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Verizon to Squeeze Customers for a Little More Cash

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RED DEVIL
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This week, Verizon (VZ) topped off 2011 with its third data outage in a month. A little over a week since its last network gaffe, Verizon saw its 4G LTE network go down, leaving its speed-freak customers to languish in the sluggish seas of 3G.

Fortunately, the outage didn't last long, and the carrier was able to remedy the problem overnight. And to celebrate its quick thinking and ingenuity, Verizon has announced it will be charging its customers a $2 convenience fee for online and phone payments.

Yes, according to Droid Life, Verizon -- already regarded as the most expensive carrier in the country -- will be charging customers a little extra for the "convenience" of paying their bills via its site or over the phone starting January 15.

Which completely stands to reason. After all, how can you honestly expect a telecom to adequately handle payments through the web or phone and keep the process cost effective?

But for all those iPhone (AAPL) and Droid (GOOG) users out there complaining about your lack of options, cheer up. Verizon offers a multitude of free methods to give them money.

Why, you could mail them a check! Or visit a Verizon Store and pay there! Or enroll into its automatic payment system!

Of course, seeing as how automatic payments are a tad more convenient than paying month-to-month online, it's only a matter of time before Verizon charges us for that, too.

So to recap: no unlimited data, no free tethering, exorbitant texting fees, and now an extra "convenience fee" to pay for the other charges. But hey, unlike AT&T (T) and Sprint (S), at least Verizon customers didn't have to deal with Carrier IQ.

Oh, shoot. I didn't just give them an idea for another fee, did I?

(See also: iPhone 4S Users' Best Choice: AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint? and "Drunken Shopping" a Huge Revenue Stream for Amazon, eBay)

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POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.

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