Verizon to drop new one-year contracts starting April 17

Two-year and prepaid month-to-month contracts to continue, Verizon confirms

Verizon Wireless confirmed Friday that it will stop offering one-year service contracts for smartphones and other mobile phones, effective April 17.

The carrier will continue to offer two-year contracts and month-to-month prepaid service plans, a spokeswoman told Computerworld via email.

Verizon decided to eliminate the one-year subscriptions, which offered users a discount over the cost of an unlocked smartphone, because the plans weren't popular. "The greater majority of customers sign up for a two-year contract and take advantage of the discounted promotion price," the spokeswoman said in an email.

Customers who already have one-year contracts are not affected by the change, the spokeswoman added. reported the end of the one-year contract based on an internal Verizon memo in which management explained the change to Verizon employees.

In that document, Verizon said "very few customers select one-year contracts" and explained that it made sense to eliminate those plans in order to simplify Verizon's procedures and remaining service offerings.

The document notes that existing customers won't be affected until their contracts expire, unless they choose to upgrade.

Others not affected include business and government accounts and unspecified major accounts.

Some bloggers had theorized the one-year contracts were discontinued because of pressure from Apple in advance of the launch later this year of the iPhone 5, but Verizon said the reason was that the one-year contracts were unpopular.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

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