It won’t break the bank, but AT&T is rolling out new fees to new and old customers alike. Hey, nothing says we want you on our wireless service like charging you more.
Beginning August 1, the activation charges on one and two-year subsidized phone contracts will jump to $45 per line. Last summer, the fee was at $35. I think I’ve read too many Wall Street earnings reports, but don’t blame this on the strong dollar.
It’s not just customers on contracts feeling the hit. New customers on the AT&T’s Next plan will be charged a $15 activation fee on each line. The Next program has been trumpeted as a way for you to get the latest and greatest phone upgrades without waiting for your contract to renew, or paying the full price of the phone upfront.
Think of it as a payment plan. There’s no money down, and you pay out the full cost of the phone over a set period of months. Before August 1, there was no activation fee. But, evidently it costs money to make you hate your wireless bill each month.
For now, this applies to new Next customers as AT&T says old customers will not be subjected to fees at this time. That’s a polite way of saying we are getting the bad press out of the way today and will sneak this in a bit later.
If you want to avoid the extra fee and are due for an upgrade, you have just over a week.
It’s an interesting move as wireless carriers are essentially cannibalizing each other’s customer bases. Each company is racing to steal a customer or two from the other.
One thing’s for sure, AT&T customers won’t like the new fees. Our bonus? It gives T-Mobile’s CEO something to rage tweet about.