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AT&T just raised activation and upgrade fees for the second time in 9 months

AT&T Activation Fee

January 20th is Inauguration Day, and AT&T is making America great again by increasing the fees it charges customers to activate or upgrade their smartphones. Again.

Less than two weeks after Verizon increased its upgrade fee from $20 to $30, AT&T has confirmed that its upgrade fee and its activation fee will rise from $20 to $25 each. The fees apply to new customers when they activate a smartphone, or to existing customers when they upgrade to a new smartphone. This marks the second time in just nine months that AT&T has increased these fees, seizing the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of its top rival, Verizon, which also just increased its upgrade fee for the second time since last April.

Keeping business is apparently a costly endeavor. Just last year, AT&T increased its activation and upgrade fees from $15 to $20. The activation fee applies to any customer activating a smartphone on a new line, regardless of whether the phone was purchased from AT&T or purchased elsewhere. Here’s the wording from AT&T’s website:

Wireless activation and upgrade fees are one time fees that may be added to your first or next AT&T bill.

• Activation and upgrade fees for devices purchased with an installment agreement – $25

• Activation fee for bring your own device – $25.

• Activation and upgrade fees for two year agreement – $45. Note: Two year agreements are available only on select devices.

Of note, the $45 fee only applies to business lines and to tablets and wearables being purchased from AT&T with a new two-year contract.

Where the upgrade fee is concerned, this fee applies to customers who purchase a new smartphone from AT&T on an existing line. Subscribers who want to use a new smartphone purchased elsewhere on an existing line will not have to pay the upgrade fee.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.