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Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 05:15 pm PT (08:15 pm ET)

Verizon dropping early upgrades, discounts ahead of iPhone launch

In advance of its Feb. 10 launch of the iPhone 4, Verizon has discontinued early phone upgrades and its "New Every Two" program, which offered credits of up to $100 for new phones every two years, according to a new report.

Verizon officials told SmartMoney Wednesday that the "New Every Two" program will come to an end on Jan. 16. Though customers currently enrolled in the program will still be able to redeem their credits, current customers won't be re-enrolled for the program after their next upgrade, and new customers who sign up after Jan. 16 will be unable to sign up for the program.

The "New Every Two" FAQ on its Verizon website currently gives no indication that the promotion is ending.

The nation's largest wireless carrier is also tightening its early upgrade policy. "Customers who were previously eligible for discounted phones as early as 13 months into a two-year contract will now have to wait 20 months to get a new phone at the promotional new-customer price," the report noted.

A Verizon representative contacted by AppleInsider Wednesday confirmed that the earliest a customer can upgrade to a new phone is 20 months into a 24 month contract. However, some AppleInsider readers report being eligible for an iPhone upgrade on Verizon before the stated 20 month requirement.

In its iPhone FAQ , the carrier clearly states that "Verizon Wireless is not offering any early upgrade promotion at this time."

Apple and Verizon revealed Tuesday that a CDMA iPhone 4 will be coming to Verizon on Feb. 10, with preorders beginning "on or around" Feb. 3. Verizon President Lowell McAdam said in an interview that technical planning for the CDMA iPhone took "six to nine months," while the commercial side took just one day.

Wireless carriers have found themselves caught between customers clamoring for more frequent smartphone upgrades and the need to recoup losses from subsidized handsets. According to Morningstar analyst Michael Hodel, after AT&T offered early upgrades to existing iPhone customers last year when the iPhone 4 was released, the company's profit margins "shrunk considerably."