Use your upgrade and keep your unlimited data on Verizon


Like many other customers, Verizon’s decision to end unlimited data and force users who upgrade onto tiered and then shard data plans was a big disappointment. I had just upgraded to a new Motorola Bionic late last year before the changes took place. Based on every android blog post and zealous message board comment it seemed impossible to find a loophole and keep your unlimited data. According to Verizon employees themselves, unlimited data wasn’t even available as an option anywhere in the system.

Because of my recent upgrade I thought I would be able to get a couple years of use before I needed to make the decision to either abandon the unlimited data and get a subsidized phone, or bite the bullet and pay the unsubsidised price.

As it turns out I have a couple of other lines on my account  and recently decided to upgrade one of these other phones for a family member who needed a new phone but didn’t use much data. And this is when I unexpectedly found a way to get around the system and keep unlimited data which I will explain in detail below.

The Upgrade Switcheroo

What follows is a method I stumbled upon and the outcome could be based upon many different factors and may prove ineffective for others. Even if this works, there is no telling how long it might remain until Verizon closes this loophole. If you wish to try this, I wish you the best, but please don’t blame me if you have different results.

  1. You need at least 2 lines on your account. One of which has to be eligible for an upgrade.
  2. For my upgrade I went with Amazon Wireless because they had a better deal than Verizon. There is no telling if this is a third party thing (Amazon, Wirefly, etc.), or if a direct upgrade through a Verizon store might have the same outcome.
  3. On Amazon Wireless choose your new phone (Samsung Galaxy S III in my case), choose new data plan (2 GB in my case), then complete your purchase as usual.
  4. Once you receive the phone, activate it on another device other than one that was eligible for the upgrade. This does not mean to activate on elegible account then transfer it to the other phone. You have to directly activate on the other line.

After one week I went online to check my bill and to my surprise all accounts still had unlimited data!

I talked to Verizon support and asked why my account had not been switched to the new data plan. The representative had no idea and said that I must be lucky. She did mention something about the systems not triggering because of the particular steps I took and that the 3rd party systems didn’t operate the same way. No idea if this information was accurate or if it was some off the cuff explanation, but I thought I would include it anyway.

If you have success (or failure), please report back so that others can stay up to date. Good Luck!


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  • Guest

    This should not work. Do not count on this to keep unlimited data.

    • Ryan

      It seems odd for sure, but all I can tell you is what I experienced.

  • Guest

    This has always been in effect, it’s like buying the phone as a replacement. I’ve always had a family plan with verizon so I’ve always been able to upgrade whatever phone is due for an upgrade and then just keep it for me if I’m not the one eligible for the upgrade. The extra line is extended and my line has a new phone. Verizon can’t really stop this, unless they try to enforce a new tiered data plan for everyone buying replacements or paying full price… that would surely make many customers go elsewhere.

    Verizon is definitely losing touch with its customers. When smartphones started to be marketed more towards everyday consumers rather than businesses Verizon enticed their customers with unlimited data. That actually was one of their marketing lines when they started selling the iPhone because AT&T had already vanished their unlimited data plans. Now that Verizon has so many smartphone customers they really don’t have much to lose with their lame scheme. I loved Verizon’s customer service but this really is making me shop around since my line is out of contract.