Home » AT&T »Competition »Consumer News »Wireless Broadband » Currently Reading:

AT&T: Pay Us $36 If You Really Want to Upgrade That Smartphone

Phillip Dampier February 13, 2012 AT&T, Competition, Consumer News, Wireless Broadband 1 Comment

AT&T increases upgrade fee. (Photo courtesy: Engadget)

AT&T has announced it is doubling the price of its equipment upgrade fee, now charging $36 when a customer activates a new phone on their wireless account.

Our regular reader Scott sent word AT&T raised the upgrade fee Feb. 12, from $18 to $36, to “cover their costs. ” The fee now matches that charged by Sprint.

From AT&T’s official statement:

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. This fee isn’t unique to AT&T and this is the first time we’re changing it in nearly 10 years.

Wireless companies in North America encourage more frequent phone upgrades because of their business model: pitching subsidized phones in return for a two-year contract commitment, along with higher-priced service plans which gradually recoup the cost of the subsidy.

Consumers who hang on to their phones longer than two years continue to pay higher prices for service plans designed for those who always upgrade phones every two years at contract renewal time.  Phone companies also prefer customers who live under a term contract because they are less likely to switch providers.

In the past, loyal customers not only received extra incentives and discounts when they renewed their contracts, they also had these kinds of service fees waived.  No more.  Most companies have discontinued extra upgrade discounts for existing customers and increasingly refuse to waive service and equipment fees.

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. Matt says:

    Been a long time since long time customers got anything from carriers. New subscribers are all they care about these days. Just looking for someone else to hook into a new contract with higher costs instead of us with old grandfathered in plans.

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Steve P.: How many people have any real competition for Internet? I know I don't. Certainly not DSL at a fourth the speed....
  • David: I mostly read your blog to hear about item #4. I'm a Frontier customer and their service speed is really poor. I hope that they someday get around to ...
  • Christopher G.: I used to work in the industry for multiple companies. We are the richest country yet one of the lower tiers of speed for internet. Why? Internet c...
  • Joe V: Keep it up Phil. I just wrote a piece to Frontline PBS about the state of broadband duopolies in this country. I hope they read and respond....
  • Dawsonfiberhood: Thanks for the hard work, Phillip. I look forward to each new article you write!...
  • Duncan: Cut the cord today, and used this blog post as inspiration. TWC jacked my bill from $140 to $180, and that was the final straw. Goodbye, TWC, but ...
  • Jimmy Bae: That really isn't the proper use of the term ennui. You can't sooth someone's extreme boredom and disinterest....
  • Martha: What if you say you are going to cancel your cable service for a streaming service, such as Roku or SlingTV? Will they likely to come back with an off...
  • Paul Houle: @Lee, it is worse than that. It is not that they cannot afford to give you fiber, it is that they can already make so much money selling you infe...
  • Lee: Frontier will not deliver that 5 Mbps to me. It will not matter what modem I have or what they have in the dslam located at the school. The copper lin...
  • Paul Houle: @Joe, don't buy the hype over G.Fast. Instead of "Fiber to the Press Release" it is just "Copper to the Press Release" G. Fast is a great techn...
  • Joe V: Here's the irony : I watched the Frontier go in front of California politicians broadcast play out and two things that got underneath my skin : I...

Your Account: