Upgrade and keep your Unlimited Data with Verizon
Another positive side effect to this trick is that myself as well as others have reported that the $35 one time activation fee per phone did not show up on our bill when using this method. It may be because the upgrade fee is also attached to the "switch order"? (The switch order is explained later)
Purchase your phone through Bestbuy.com and choose the option to ship the phone to your home. Do not purchase instore, activate instore, or choose instore pickup. While adding the phone to your cart it'll ask you to provide your Verizon login credentials; do so but choose the option "Keep existing plan". When you choose add to cart you'll see "There's a change from Verizon Wireless for unlimited data plans. Verizon Wireless has ended this plan option, so when you upgrade you'll be switched to their most common 2GB plan by default." but we've all ignored it. Once your phone arrives at your home, DO NOT TURN IT ON!!!!! Pull the SIM card out of the back of the phone and chop it up. For some phones, the SIM will come in a small box that you can toss out. Turning your phone on with the new SIM card or calling Verizon to activate the new SIM card WILL remove your unlimited data plan.
Take your SIM card from your old phone and place it into your new phone. Your SIM is already activated so there's nothing more you need to do. Your phone should be good to go and your Verizon contract will be renewed for 2 years but your unlimited data will stay intact. As required, your contract is renewed and as specified on Bestbuy's website you said you wanted to keep your unlimited data so you're not breaking your terms of service or doing anything unethical.
All SIM cards are not created equal. There are 3 common types of SIM cards; Mini SIM, Micro SIM, and Nano SIM. The Mini SIM is in some older phones. I can tell you for certain that the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5 all use the micro SIM card. Some iPhones use Nano SIM cards. The HTC Thunderbird uses a mini SIM card. However, they are all basically the same SIM but different sizes. This means you can cut your SIM to a smaller shape if need be or you can buy an adapter to make it bigger. If you're nervous about cutting your SIM, you can buy a special cutting tool to do it for you. I started a wiki for adding each phone and the SIM card size it uses.
This Youtube video provides some great instructions for cutting your SIM card.
Here are a bunch of different SIM cutters on Amazon.
We didn't have to cut our SIM cards. My brother in law cut his HTC Thunderbolt mini SIM card down to a micro SIM card and it worked perfect. If you destroy your SIM card, you can visit a Verizon store to get a free one. (It's not free at the small shack like / mall Verizon stores) However, I would avoid that at all costs as they might see you just bought a new phone. However, unless you have a mean Verizon rep, your UDP should stay intact.
If at any time Verizon or Bestbuy says there's a problem with your order and requests you to call in DON'T! Cancel your order with Bestbuy, return the phone, and try again later. Some users have reported that this occurs because they're upgrading on a secondary line. I personally had no trouble but their solution has always been to transfer the upgrade to the main line through Bestbuy's website.
- You must already have an unlimited data plan (UDP)
- Only possible ONLINE through Bestbuy.com* (Moto Maker uses the Bestbuy system so some people have reported success with them as well)
- You MUST ship the phone. You cannot pick it up instore.
- You CANNOT use the SIM card that comes with the shipped phone. You must use your old SIM card. If it is too big you will have to cut it down.
- This trick will leave a "switch order" on your Verizon account preventing you from making any account changes. If you need to make a change, a tier 2 tech can remove it. Check out the quote below from a few Verizon reps who posted to this thread.
- Using your old SIM, some features/apps on your new phone will not be available ex. Isis Wallet. (*Once you activate with your old SIM it is possible to get a replacement SIM to fix this issue)
- If you run into a problem with your Bestbuy order CANCEL IT! Don’t call in and give them your Verizon info or you will lose your UDP!
- Bestbuy's website does have a few disclaimers about losing unlimited data but we've all ignored them.
- Some people are unable to check out due to order problems. This is usually because your have an outstanding bill due.
- Keep an eye on your Verizon account to make sure your plan doesn't change and your contract end date extends two years.
- Some who accidentally activated the new SIM were able to gripe and complain to get their UDP back
- If your phone is too old to have a SIM card in it, there are some tricks available. Verizon allows you to activate any Verizon phone on any account. (Assuming no past bills are due on that phone or stolen) So you can take your friends phone into a Verizon store and say, "My friend gave me his/her old phone and I would like to activate it on my account". Verizon will be happy to do so. They will head to the back of the store, grab a SIM card that fits that phone, and activate the SIM card to your Verizon account. At this point, you now have a SIM card for your account. Take that SIM card out of the phone you just activated and place it into the new phone you just bought from Bestbuy.com. You or your friend will have no phone during this time while you wait for the Bestbuy.com order. You should obtain the SIM card using your friends phone BEFORE ordering on Bestbuy.com. As noted before, you'll have a "switch order" on your account so you'll want the SIM before the "switch order" hits your account.
- On that note, just to clarify, your Verizon account is attached to your SIM card, NOT your phone. That means you can pull your SIM card from your phone and place it in most other phones and it'll work perfect. This is intentional and is a feature.
- As far as we can tell, the only way to lose your unlimited data is by using the SIM that came with the phone or by walking through the activation process with Verizon on the phone.
- And finally, here's 38 pages of questions, answers, and success stories from which this method originated. You'll want to quickly move a few pages in as the first few are a little confusing - http://forums.androidc
- Users have confirmed the same process "partially" works for Amazon.com. The difference is the "Customer Agreement" receipt for Bestbuy.com states "Keep Existing Plan" while the Amazon orders state that you chose the "2 GB Plan". Despite this receipt notice, users are reporting that they're unlimited data stays in tact. This may or may not make a difference in the long run. (Open the Verizon app, click "Profile", and then click "View Receipts")
- Users have confirmed the same process "partially" works for Costco.com. Users have reported the same "Customer Agreement" receipt issue of showing the 2GB plan.