According to something someone much smarter than most of us once figured out, at the rate research and development is going we should be outdating existing technology every six months. That’s probably why a new iPhone comes out every year or so. Fortunately, this means we get better and better toys each year. Unfortunately, this also means we have to pay more and more for them. However, the good guys over at “major service provider incorporated” offer loyal customers upgrades at severely discounted prices. You might need your phone contracts explained, however, since each service provider has different terms and conditions, but reading one might help clear up some of the mystery.

What is an Upgrade?

Basically, what phone companies like Verizon and AT&T mean when they say “you are eligible for an upgrade” is that you have been a loyal customer for long enough that they’re going to give you a new phone for almost nothing, which is, of course, a great reason to stick around until that time comes.

How Do They Work?

Like stylists at a hair salon, every service provider does upgrades a little differently. As general rule of thumb, most service providers allow customers to get a new phone, even one of the shiny, top shelf phones, after a certain number of months have past. You usually earn an upgrade within a few months of the end of your contract. At that time, you’ll either get to pick a new phone off the shelf for free, buy the phone at a severely discounted price, or get the phone for a small “upgrade fee.” For example, AT&T and Sprint both charge a $36 upgrade fee while Verizon will let you buy a new iPhone 5 for $199.99.

There Has to be a Catch

Well, yeah. But it’s not like you have to pay any hidden fees or sell your soul. The only catch that comes with upgrading your phone is that you’ll usually have to extend your contract, usually for two more years. But if you liked your service provider in the first place, you would have done that anyway, so no sweat. And if you were thinking about switching to a new service provider, you’d be signing a fresh contract and getting an upgrade-priced phone anyway. Woo-hoo!

The details of a phone contract are usually a pain to understand. Getting your phone contracts explained helps you wade through the fine print. But as far as the upgrade clause is concerned, the above is mostly what you need to know. Every service provider is going to handle upgrades differently, and that can mean a lot of things. Some providers might only allow you to get certain phones while others might give you an upgrade more often. Luckily, most service provider sites will let you plug in your phone number to see if you’re eligible for an upgrade and give you information for your particular situation.


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