Verizon: Get rid of contracts for wireless service
  • Petitioned Peter Thonis

This petition was delivered to:

Chief Communications Officer, Verizon
Peter Thonis
Verizon, executive director of Corporate Communications
Brenda Raney
Verizon, CEO
Lowell McAdam
CEO, Verizon Wireless
Dan S. Mead
VP Corporate Communications; Media Contact, Corporate Policy and Strategy
Torod Neptune
Media Contact, Innovation Program, Products and Platforms of the Future, Wireless Policy
Debra Lewis
Media Contact, Customer Experience, Information Technology and Business Continuity
Tom Pica

Verizon: Get rid of contracts for wireless service

    1. Mike Beauchamp
    2. Petition by

      Mike Beauchamp

      Wichita, KS

Getting rid of carrier contracts is a win for customers. Verizon's CEO, Lowell McAdam, has already expressed his willingness to do away with them if consumers speak loud enough about it. So here's your chance: sign this petition to tell Verizon to end carrier contracts and create an affordable way for consumers to purchase their devices. If you're a current customer, you don't have to switch carriers or have plans to switch carriers. I've been a long-time Verizon customer and I don't see myself ever leaving; but I want that choice myself; I don't want them making it for me and imposing stiff penalties if I do decide to leave. 

You can follow me on Twitter for updates: @mbchp.

-----

We all know how quickly technology changes in this day and age. Carriers originally introduced contracts as a way to lower the up-front cost of mobile phones at a time when the technology wasn't advancing as quickly. It was also a time when most of us didn't rely on our phones for as much as we do now.

Let's face it; phones aren't really phones anymore. They're data devices for accessing the Internet and everything connected to it, that happen to also make calls. Carriers (including Verizon) have already given up trying to charge for "minutes" -- a shift towards that verifies this trend. Instead, they've created a business model where most of their revenue comes from data.

So why would anyone want to be tied into a contract for two years? The major handset manufacturers all release updated, newer, faster, more powerful devices much more frequently. Apple and Samsung, the two dominant players in mobile, release a new flagship phone every year like clockwork. Most other OEMs do, as well.

A few examples of how this shift is already happening -

Google has, for the last three years, designed, marketed and sold their own device as part of the Nexus program. They sell it completely unsubsidized (full price) to the public and without a contract. You're free to use it on any carrier you choose, both here in the U.S. and overseas. The current device, the Nexus 4, sells for as little as $299, and by current standards, is among the best, most powerful handsets on the market.

T-Mobile, just this year, revamped their plans and pricing models to eliminate contracts. Customers pay "full price" for the phone with a small down payment and then monthly installment payments thereafter. If you want to leave T-Mobile at any time, you're free to go (of course you have to pay the phone off). This approach is less intimidating to customers and embraces our newer ways of thinking, as well as the speed at which the wireless industry (and related technology) is changing.

If you want the latest and greatest phone, great. If you break the one you've got and need a replacement, no problem. If you get a new job and your employer provides you a phone, you can cancel with no penalty. If you move to an area where T-Mobile doesn't have coverage (or overseas, even), that's not a problem either.

Under this model, you're paying full MSRP for your device, so your carrier has no vested interest in making back that subsidy (discounted phone price they gave you up front) over the span of your contract. If anything, they're even more incentivized to continue maintaining and improving the quality of their network to keep you as a customer, instead of relying on the fact that you're tied into a multi-year contract which forces you to say.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 150,000 signatures
    2. Press and Media Coverage

      Mike Beauchamp
      Petition Organizer

      What a week it's been. Here's a list of SOME of the press we've gotten so far. And yet, Verizon has said nothing, despite my request.

      CNN - http://ow.ly/kjn0
      CNET - http://ow.ly/kjn23
      PC Magazine - http://ow.ly/kjnFz
      The Verge - http://ow.ly/kjn3h
      Venture Beat - http://ow.ly/kjn4A
      Information Week - http://ow.ly/kjo3e
      BGR - http://ow.ly/kjnKZ
      DroidLife - http://ow.ly/kjn6e
      TmoNews - http://ow.ly/kjnxs
      The Street - http://ow.ly/kjn7F
      Android Authority - http://ow.ly/kjn95
      Ubergizmo - http://ow.ly/kjnUC
      ZAGG - http://ow.ly/kjnas
      Christian Science Monitor - http://ow.ly/kjnbP
      CIO.com - http://ow.ly/kjnfo
      Gotta Be Mobile - http://ow.ly/kjnkk
      WebPro News - http://ow.ly/kjnmp
      Android Community - http://ow.ly/kjnoH
      Tom's Guide / Tom's Hardware - http://ow.ly/kjnB0
      Macgasm - http://ow.ly/kjnDx

      TV Coverage:

      WTTG - http://ow.ly/kjogo
      KDAF - http://ow.ly/kjols
      KPRC - http://ow.ly/kjotw
      WITI - http://ow.ly/kjozD
      WISH - http://ow.ly/kjoB6
      KVLY - http://ow.ly/kjoEz

    3. Reached 100,000 signatures
    4. A further explanation: what we want and why we want it

      Mike Beauchamp
      Petition Organizer

      As the petition has gained tremendous momentum this week, I’ve been flooded with questions and comments about it. “What exactly do you want them to do?” and “Can’t you already get service without a contract?” and “Do you think everyone should have to pay full price for their phone?” and several others.

      So, I wanted to expound upon what I originally wrote and answer those (and other) questions. I'd appreciate if you'd read this blog post below:

      http://mbchp.me/ContractsExplained

      Mike

    5. Reached 75,000 signatures
    6. CNN picks up our petition

      Mike Beauchamp
      Petition Organizer

      Thousands petition Verizon to nix wireless contracts

      (CNN) -- A movement urging Verizon to get rid of wireless contracts appears to be gaining steam. A petition calling for the carrier to end contracts for smartphones and "create an affordable way for consumers to purchase their devices" had attracted more than 55,000 signatures by midday Tuesday on Change.org, the online petition platform.

    7. Verizon Will Introduce "Wireless Device Payment Plan"

      Mike Beauchamp
      Petition Organizer

      We reached 50,000 signatures in 8 days - incredible! Thank you all.

      In my previous news post, I sent you to an update Verizon released to their Upgrade policy. They've updated that announcement to include a mention of a "Wireless Device Payment Plan". Here's the update:

      "Customers also have the option of purchasing a phone at full price at any point before their contract expires and beginning April 21, some devices will be available for purchase through the Verizon Wireless Device Payment Plan."

      I also found this post on DroidLife suggesting the same thing - a device payment plan for smartphones "launching soon". You can read more about that here: http://mbchp.me/VZWPmtPlan.

      I still haven't heard anything from Verizon in response to this petition, but will continue to keep you updated on Twitter: @mbchp.

    8. Reached 50,000 signatures
    9. Verizon Just Changed Upgrade Eligibility for Contract Customers!

      Mike Beauchamp
      Petition Organizer

      Well, this isn't what I'd call a step in the right direction. Verizon just announced that they're changing how your upgrades work. They did away with the "New Every Two" upgrade program in January 2011, but if you currently have an upgrade as part of that, you'll lose it on April 15th (next Monday).

      And it gets worse.

      Currently, if you have a contract, you can upgrade your phone 20 months into your 24-month contract. Verizon is doing away with that and requiring you to go the entire 24 months before you're able to upgrade. If you don't like it, they'll require you to purchase a phone at full retail price.

      And it gets worse, still.

      Because your eligibility to upgrade your phone isn't covered as part of your contract, this change to how you can upgrade your phone isn't considered a breach of contract on Verizon's part, which means you can't get out of it. Put another way, there's nothing you can do about it as an existing customer.

      More info: http://mbchp.me/UpgradeChng

      Verizon Wireless Changes Upgrade Eligibility

      The business has evolved and the extensive Verizon Wireless device portfolio gives customers more options than ever before. It is not uncommon for customers to have multiple devices such as a smartphone and a tablet or a Jetpack. In that context, Verizon Wireless is making changes to its upgrade practices.

    10. Reached 8,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Riley Walz BALLSTON SPA, NY
      • 7 months ago

      Verizon is the most powerful company in providing cellular data, but they do the worst job in doing it.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • A Maldonado CORNING, CA
      • 7 months ago

      I am visually impaired and depend on accessible gps maps to orientate me to unfamiliar places and require data access to run this. By Verizon placing limits, it is hindering my ability to seek employment, pissible problems getting ripped off by cab drivers and to become independent in the workforce.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Bryan Gr ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OH
      • 7 months ago

      You charge RIDICULOUS prices for small amounts of data. Do what sprint does, offer a 2 year contract with a FREE phone, or no contract for FULL price. Also, bring back the frickin unlimited data. I paid the ETF just so I ciuld switch to sprint. $55 per month for 350 minutes, 500 texts, and unlimited data. I was paying verizon $200 for 16GB of data with unlimited talk and text. Data is in high demand!! Make that unlimited! QUIT SCREWING THE CUSTOMERS!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Steve Gustafson CENTURIA, WI
      • 7 months ago

      Becouse phone has a mind of its own dials numbers calls people just sitting on counter drops calls and costs to much and if I up or down grade it cost me over 400 dollars to do it and can get same phone no contract for less at big stores with Verizon

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Thomas ackermsan MCKEESPORT PA, PA
      • 7 months ago

      i want unlimited data. but i lover verizon.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.