AT&T More Than Doubles Administrative Fee for Wireless Customers

AT&T has raised the amount of the "administrative fee" that it charges many of its 64.5 million wireless customers, a move that will earn the company an additional $800 million in annual revenue.

The fee hike was first noticed by BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk (via CNBC), who pointed out that AT&T has increased its monthly fees by approximately $1.23 in 2018 with two price hikes in April and June. Customers are now paying $1.99 in administrative fees, up from 76 cents last year.

ATT new 2016 logo
Approximately 85 percent of AT&T's customers have seen the fee hike, as it applies to all postpaid accounts. Prepaid customers are not required to pay the administrative fee.

Prior to the doubling of the fee, it hadn't changed much since AT&T introduced it in 2013, going from 61 cents to 76 cents over a period of several years.

Piecyk speculates that AT&T has increased the fee to offset the debt incurred by its recent $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner. "Presumably the Administrative Fee is another way to help AT&T fund its network build and Time Warner acquisition going forward," he wrote.

In a statement to CNBC, however, AT&T said that the fee is standard across the wireless industry: "This is a standard administrative fee across the wireless industry, which helps cover costs we incur for items like cell site maintenance and interconnection between carriers."

Earlier in June, AT&T also raised the price of its grandfathered unlimited data plans by $5 per month. That plan, which was originally priced at $30, is now $45.

Tag: AT&T

Top Rated Comments

BootsWalking Avatar
60 months ago
How about we withhold a portion of our total bill as a "customer patronage fee", a fee payable by AT&T for the privilege of having us as a customer.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BC2009 Avatar
60 months ago
I got hit with this crap -- called AT&T and complained and the rep said she would do a monthly $10 discount to my bill.

The rep repeatedly tried to talk about "government taxes and fees" to make it sound like this administrative fee was one of those fees. I had to keep correcting that lie. I told her "we agreed on a monthly price and this is AT&T's way of getting out of that agreement and increasing my price"

The increase, by the way, is PER LINE -- so if you have a family with 3, 4, or 5 lines or more, you are going to notice this on your bill.

My comment to the AT&T rep was that I had left Cox Cable after 15 years of being a customer to go with CenturyLink because CenturyLink promised a fixed rate for life. CenturyLink offered Gigabit Fiber in my neighborhood for $85 per month and unlimited data while Cox wanted $150 per month for 300Mbps and unlimited data. I told her that I would do the same with AT&T after being a customer for 20 years unless she did something about this administrative fee.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
60 months ago
I'd laugh, but I'm sure my Verizon bill is loaded with crap like this too.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EdT Avatar
60 months ago
Ah yes, the "Give us more money" fee. Super shady and shouldn't be allowed.
Most U.S. citizens have voted to dismantle the health, safety and consumer functions for decades, under both Republican and Democratic leadership. Those protections had been installed because from the turn of the 20th century on businesses took advantage of people whenever they could and at least initially there were no laws to stop them. Even the recession of 2008 there was out and out fraud, which is a criminal offense, by banks AND regulators and the total number of people charged was zero.

It may not be how you personally chose who went to city, state and federal offices but as a group we are getting what we voted for.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
60 months ago
I gotta be honest, this information is quite shocking to me. After all, it's AT&T. One of the most forthright and honest companies I've had the pleasure of dealing with in my lifetime. Even though this is shocking, I'm fairly certain the fee increases are justified. AT&T wouldn't arbitrarily and unnecessarily gouge customers. It's just not in their corporate DNA. For those who would complain, I'd say hold off on that. I'm sure AT&T has our best interest at heart with the fee increases. They have always and will always continue to put customers above all else.

*outgoing text sent*
I posted to MR. I've done what you asked.

*incoming text received*
We will release your kids now. Thank you for your cooperation.

*outgoing text sent*
You can keep the youngest. It's really for the best. The wife and I will make another. We'll try to get it right this time.

Update: AT&T SUDDENLY REVERSES DECISION ON DOUBLING ADMIN FEES. GETS RID OF THEM ALTOGETHER. LOWERS ALL BILLS BY 30%

*incoming text received*
Please take back. Will do anything!!!!

*outgoing text sent*
New phone. Who dis?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EdT Avatar
60 months ago
In my opinion, consumers of cellular companies need to work to get a law enacted, that prevents the cellular provider from raising any administrative fees during the calendar year. If the company wishes to raise the administrative (and other hidden junk fees) for the next calendar year, the company must provide notice to the customer two months in advance. And if the customer does not discontinue the plan or service for said line(s), that will be consent for the company to lawfully charge said fees.
Won't happen. Government oversight and regulation of businesses is being gutted, not reinforced.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values for iPhones, Macs, and More

Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:40 am PST by
After announcing new Mac and HomePod models last week, Apple adjusted its trade-in values for select devices in the United States. iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased. Trade-in...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Expected Later This Year With These 7 Exclusive Features

Tuesday January 24, 2023 4:53 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least seven exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the seven features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
Mac mini M2 2023

New 256GB Mac Mini and 512GB MacBook Pro Have Slower SSD Speeds Than Previous Models

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:11 pm PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M2 chip has a lower $599 starting price, the base model with 256GB of storage has slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the previous-generation model with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage. A teardown of the new Mac mini shared by YouTube channel Brandon Geekabit reveals that the 256GB model is equipped with only a single 256GB storage chip, while the...
apple tv 4k red image

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3

Tuesday January 24, 2023 10:10 am PST by
Apple today released tvOS 16.3, the third major point update to the tvOS 16 operating system that originally came out in September. Available for the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, tvOS 16.3 comes six weeks after tvOS 16.2, an update that added Apple Music Sing. The tvOS 16.3 update can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ by going to System > Software...
watchOS 9 Feature

Apple Releases watchOS 9.3 With New Watch Face, Bug Fixes

Monday January 23, 2023 10:06 am PST by
Apple today released watchOS 9.3, the third major update to the watchOS 9 operating system that first launched in September. watchOS 9.3 comes over a month after watchOS 9.2, an update that added new Workout functionality and Crash Detection optimizations. watchOS 9.3 can be downloaded for free through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by opening it up and going to General > Software Update. ...
iOS 16

iOS 16.3 for iPhone Launching Next Week With These 4 New Features

Friday January 20, 2023 11:43 am PST by
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3 will be released to the public next week. The software update will be available for the iPhone 8 and newer and includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped bigger features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for Apple ID accounts, worldwide ...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Pro Mac Mini

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
The new M2-series MacBook Pro and Mac mini models launched today, marking the debut of the first M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. We have the M2 Pro Mac mini on hand, and thought we'd take a look at the machine and do a series of benchmarks to see how it fits into Apple's lineup. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Base model Mac mini machines come with either an M2 or M2 Pro...
Ventura Macs Feature Blue

Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.2

Monday January 23, 2023 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Ventura 13.2, the second major update to the macOS Ventura operating system initially released in October. macOS Ventura 13.2 comes more than a month after macOS Ventura 13.1, an update that added the Freeform app and other changes. The ‌macOS Ventura‌ 13.2 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...