T subtracts $15 from your monthly bill for up to two lines, while T-Mobile's subsidy-free plans are less generally expensive than other carriers even after the $10 per month charge for early upgrades.)
All of these programs also become bigger rip-offs if you wait longer than one year to upgrade. With every month that goes by, you're just paying more toward the full, unsubsidized price of your current phone.
Verizon isn't the only carrier that's been tweaking its early upgrade offering. AT&T's $15 discount for Jump customers only arrived in December, five months after the early upgrade plan launched. And last week, Sprint discontinued its One Up early upgrade program. Although carriers are aggressively pushing these early upgrade programs, it seems that customers are doing the smart thing and approaching with caution.