Verizon today posted an update on their website indicating that subscribers will no longer be eligible for early upgrades 20 months into their contract. Instead, subscribers will have to wait a full 24 months before becoming eligible for subsidized upgrade pricing.
The new rule will be applicable to customers who entered into a Verizon contract in January 2012 or later.
In alignment with the terms of the contract, customers on a two-year agreement will be eligible for an upgrade at 24 months vs. today's early upgrade eligibility at 20 months. This change aligns the upgrade date with the contract end date and is consistent with how the majority of customers purchase new phones today. The first customers impacted by this change are customers whose contracts expire in January 2014. As always, customers may purchase a new phone at the full retail price at any time.
Though Verizon notes that their new upgrade rules are more consistent "with how the majority of customers purchase new phones today," it's worth pointing out that both Sprint and AT&T still offer 20-month upgrade eligibility for customers.
And speaking of nationwide carriers, T-Mobile on Friday began selling the iPhone 5 for only US$99 with a 24-month payment plan.
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.