Monday, November 15, 2010

When can I upgrade my Verizon Wireless cellphone, how do I get an early upgrade from Verizon Wireless? How much do cell phones cost?

How often can you upgrade your Verizon Wireless cellphone? How do you get an early upgrade from Verizon Wireless? How much do cell phones cost?

Well, this is a pretty easy one; let me start by telling you how buying cellphones works. That Droid cellphone you're looking at has a 'real' retail price in the $500 range. When you sign up as a brand new customer, Verizon will give you a few hundred dollars off the cost in order to get your business, so you pay $200 (or less at Amazon!) Now, Verizon needs to make that $300+ dollars back plus some profit from your monthly plan in order to stay in business and keep providing their great network (contrary to popular belief, even expensive monthly plans don't make a huge profit). This is why Verizon Wireless will charge you an early termination fee (of about $350 on a smartphone for example) if you cancel your account early. They want to get back their subsidy.

They also want you to resign your contract on a regular basis because then they can rely on your future spending as a customer. Thus, they make you wait a certain amount of time between the last time you got a big discount on a phone and the time when you resign your contract and get another big discount on a phone. You're always able to buy a new phone, just not always at the discounted price. (And yes, they really do cost a lot of money. Compare the price of a phone to another piece of consumer electronics like an Ipod Touch! Thats why you should treat your phone as nicely as you treat your Ipod!) 'Upgrade' is also a misnomer; technically they should call it 'Discounted Pricing.'

Long story short, how long do I have to wait to get an upgrade?

Plan Cost                                                    Months
(Tracked per phone, not per account)      (Until you can get another discount on a phone)
9.99-59.98                                                  20
59.99 +                                                       12 (or wait 20 and get an even bigger discount)

A sales associate can also move you update ahead by 7 days in a store.

Hope this helped someone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

How do I block a number that keeps calling me on my Verizon Wireless cellphone?

It is never a good thing when you get annoying or harassing phone calls from the same number over and over again. What options does Verizon Wireless offer to block a phone number from calling you?

The only official method provided by Verizon to block a number from calling you is to use Usage Controls (you can get a description and sign up for them here). Usage controls costs $4.99 a month, and it lets you do a lot of other things too. You can set up usage allowances that set limits for voice minutes and messages used during a billing cycle (to prevent overages) as well as set up time restrictions that allow you to limit and control cell phone use by day and time (no texting in school, for example)!

You also have the option of changing your number, but that is usually.

There are a few other options which won't outright block calls from being received but may make them less annoying. If you have a regular feature phone just add the annoying number to your contact list, and then give that number a custom ringtone that is silence. If they call your phone, you won't here it ring, although they'll still be able to leave a voicemail if they choose. Some newer feature phones even allow you to send a contact straight to voicemail.

If you have an Android powered smart phone like these, you get a lot more options. You can download many different call blocking programs from the Android Market, but my favorite is Call Blocker Gold. Again, it can't stop a call from coming to your phone, but you can tell it to hang up, send straight to voicemail, or answer with silence for any number, or a string of numbers (like 1-800 numbers). It even works with text messages!

Hope this helped someone!