A “Buddy” is often defined as someone who will have your best interests in mind. Unfortunately, even though the term “Buddy Upgrade” contains the word “Buddy,” it’s neither transparent nor does it always have your best interests in mind.

Let see why…

By definition, a “Buddy Upgrade” is an option when purchasing a new device for an existing user/wireless line that is not eligible for a discounted price on equipment. Buddy Upgrades allow your business the flexibility of using another line’s eligibility towards the number you need to upgrade.

In some ways, processing a Buddy Upgrade could be looked upon as “Robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Carriers often justify the practice of using Buddy Upgrades because in their mind, offsetting the cost of a device for a company can be a huge financial benefit. It’s true to a certain extent, but while your savings is vast in the beginning, Buddy Upgrades often cost your business more money in the end via hidden fees and the loss of rate plan discounts.

Corporate contracts from big wireless giants such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile contain the obligatory “fine print” and every year there are addendums sent out to indicate changes to policies and fees. Just this year Verizon raised their ETF (Early Termination) fees on corporate lines/devices from $350 to $650 per line in response to rising equipment costs. This one practice alone could be detrimental to your budget. It’s not uncommon for a business to cancel a phone line before its contract is completed due to Zero Usage/Line Abandonment.  For example: your business needs to cancel 5%-10% of its phone lines due to corporate restructuring or turnover. $650 per line adds up quick, and without ETF waivers (hopefully your contract contains ETF waivers) your business could be stuck paying a substantial bill.

The second practice performed by many nationwide wireless carriers is the removal of corporate plan credits at the time of your Buddy Upgrade. At GoExceed, we have seen many phone lines that upgrade to a new device which were previously out of contract lose a $20 rate plan credit upon signing another two-year commitment. Suddenly, your bill went up by $480 over that new 24-month contract.

It needs to be said that a Buddy Upgrade is not always a bad alternative for replacing a device as long as your business reads the “fine print” in your wireless contract. If the carriers will guarantee the same rate plan pricing and credits after processing the Buddy Upgrade, then utilizing a Buddy Upgrade can be a viable option. Otherwise, you may want to consider the best alternatives to Buddy Upgrade, such as Equipment Depot Services and refurbished devices.

Equipment Depot Services allows your business to utilize the fully functional devices that it already owns by leveraging them in lieu of buying new equipment. Instead of having a drawer or box filled with unused devices, GoExceed can inventory those devices, assess their condition/value, and redeploy them based on your business rules. Not only will Depot Services offset your yearly equipment costs, but your business will be able to trade-in or recycle any non-useable device.


A second widely used practice is purchasing refurbished devices. Purchasing a refurbished device instead of utilizing a Buddy Upgrade will enable your business to keep its current line contract and discounts. GoExceed is an A+ supplier of refurbished devices. We offer 30/60/90 day warranties on all of our refurbished devices. Each and every phone is put through a rigorous 50-point inspection to ensure quality and uninterrupted wireless service for our customers.


The next time that your business is thinking about performing a Buddy Upgrade, remember that you have options. Options that can save you much more than just equipment fees — they can save your yearly budget as well.

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