With Verizon, the process of transferring an upgrade from a line with unlimited data to a line without unlimited data will indeed let you get a new phone at contract price and keep unlimited data. I’ve seen numerous articles making the case for both sides of the story, and I’ve talked to reps that have also claimed both sides of the story. Pretty frustrating!

I did, however, just complete this process today (11/2/13) with success, purchasing a new LG G2. The transcript from my conversation is posted at the bottom of this post.

Droid-Life sums up the options pretty well:

  1. Do something I like to call the TBAT [pronounce tee-bat] jig either in store or online:
    Transfer upgrade from unlimited data number to other non-unlimited, Buy phone , Activate on non-unlimited line, Transfer to unlimited number.
  2. Buy at full price
  3. Find an awesome Verizon rep to bypass stuff
It's not a problem. I understand the unlimited data is like GOLD! - Verizon Sales rep

I opted to first try the “TBAT” jig (see above) in store. This was a terrible experience. The store employee was very adamant that I was NOT able to transfer the upgrade and keep unlimited. She got a little salty when I asked her if we could try… which is understandable. I’d be upset if somebody told me how to do my job.

Distraught and questioning life, I went home and as an act of desperation I talked to a rep online. Yep, one of those “Click here to chat with a sales rep” pop-ups. They told me I was indeed able to do exactly what I said. She even said (and I quote), “It’s not a problem. I understand the unlimited data is like GOLD!” She was super helpful and even ended up providing me with a promo code for an extra $50 off the phone! I’ve attached the full transcript at the bottom.

What worked for me

To clarify, my situation was as follows:

  • iPhone 4S (unlimited data) Upgrade available <-- Account I'm upgrading
  • Mom's dumb phone (no data plan)
  • I wanted to order the LG G2 to replace the iPhone 4S and keep unlimited data. Mom wanted to keep her dumb phone.

I successfully did the following online:

  1. Transferred my upgrade from my iPhone 4S number to mom's dumb phone number
  2. Ordered the LG G2 at the discounted rate (under mom's number)
  3. Selected in store pickup
  4. When picking it up at the store I informed the rep that I wanted to activate the new phone with my number per the Verizon rep's suggestion.
  5. The rep worked some magic (I believe did the switching back and forth for me), and I was all set! The re-activation of the dumb-phone with my mom's number automatically reverted away from the $30 data plan back to the $10 talk/text plan.

It should be noted that the Verizon employee who helped me at the end said the online reps weren’t supposed to encourage in store pickup for this scenario because it’s a pretty long process for them. This guy in particular was the only one working the kiosk, and the line behind me got uncomfortably long. He said it’s better to have the phone shipped to you and call in to get help activating. I’ll let you decide what to do with that info :).

Hope that helps! If you find a rep that says it isn’t possible, try online or maybe go in another day. If you have a Verizon rep connection, use it!

Online Transcript with Verizon Sales Rep (11/2/13)

11/2/13 Chat Window You are now chatting with 'Alice'

Alice: Hi! My name is Alice with the Verizon Wireless Sales Team. I am available to answer your questions and help you place an order. May I have your name, please?

Greg: hey Alice, my name is Greg

Alice: Hello Greg.

Alice: How may I assist you today?

Greg: I'm trying to get some clarification on using an upgrade to get a new phone at the discounted price.

Greg: I have one line (Line A) that has the upgrade. It also has unlimited data. I have another line (Line B) that does NOT have a data plan.

Greg: If I move my upgrade from Line A to Line B, get a new phone with Line B, activate it (with Line B), then reactivate the old phone (on Line B) and activate the new phone with Line A, will I lose unlimited data? :)

Alice: No, you will need to use the upgrade from Line B and order your new device. Once you receive the device you can activate it on Line A and will not lose your unlimited data Greg.

Greg: so if I transfer my upgrade from line A to line B, order the new device, I can directly activate on line A?

Alice: Yes. That is correct. I'll be happy to walk you through the order process so there are not any issues for you Greg.

Greg: awesome!

Alice: Would you like to start the order process?

Greg: yeah, sure. I'd like to do in store pickup if that's possible

Alice: Great! Which device are you looking to purchase today?

Greg: lg g2

Alice: Fantastic choice Greg!

Alice: I can save you $50.00 off that device as well today!

Greg: very cool

Alice: Once you pass the plans page and the insurance, you should see a box saying "Have promo code?"

Greg: looking

Alice: It will be on the shopping cart page.

Greg: i see it

Alice: Awesome Greg!

Alice: There you will enter in xxxxxx. You will need to manually enter in that code, if you copy and paste it it will not work.

Greg: that's awesome! Alice: I totally agree Greg!

Alice: After that you will come to the customer information page, then will be the payment information page.

Greg: entering that info now

Alice: At the shopping cart page did you also select the pick up in store option?

Greg: I did, yeah

Alice: Okay, great!

Greg: order completed. Thanks for your help!

Alice: It's my pleasure Greg!

Alice: May I have the order number to ensure your order went through?

Greg: ############

Alice: I see that your order is now pending. It will be ready to pick in stores in a few hours Greg!

Greg: glad to hear.

Greg: so when I get the phone, I can tell the rep that I want to activate with a different number?

Alice: Thank you for your business and for choosing Verizon Wireless! Is there anything else I can help with today?

Alice: Yes, that is correct.

Greg: I do NOT need to activate first on the line without unlimited data?

Alice: no, It will be best to activate once you get the device and can do it all while you have your LG G2 in hand.

Alice: No, you will just need to tell them you want to activate the phone on line A Greg: Just wanting to make sure :). Sorry for making you repeat yourself

Greg: I'm all set. Thanks again for the help and discount

Alice: It's not a problem. I understand the unlimited data is like GOLD!

Alice: It's my pleasure Greg!

Alice: Thank you for your business today; I'm glad I was able to help you! At the end of this chat there is an opportunity for you to provide your feedback based on your experience with me today and to receive a copy of the chat. We would very much appreciate your thoughts.

Greg: will do. have a good day