Home » AT&T »Consumer News »Public Policy & Gov't » Currently Reading:

AT&T Gouges Californians With 25% Telephone Rate Increase

Phillip Dampier January 17, 2012 AT&T, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't 3 Comments

Years ago, phone companies could not simply raise rates willy-nilly.  They had to justify rate increases before an oversight body, usually on the state level.  But after spending millions to lobby state lawmakers to deregulate the phone business, AT&T is set to recoup their investment with a dramatic 25 percent rate increase for landline phone service in the state of California.

Some residential customers have kept basic landline service as a last resort, switching to “measured service,” where customers pay a small charge for every call they make or receive a calling allowance that covers several calls a day.  Measured service can deliver substantial savings over traditional flat rate service.  But now AT&T is targeting these “budget customers” for some stunning rate hikes.

Starting March 1st, AT&T is raising rates by nearly 25% for measured service — from $12.37 to $15.37 a month — a $3 increase.  After your calling allowance is exhausted, each additional local call will cost three cents per minute.

Customers with flat rate service will also pay AT&T $1.05 more — $21 a month (before taxes, fees, and surcharges) for basic flat rate, unlimited local calling.

Best of all (for AT&T), the company does not have to explain or justify the rate increase.  That attitude was evident when reading the Los Angeles Timesaccount of the rate hike, complete with an arrogant, shoulder-shrugging AT&T spokesman:

Lane Kasselman, an AT&T spokesman, said fees for measured and flat-rate calling plans are going up because, well, because.

“Goods and services go up,” he told me. “That’s how our economy works.”

The increase is expected to hit seniors and low income consumers the hardest — they are the biggest constituency of the 10 percent of AT&T customers who choose measured-rate, budget service.  They are also the least likely to have cut the cord on their traditional landline service in favor of a cell phone or competing Voice Over IP provider.

AT&T hints that the rate increase is partly to push customers into multi-service bundles that include phone, Internet, and television service.  By hiking the price of individual services, the bundled price suddenly seems to deliver the best “savings” for customers.

Critics call that price pumping — artificially raising the price of a-la-carte services to create phantom savings for the company’s higher-revenue bundled service packages.

A San Francisco advocacy group calls it something else.

“It’s extortion, pure and simple,” said Regina Costa, telecom research director for the Utility Reform Network, or TURN, a consumer group. “There’s no proof that these price increases are justified.”

Thanks to California’s deregulation of the landline phone business, no proof is required.

Currently there are 3 comments on this Article:

  1. siouxmoux says:

    I am glad I dump my ATT land line years ago. I will be saving over $40 dollars a mouth with these outrageous rate hikes

  2. Carla Amaral says:

    My residential ATT flat rate went from $21 to $23.

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Southern Ohio Citizen: Im from scioto county ohio about three hours from charleston and I'm having the same issue with frontier this article explains. frontier is the only i...
  • DragonBall Xenoverse Serial Key: As far as the Xbox 720 being able tto defeat the Wii U, it's going to be a matter of how the console is presented and what video games are availab...
  • Rebecka Basey: Honestly with phones, laptops, tablets the 1.5 is crap i find myself using my lte from phone provider at home so the 1.5dsl available to rest of famil...
  • Bill: @Joe V - If you have Att Uverse like I did you may have an alternative. Even If its regular dsl you should check out DSL extreme. Phillip wrote an a...
  • Limboaz: While arbitrary usage caps, crappy service and overcharging are bad, the bigger issue to deal with is the crony capitalism and corruption that lets co...
  • Write about this: I went out and bought a new doc sis 3 compatible modem...now they are still trying to charge me the 10 dollar fee and my account is showing two modems...
  • Joe V: You forgot to mention Phil that Comcast as horrible as they are, there's another telecom giant just as bad : AT&T-they also imposed usage-base...
  • lllllll: While yes Google can cause harm right now they aren't the problem. The main Problem is these corrupt ISPs that refuse to upgrade the Network and Expan...
  • Limboaz: Not happy times for Comcrap. Hopefully this signifies a new trend of activism when it comes to regulators overseeing companies that refuse to play fai...
  • Phillip Dampier: We know John Malone and Charter are still very interested, but the last attempt met with a hostile response from TWC management. There will need to be...
  • Bob: So does Charter now step in as the new suitor ?...
  • lllllll: T-Mobile cut off limit is Somewhere over a few TBs/ Month. Also I'm not in a Semi Rural Area Either. I'm in a decent size City. Data Usage doesn't equ...

Your Account: