Two years is the magic number in the land of cell phones. We sign contracts every two years, and in return we receive a discounted handset. When the last two year agreement is up, we just find a new handset, pay the subsidized price, and wait it out for the next two years. Verizon has enhanced this discount with their New Every Two program, which offers customers an additional $30 to $100 discount. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, that discount will no longer apply in the future. On January 16, the company plans to end it. The timing of the program’s elimination curiously lines up with the release of the iPhone 4, though there likely isn’t much of a connection. Current subscribers can still use their New Every Two discount this time around, which means that they can get the iPhone 4 for as little as $99.99. Once they renew their contracts, though, they will no longer receive this discount. New customers who sign up after January 16 with also lack the New Every Two provision. What makes this even tougher to swallow is that Verizon is doing away with its early upgrade program. Loyal customers used to have the luxury of getting an upgrade after 13 months. This was great for smartphone junkies. You could get one, and then when the next big device came out you could snag that, too. Now that the program is terminated you’ll have to wait at least 20 months for an upgrade, or else pay full price. Verizon has an interest in protecting its bottom line, so these moves are understandable. I doubt that New Every Two or early upgrades made all that big a difference for most customers. Now that Verizon is adding a load of new smartphones, including the iPhone 4 (and eventually the next iPhone), they probably want to make sure that people aren’t aggressively taking advantage of subsidies. It’s just part of doing business, I guess. But that doesn’t make it any better for the consumer.