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The Most Expensive Carrier Just Raised Its Fees

If you're hoping to upgrade to a new phone at Verizon, be ready to pay a bit more for the privilege. Verizon started charging a $30 upgrade fee for subscribers that ditch their old handset for a new one, a $10 increase over the old upgrade fee.

Verizon confirmed the increase to its upgrade fee to ArsTechnica. The fee applies to any upgrades that customers pay for in full or through the company's monthly installment program.

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The move might not sit well with some customers who would want to upgrade to a new handset in the coming months. Verizon told Ars that it raised the fee to $30 from $20 "to provide customers with America's largest and fastest 4G LTE network." Whether Verizon's costs related to phone upgrades have gone up is unknown. However, Ars noted that the company's total capital expenditures were down in the third quarter of 2016, its last-reported quarter.

Upgrade fees have long been commonplace in the wireless industry, with many carriers saying that the charges help cover costs associated with adding a smartphone to a customer's account. Nevertheless, the upgrade fee has come under fire from some in the industry who cite it as an example of carriers socking customers with fees.

One of those critics is T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who cited Verizon's upgrade fees last week when T-Mobile announced plans to nix taxes and fees on its unlimited data plan starting on Jan. 22.

In its own announcement last week, Verizon said that it would no longer offer two-year contract renewals to existing customers; it had longer ago stopped offering two-year contracts with subsidized phones to new customers.

As for the outspoken Legere? He wouldn't let a Verizon fee hike pass without his own comment on the matter. On Twitter, Legere issued an "alert for Verizon customers," telling them that they should expect to face "more suspicious charges."

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.