Verizon Wireless offers alternative month-to-month contract

In a further gamble that its quality of service is enough to sustain its customer base, VZW this morning announced it will let customers pay for service month-to-month if they're also willing to pay full price for their phones.

Pre-paid contracts typically let customers acquire the phones they want for little or no up-front payment, and usually the best phones are paired with the longest contracts. Now, Verizon Wireless will let customers of its Nationwide Voice and Data plans either bring their own CDMA equipment -- which was an option expected since its historic announcement last November -- or purchase phones from VZW at full price.

Either way, customers would then be permitted to purchase full Verizon service on a month-to-month basis, then terminate service at will without fees, and keep their equipment.

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Last November, VZW -- which later ended up one of the big winners in the FCC's auction of analog TV broadcasting space -- announced its intention to make its CDMA network (for 2G communication) open to any device of the customer's choosing that has been certified for use with the network. Certification is a non-binding process that involves a simple submission of the device to VZW's laboratories.

So today's announcement is essentially the fulfillment of that bargain. However, customers currently on a Verizon contract must remain contracted until the end-of-term, otherwise termination fees may apply.

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