AT&T is increasing the fee charged when subscribers upgrade to new handsets on contract beginning this Sunday. BGR has been informed by multiple readers via email that AT&T has sent them notices regarding the increased fee, which had previously been $18. “Because the overall costs associated with upgrading to a new device have increased, effective Sunday, February 12, 2012, AT&T will change its upgrade fee from $18 to $36,” AT&T said in a note to dealers obtained by BGR. An AT&T spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A portion of the memo follows below.

UPDATE: AT&T has confirmed the change. “Wireless devices today are more sophisticated than ever before. And because of that, the costs associated with upgrading to a new device have increased and is reflected in our new upgrade fee,” an AT&T spokesperson told BGR via email. “This fee isn’t unique to AT&T and this is the first time we’re changing it in nearly 10 years.”

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.