AT&T customers, you’re being selfish. You’re not already spending enough money each month on your wireless bill, and it’s time to stop being so greedy with your hard-earned cash. Instead of saving your money or putting it to work for you using one of the life-changing apps we told you about recently, you should give it to AT&T because, well, just because.
The nation’s second largest carrier saw an opening earlier this week when Verizon’s new smartphone upgrade fee went live. So, beginning immediately, AT&T will charge users a bogus $20 fee to upgrade to a new phone instead of the bogus $15 fee it had been charging.
AT&T made its standard activation fee $15 just last August, but far be it from the carrier to pass up an opportunity this easy. After all, if Verizon can get away with it why shouldn’t AT&T?
Are you buying a new iPhone or Android phone on an AT&T Next plan? $20. How about an installment plan? $20. Or perhaps you’re activating your smartphone on a new two-year agreement? $20 isn’t bad enough, so let’s make that one $45 — though this only applies to business lines since consumers no longer have the option of a two-year service contract.
Oh, and here’s our personal favorite: If you purchase your phone unlocked or you buy a phone from somewhere other than AT&T and activate it on your account, you still have to pay the $20 fee. Thankfully though, you won’t have to pay the fee again if you switch to a new phone that you purchase elsewhere.
Here’s the exact wording from AT&T’s site:
- Activation and upgrade fees for smartphones with AT&T Next® – Activation and upgrade fees are $20 per smartphone added or upgraded with AT&T Next.
- Activation fees for installment agreements and bring your own devices – The fee is $20.
- Activation and upgrade fees for two year agreement – Fees are $45. Note: Two year agreements are available only on select devices.
AT&T’s revenue for the last reported quarter (Q4 2015) was only $42.1 billion, up 22% from the same period a year prior. The carrier’s full-year revenue in 2015 was $148.6 billion, up nearly 11% on year. Tack on another $5 from every subscriber who upgrades to a new (or used) smartphone, and you’ve got yourself a nice little boost. And in exchange for the fee increase, subscribers get… absolutely nothing.
With moves like this from Verizon and AT&T, it’s a complete mystery why T-Mobile’s “un-carrier” marketing ploy has been a big success in recent years.
Updated to clarify that only business lines can upgrade on two-year contracts, and to clarify that you only have to pay an activation fee once for BYOB devices.