by Carlo Longino

A Little Slow On The Uptake, But They Get There In The End

Nearly three weeks ago, Verizon Wireless said it would make a significant change to its customer contracts by prorating early-termination fees -- answering one of the most common complaints about operators' business practices by reducing the fee as the end of the contract nears, as it really should. As we said then, not only was it a change that made things more fair to consumers, it and some other changes, like giving current customers the same handset prices as new ones, signaled that perhaps Verizon was beginning to understand that it had more to gain by keeping customers happy, rather than forcing their loyalty with long-term contracts and high ETFs. Now, three weeks later, an analyst firm (at whose conference Verizon's CEO made the announcement) has determined that Verizon's change is a "low-risk but high-reward move", showing the company realizes it has to start treating customers better. They're not wrong, but it illustrates how backwards the mobile industry can be when it apparently takes such cogent observers -- who no doubt count the major operators as clients -- three weeks of hindsight to figure such a no-brainer out.

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