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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.


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

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3 weeks 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.
Rating: 60 Votes
3 weeks 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.
Rating: 44 Votes
3 weeks ago
I'd laugh, but I'm sure my Verizon bill is loaded with crap like this too.
Rating: 26 Votes
3 weeks 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?
Rating: 22 Votes
3 weeks 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.
Rating: 22 Votes
3 weeks ago
Same thing as a resort fee or a bag fee. Soon they will be advertising a $5 a month plan but the fees will put it over $100. Then telling us they improved the industry because they brought plan prices down to $5 a month.
Rating: 17 Votes
3 weeks 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.
Rating: 17 Votes
3 weeks ago
"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."

LOL. What's next? A fee to maintain AT&T's wireless industry lobbying group?
Rating: 15 Votes
3 weeks ago
Well thank goodness for that huge tax cut they got.... eh?
Rating: 15 Votes
3 weeks ago

They increase things by 67¢ a month and MacRumors people lose their minds. Might be time to get rid of that $1000 iPhone if things are that tight for you kids.

That's the mentality they hope we have. You are staring at the 67 cents as a small amount. Just like AT&T wants you to do. Meanwhile, in AT&T land they are staring at this:

a move that will earn the company an additional $800 million in annual revenue.

$800 million dollars just by charging customers 67 cents for nothing.
Rating: 14 Votes

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