Verizon Wireless announced its financial results for the second quarter on Thursday, adding 971,000 subscribers and activating 3.9 million iPhones between March and June. The mobile carrier posted $5.2 billion in profit on $29.8 billion in revenue, which is split almost evenly with Vodafone.
Verizon activated 7.5 million smartphones and 6.4 million LTE devices this quarter, meaning that the 3.9 million iPhones accounted for 51 percent of the carrier’s smartphone units sold. In other words, the Apple smartphone still plays a very significant role for the mobile provider.
Verizon also confirmed that it will be launching a program called Edge on August 25th, allowing for early smartphone upgrades. Edge is expected to be Verizon’s answer to T-Mobile and AT&T’s new Jump and Next programs respectively.
Verizon Edge looks similar to AT&T Next, but with a few key differences. The plan allows customers to go on a “no-contract plan” where they pay for the full price of a phone over 24 monthly installments. But after six months, customers are able to upgrade to a new device — as long as they pay for half of the cost of their previous device and turn in their device.
So after six months, a customer would have only paid off a quarter of the price of the device. Another quarter is owed if the customer opts to upgrade after six months. Given the price, the more cost-effective option would be to upgrade after 12 monthly payments.
As consumers in the United States become increasingly unenthused about smartphones, it appears in the best interests of these mobile carriers to deliver more competitive offerings to entice users to upgrade devices. In the months ahead, we’ll see how that works out.