Verizon’s Loophole: Keep Unlimited Data while Upgrading your Phone

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Those of you who were lucky enough to sneak into the Unlimited Data plan before the data cap know just how important it is to keep that plan grandfathered. Unfortunately, Verizon has decided to do whatever it takes to switch both new and existing users into their new Share Everything Plan. So what does this mean for you? If you choose to upgrade your phone at the subsidized pricing, you not only extend your contract for an additional two years but you also lose Unlimited Data and move into a tiered data plan. So how do you keep Unlimited Data while upgrading your phone? Well, there is actually a loophole in Verizon’s evil plan. I was able to take advantage of this loophole and upgraded to their new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (eBay). This will not work for everyone, but for many this will give the opportunity to upgrade to a newer phone and still maintain Unlimited Data.

First criteria, “are you on a family plan with at least one basic phone line?” Basic phone referring to a dumb phone with no current data plan. If this does meet your current situation then please see the next requirement. Second criteria, “is that basic phone line eligible for an upgraded phone?”  If that is also a yes, then congratulations because you can utilize Verizon’s loophole and upgrade your phone without losing Unlimited Data! Be warned though, there are a few crucial steps you need to follow but these steps are very simple.


Walk into a Verizon store and let the customer representative know that you would like to upgrade one of your basic phone lines to a smartphone of your choice (eBay). Make it absolutely clear that you do not want their new Share Everything plan and that you must keep your current Unlimited Data plan for your existing line that already has a smartphone. All you want to do is add a new smartphone to the basic line and have a tiered 2 gigabyte data plan for that line at $30 a month. Go ahead and pick the phone you want and the representative will activate that new phone onto the old basic phone line after you make the purchase. Before finalizing your purchase, be completely positive that nothing has changed on your account except the additional $30 a month for the tiered 2 gigabyte data plan. This will, however, extend your contract for the additional line by 2 years. This extension shouldn’t be an issue for most people.


Don’t even bother setting up the new phone unless you have an uncontrollable urge to play around with it. Just have a good nights rest and when you wake up the next morning,  the real fun begins! When morning arrives, fire up your web browser, head over to, and log in to your account. On the summary page of your account, you should see an option to “Activate or Switch Phones”. Go ahead and choose that option and then select the new phone that was on the basic phone line. What you want to do here is switch the new phone back to the original basic dumb phone. You will need to have the old phone’s ESN number in order to make the switch. This number is found on the back of the phone after removing the battery. Follow the prompts on the screen to make the switch. Once the old dumb phone is activated again on its original line,  Verizon will indicate that you need to select a new data plan for this phone. The “Pay Per Use” plan will most likely be the option you select. Your old phone is now activated and the $30 tiered 2 gigabyte data plan is removed. View your overall plan summary and you should see that everything has been reverted back to its original state. Everything should be back to where it was before you even left your house towards the Verizon store. However there is one big difference, you now have a brand new phone that is deactivated and not tied to any phone lines.


Now that you have a brand new deactivated smartphone (eBay), it is finally time for you to activate this phone on the line that has Unlimited Data. Go back to “Activate or Switch Phones” and repeat the process of activation by entering in the ESN for the new phone. Verizon will once again prompt you to choose a new data plan. This time you will see the option for choosing your current Unlimited Data plan because you are grandfathered in to the program. Best of all, you actually will be upgraded to the 4g LTE network moving your speeds up from your original 3g network! Don’t panic though if it takes up to an hour for your new phone to register with your current phone number. It is perfectly normal and just be patient.


There you have it, you have successfully exploited a loophole in Verizon’s upgrade policy. Be happy! This is the only way to upgrade your phone while keeping the Unlimited Data plan as far as I know. If you have accomplished this in a different fashion, please leave a comment below. I would definitely like to hear about it!


On a sidenote, this article was completely written on my new Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (eBay)  🙂

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  1. It is now April 2013, does anyone know if this still does work?
    And if it does, will it work on a single device that is grandfathered and not a family plan?
    I have an old verizon phone here that I’m pretty sure I can add a line to it and upgrade it to keep the unlimited plan.

    • June 2013 and it still works. I used my upgrade on my “dumb” phone and ordered an Iphone 4 but did it on the verizon website. Iphone arrived, activated it, waited, deactivated it, reactivated the dumb phone. No problem. When I tried to swap out the new Iphone with the old Droid, i kept getting an error msg saying that I had to call customer support. Called customer support, just told them I was trying to activate the Iphone to replace the Droid X, customer support swapped it out, no questions asked. kept unlimited data. Thanks Fred!!

  2. Fred, I was wondering if this would work in a similar situation. I am looking to buy a new smart phone without losing my unlimited plan. There is one 2gb data plan line on my family plan, could I follow the same process as listed above (minus the reverting to non-data for “dummy” phone) and get the same effect? Or do you foresee an issue?

    • I would think that would work. I don’t see why it wouldn’t. You may want to ask a Verizon employee, they are usually pretty open about it if you bring it up. Obviously they would never directly recommend it.

  3. Wow, this is great timing. My wife needs a new iPhone; the rest of us have dumb phones. We’re all on the old “family share” plan, plus she has her unlimited-data plan. I think I’d like to try out your trick. My dumb phone is eligible for an upgrade.

    • This should work for you then. Gotta keep that unlimited data!

      • The one question I have is that I’ve read in a couple of places that I can’t switch from 3G to 4G using this trick. The old iPhone is 3G, the 5 is obviously 4G.

        • I had no problems switching. My previous iphone was also 3g and I successfully switched to 4g with my Note 2.

  4. More questions:

    1. When I log into my account, I am going to see the new iPhone attached to my old dumb phone line, correct? So I would use the dumb phone ESN to switch it back?

    2. Final step is to assign new iPhone to the number that had the old iPhone. Where do you get the ESN for the iPhone, since you can’t open it up?

  5. IT WORKED! Thank you so much! Not only do we keep unlimited data, we don’t have to switch to the evil Share Everything plan, which would have cost us another $50/month. Thank you!

  6. We have the unlimited plan on 2 lines and a dumb phone on the third line. One of the unlimited lines is due for an upgrade. Can we “give” the upgrade to the dumb line and achieve this?

  7. If jerk Verizon wants to end unlimited data and seize loopholes believe me they will. As an x employee I can say they have been through many plan changes and always profit off of customers any way possible. They will CHANGE their system so there are no loopholes eventually trust me. Best to take advantage of the alternate upgrade now before it’s too late. What you do is call their activations hotline 877-807-4646 and activate press the option to activate your dumb phone smart phone when you receive it which can only be done if you order it online to give you that option not the store because they have to activate right away. I don’t know if that number still works or if you can still switch serial numbers aka esn s without changing your unlimited data plan. Best bet is to call Verizon and speak to an employee a vetern employee would know best. You can also buy a phone at full retail cost as a loophole but again there’s no guarantee it will work. If you have another smart phone you can try using my Verizon to make believe your going to just change the esn to see if it makes you change your plan. Either way Verizon is expensive and there are many prepaid options that offer the latest smart phones with unlimited data only problem is they don’t work everywhere and some get horrible service. I’ll post again if I find anything out.

  8. I meant activate the dumb phone smart phone later* activating it later will renew the contract and unlock the esn so that you’re able to activate it on the line you want.

  9. So I take it this won’t really help if you have only 1 phone line and only need 1 phone line as the new plan you buy would be under contract and you couldn’t cancel without a fee. Am I right?

    I would think that if I simply just walked into a store and said I want to upgrade my phone, but not change my unlimited plan, they would have a way of doing this.

  10. ok i want to get this straight so i dont mess it up…i have 4 lines on my acct, 3 smartphones and 1 dumb phone. 2 smartphones have upgrades,which still have unlimited data the 3rd smartphone has and 1 dumbphone, no upgrade for over a yr. so yesterday got online, ordered the droid razr hd, by adding new device,and went with the 30.00 data plan So it is due to arrive this wednesday, so now i take this new phone out of the box activate it with the new number they give, leave it sit over night, get online the following day, deactivate the new smartphone , then activate with an old dumb phone i have lying around, then deactivate the phone i have now that i wanted the razr hd for, and then take my sim card out of my phone place it in the new phone and activate it on my line? and then on the dumb phone just add pay as u go data , and i should be good to go right?? i hope i get this right, dont want to mess up my unlimited plan. Also another question, my husband wants my phone that i have now, so how do i get a sim card that will be connected to his number? just go into the store to do this? tell them i need a sim card with his number? thanks for the info, hope this works 🙂

  11. Why do you need to wait between the activation of the smart phone and the subsequent deactivation?

  12. What about the cancellation fees? I thought they charge you $350 if you cancel a data plan. AND you have to give the smart phone back.

    • I don’t believe there is a contract for add on data. The phone was subsidized for renewing contract of minutes on the second phone, not for data.

  13. Is this still working as of 12 December, 2013?

  14. On Nov 2014 it no longer works and now I am a sucker paying for my husband to have a smartphone package even though he stays home 🙁 When I went to ‘switch’ the device….it just prompted me that the ‘basic’ phone has a $30 data package that will be carried out through the contract term

  15. Does this still work.? Dec 2014