The price to switch is so high thanks to three costs:
1. You Need a New iPhone
Because AT&T and Verizon use different technologies, the iPhone you used on AT&T isn't compatible with Verizon's network. That means that, when you switch, you'll need to buy a new iPhone that works with Verizon. As a new Verizon customer, you'll be eligible for the subsidized price of $199 for the 16GB model or $299 for the 32GB Model.
2. Early Termination Fees
If you're still under two-year AT&T contract when you decide to switch, AT&T will charge you an Early Termination Fee (ETF), a penalty for canceling your contract early. AT&T's iPhone ETF is $325. That fee is reduced by $10 for each month you've been under contract (e.g., if you've been under contract for 6 months, the ETF is reduced by $60, to $265). If your contract has expired, you're not subject to an ETF, so you'll want to check your contract status with AT&T before beginning the switch.
3. You Need a New Case
Even if you had a case for the iPhone you used on AT&T, you'll need to buy a new case for your Verizon iPhone. That's because there are slight differences in the placement of the volume and ringer buttons on the left side of the Verizon iPhone as compared to the AT&T-compatible model. As a result of the changes, the buttons and openings on old cases don't line up correctly. Expect a new case to cost $20-$40.
In the worst-case scenario, you'll pay $299 for the phone, $325 for the ETF, and $40 for the case, leading to the $664 figure. In the best-case scenario, you'll pay $199 for the phone, no ETF, and $20 for a case, resulting in a switching cost of $219.
So, either way you do it, switching from AT&T to the Verizon iPhone will be expensive.
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