Apple Watch Series 3 Costs More Than $10/Month on Most Carriers, Can't Be Reactivated Without Fees

When the Apple Watch Series 3 first launched, carriers in the United States and other countries where the LTE version of the device is available offered three free months of service and waived activation fees.

That fee-free grace period is coming to an end, and customers are getting their first bills that include the $10 per month service charge.

applewatchedition 3
If you have an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE functionality, you've probably already learned that $10 is not all it's going to cost per month. On carriers like AT&T and Verizon, there are additional service charges and fees, which means it's not $10 per month for an Apple Watch, it's more like $12-$14.

On Verizon in California, for example, there's an additional $1.55 in fees on top of the $10 per month charge.

verizonapplewatchfees
On AT&T in North Carolina, fees and surcharges add an additional $4.39 to the $10 per month charge, bringing the total to almost $15 per month for an Apple Watch. In some states, these fees on Verizon and AT&T are even higher.

attapplewatchfees
If you're planning to avoid fees by deactivating service and activating again when it's needed, that may not be the best plan of action. As Macworld's Michael Simon points out, line activation fees that come with reactivation can be hefty.

Though the Apple Watch Series 3 is linked to the cellular number of the iPhone on a given carrier, it requires adding an additional line to a cellular service account. When you cancel and re-add a line, there's an activation fee involved. On Verizon, for example, if you deactivate the Apple Watch Series 3 and then want to activate it again at a later date, there's a $25 charge. Suspending service doesn't work, as it requires a $10/month fee, aside from a one-time 30 day free suspension on Verizon. From Macworld:

Because Apple Watch uses NumberShare on Verizon, it's not considered a month-to-month or prepaid device, so it's not so easy to skip a month of service. According to the Verizon representative I spoke to, I have two options:

- Suspend my Apple Watch service for up to 90 days at a time. This will cost me $10 a month, so that's not really an option.

- De-activate the watch completely. That will wipe it from my account and bill. However, I will need to pay a $25 activation fee once I decide to reinstate service. That's a recurring change. That means Verizon will essentially charge me for two and half months service every time I turn it off and on again.

Like Verizon, AT&T charges $25, while Sprint charges $30. T-Mobile no longer charges activation fees, so it may be more affordable to cancel and reinstate service if you're a T-Mobile subscriber.

On AT&T and Verizon, though, that $25 re-activation fee is the cost of two months of service, or close to it, when taxes and fees are included, meaning it's not really worthwhile to start and stop service if you're going to do it more than once or twice a year.

Macworld was also told that if he stopped and started service he could run into problems when attempting to reactivate the watch, but it's not entirely clear why.

With the three-month grace period, most Apple Watch owners have likely learned whether or not the $10-$15 per month fees are worth the freedom of an always-on wrist-worn cellular connection. Neither Apple nor the carriers in the United States were fully upfront about the additional service fees and taxes and the hassle involved with deactivation/reactivation, though, so there are bound to be some users who will feel tricked when the first full Series 3 bill comes in.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

tardman91 Avatar
49 months ago
Just another way for carriers to screw customers.
Score: 63 Votes (Like | Disagree)
geoff5093 Avatar
49 months ago
Why does a wristwatch even need LTE???
So you can make test phone calls when pretending to paddle board while battling not falling over in front of millions of people watching.
Score: 59 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KazKam Avatar
49 months ago
I was really exited about getting my son an AW3-LTE until I found out what the carriers were charging, or charging at all.

It's complete and unadulterated highway robbery... it's the SAME number and the SAME data plan you're already paying for. What the hell is it costing them?!
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
indychris Avatar
49 months ago
We need Watch Neutrality!
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Auhim Avatar
49 months ago
Why does a wristwatch even need LTE???
Real world answer: People who run long distances and don't want to carry their (increasingly larger) smartphones with them, but must have a method of communication with them for safety reasons.

For example, I run multiple marathons a year and am training year round. I go on long runs all the time. I also live in the middle of a very large non-pedestrian-focused city with a lot of drivers who are generally oblivious to pedestrians, and have had several close calls over the years. Additionally, I'm an asthmatic and while problems are rare–there's always the threat of something bad happening. I have to have a way to call in case of an emergency. For people like me having a watch that can do emergency calls (or allow you to receive messages while you're on a 3+ hour run just in case someone else is having an emergency worth cutting your run short for) without having to carry a large device with you is very appealing.

Edit: Clearly this isn't a need that isn't covered by a phone. It is, however, a substantial quality of life improvement for some.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BlargKing Avatar
49 months ago
Why does a wristwatch even need LTE???
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1x mac mini screen feature

High-End 'M1X' Mac Mini With New Design and Additional Ports Expected to Launch in the 'Next Several Months'

Sunday August 22, 2021 5:59 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to launch an updated high-end Mac mini with a new design and a faster "M1X" Apple silicon processor in the "next several months," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. In the latest publication of his Power On newsletter, Gurman writes that a new high-end Mac mini, which has previously been reported to feature a new design with additional ports, can be expected to replace...
mac scanner permission error

Apple Says Fix Planned for 'You Do Not Have Permission to Open the Application' Error When Using a Scanner on Mac

Saturday August 14, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
In a newly published support document on its website, Apple has acknowledged an error that some users may receive when they try to use a scanner with a Mac in the Image Capture app, Preview app, or the Printers & Scanners section of System Preferences. A screenshot of the error message from the HP Support Community When attempting to use a scanner with a Mac, Apple said users might get an...
macbookpro13large

macOS Big Sur Update Bricking Some Older MacBook Pro Models

Sunday November 15, 2020 5:33 am PST by
A large number of late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are reporting that the macOS Big Sur update is bricking their machines. A MacRumors forum thread contains a significant number of users reporting the issue, and similar problems are being reported across Reddit and the Apple Support Communities, suggesting the problem is widespread. Users are reporting that during the...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
General YouTube Feature 1

YouTube Premium and Music Surpass 50 Million Subscribers

Friday September 3, 2021 2:19 am PDT by
YouTube says it has passed 50 million subscribers for its Premium and Music subscriptions, making it the "fastest growing music subscription" service in the world, according to YouTube's global head of music, Lyor Cohen. YouTube says that it has more than 50 million paying subscribers collectively across YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. The Google-owned service says it attributes this...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
apple wallet drivers license

Apple Announces First U.S. States That Will Let You Add Your Driver's License to Your iPhone

Wednesday September 1, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
Apple today announced the first U.S. states that will be rolling out the ability for residents to add their driver's license or state ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch. Arizona and Georgia will be the first states to support the feature, with Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah to follow, according to Apple. Apple said select TSA security checkpoints in ...