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Putting Verizon on hold Company says fewer customers are upgrading to new cellphones

Apr 24, 2019 - Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio)

Wireless customers are hanging on to their old phones longer than ever.

That’s the message from Verizon Communications Inc., which said its upgrade rate fell to a record low last quarter — a harbinger of tough times ahead for the iPhone and other devices.

Faced with $1,000 price tags on moderately improved phones, consumers may be waiting to hear more about new 5G networks before committing to new models. The faster, more advanced services won’t roll out in earnest until 2020.

“Incremental changes from one model to the next, hasn’t been that great, and it hasn’t been enough of an incentive,” Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis said in an interview Tuesday after the company reported fewer-than-expected new customers for the first quarter. He expects replacement rates to be down for the...