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If you are with Verizon Wireless, there was just a major change in how they sell you service. As of Thursday, Aug. 13, there are no more contracts.


Longtime listeners know I despise contracts. I’ve long called them “handcuffs.” So I’m glad to see step by step that one company after another is going to the world standard model where you buy a phone however you want, wherever you want … and then you buy service. Two year contracts are an anomaly that’s very local to the United States. And the sun is about to set on contracts now that Verizon exits the contract business.

Contracts go, but frightful costs take their place

That’s the good news. But the bad news is that Verizon is now clearly going to be phenomenally expensive. It used to be just fuzzy before, but now there’s no question about it. A family of four will pay triple with Verizon what they will with T-Mobile.

Verizon has historically made its mark in three ways. First, their network has served every nook and cranny of the country. Second, they’ve had a large corporate customer base that just doesn’t care about price. And third, they’ve developed a base among very wealthy families or individuals who don’t really care what anything costs. So people have either wound up with them because they don’t care about price or they need deep rural coverage.

Verizon’s new plan will punish anybody who is a data hog. The plans are so expensive that they’re going to be scary. You would think it’s Halloween when you go to open your bill!

So I just want you to know, if you’ve historically been with Verizon, there will be big costs that comes with doing continued business with them. The next time you go to buy a new phone is the best time to shop the market and see what other providers could save you more money.

T-Mobile’s new family plan

While Verizon just got more expensive, T-Mobile is offering a family plan with four lines for only $30 per month, per line. Plus, EACH line gets 10GB of data, on top of unlimited talk and text. That’s a great deal.

Check out what the same plan costs across the big four cellphone carriers.

Read more: Clark’s smartphone guide and cell plan guide for 2015

If you need the Verizon network backbone, check out a company called Total Wireless that offers slower access to data on the Verizon footprint at a fraction of the cost.

Another option would be Straight Talk that offers a number of phones for the Verizon network at $45 a month with unlimited talk, text and 5 GB of data a month per line. That’s far cheaper than buying service directly from Verizon.

Verizon kills contracts, but the price of their service is about to skyrocket Getty Images
Clark Howard is a consumer expert and NY Times best-selling author (New book: Living Large for the Long Haul). He is the host of the nationally syndicated Clark Howard Show. Get more from Clark on ClarkHoward.comon Facebook, or download his new app.
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