Is the biggest US wireless carrier starting to feel some pressure from its rivals? Perhaps. Today, as the next part of the company's "better matters" campaign, Verizon announced that it will pay up to $650 to help you switch away from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint. "Verizon will buy out your contract and cover early termination fees and device or lease buyouts from your old wireless provider," the company said in a blog post. That $650 figure is per line, so Verizon notes that a family of four can receive up to $2,600.
The way it works on Verizon is similar to the promotions that other carriers have offered for months now. (Here's AT&T's version.) Trade in your current smartphone, buy a new one on Verizon's device payment plan, and you'll get "up to $650 on a prepaid card" (less the device trade-in value) to cover any remaining installment payments you owe AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint. If you're on a contract, you can receive "up to $350" on a prepaid card, also less the trade-in value, to effectively cancel out any early termination fee that you'll face for switching to Verizon.
Whereas T-Mobile puts a lot of advertising focus on Uncarrier perks (i.e. Music Freedom) and Sprint is trying to undercut everyone, Verizon continues to hang its hat on network performance and reliability — just as it always has. But apparently the company has realized that network reputation alone might not be enough; making it easier for switchers has become status quo across the industry, and now Verizon is finally joining in.