Verizon planning $20 smartphone upgrade fee

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Verizon is planning to charge a $20 flat fee for customers to upgrade their smartphone, the company has confirmed to ZDNet.

“The upgrade fee helps cover our increased support costs associated with customers switching devices,” a spokesperson said. “Customers can pay the charge when they upgrade, bill it to their account or trade in an old device to offset the cost. The fee for upgrading on device payment is still half of the two-year contract upgrade fee.”

The pricing has been leaked in an informational flier from MacRumors.

The new program is said to start on Monday, April 4 and will cover any smartphone on a Device Payment financing plan, Apple’s new iPhone upgrade plan, or at full retail price.

Verizon is simply following its competition. AT&T, the second-largest carrier in the US and Verizon’s biggest competitor, charges $15 per smartphone added or upgraded, while Sprint charge up to $36 per smartphone.

Up and coming carrier, T-Mobile, does not have an upgrade fee.

Verizon’s new upgrade fee comes after several high-profile phone announcements, including Apple’s iPhone SE and Samsung’s Galaxy S7.

We have reached out to Verizon for more info.

Huawei saw 37% annual revenue growth last year – biggest since 2008

Chinese company Huawei recorded an annual revenue of RMB 395 billion ($61.10 billion) in 2015, which translates into an year-on-year growth of 37%. This is the company’s biggest annual revenue growth in the past seven years.

Huawei’s net profit for the year stood at RMB 36.9 billion, up 32 percent from the RMB 27.9 billion figure it reported the year prior. The company’s handset division played an important role in this with a 44% jump in shipments. In case you don’t already know, Huawei became the first smartphone company in China whose shipments crossed the 100 million mark in a year in 2015.

The company’s carrier business – which now accounts for around 59% of the company’s revenue – also saw a jump of 21.4% last year primarily due to China’s adoption of 4G mobile technology.

Huawei’s growth is “a direct result of strategic focus and heavy investment in our core businesses,” said Guo Ping, one of the CEOs. The company expects its annual revenue to increase to $75 billion this year.