AT&T's upgrade fee doubling February 12

AT&T Upgrade Fee Increase

If you're looking to be picking up a new iPhone on AT&T any time soon, you'll want to note that the upgrade fee will be doubling on February 12. As the folks over at Android Central noted based on the screenshot above, the new fee will be a sizable $36.

On the internal memo, AT&T noted the reason for the price hike was that "overall costs associated with upgrading to a new device have increased," and that "devices today are more sophisticated than ever." Their statement to Android Central covered the same talking points:

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.

But what does that even mean? The cost of keeping us as customers, taking our money for a new device, and charging us for ongoing service for many more months to come has... gotten higher?

There's no "upgrade fee" when we buy new televisions, new toasters, new Wi-Fi routers, new bicycles... should we go on? What beyond the price of the new phone and the monthly fees from the new contract should AT&T really need or be entitled to?

Now, a $0 iPhone 3GS is really $36. A $100 iPhone 4 is really $136.

For some, an $18 increase may not mean a whole lot but considering you're essentially doing AT&T a favor by upgrading your device and staying with them, any added cost is sure ruffle a few feathers. Now that information is out there, we'll have to wait and see if AT&T sticks to their guns or cancels their plans.

How do you feel about paying it the next time you upgrade to an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5?

Source - Android Central

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Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

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Reader comments

AT&T's upgrade fee doubling February 12


I don't know about you or anyone else, but every time I've upgraded my iPhone, AT&T has always waived the upgrade fee for me.

Me as well, it's usually only charged when you upgrade a couple days before your actual upgrade date, and even then they will usually wave it.

Now that 'unlimited' doesn't mean unlimited, AT&T will have to kiss some serious butt to keep me with them. I won't be paying $36.

They should pay me the $36 to stay with them. The upgrade is done automatically by clicking a couple buttons. I really don't see this could be costing them more.
I will change providers before I pay that much for an upgrade.

These reasons for increasing this fee are nothing short of ridiculous, much like
when all texting options disappeared except for the $20 texting plan.
They are using anything they can do to increase profits. Imagine what will happen as more competitors

Just the carriers continuing to nickel and dime customers. If some legislator wanted to score some points, they'd go after these companies for collusion and price gouging. Pretty sure they're all in the pockets of the telcos though.

Although the reasoning is beyond silly, you (a customer under a valid contract that wants to upgrade) are NOT "essentially doing AT&T a favor" actually... You are under a contract and you want to "change" it in YOUR favor, ie. getting a brand new phone with it. So, well, they have a ground for the upgrade fee.
Again, the reasoning is silly tho.

I agree with your assessment that the upgrade is for the customer's benefit and usually not AT&T's, however doubling the fee to upgrade to such a large degree seems counterintuitive. Even though the in-store AT&T sales reps have always waived the upgrade fee for me when I've upgraded phones, I don't disagree with paying a reasonable amount of money for the task of paying someone to upgrade my account. $36 dollars seems a bit on the extreme side though. It takes all of 5 minutes to upgrade or change plans. Maybe 10 minutes if they hit a snag or two. But paying $36 dollars for 5-10 minutes of work is a bit much. Everything is likely computerized and I don't remember the salespeople I've worked with ever needing to call someone else or have another person change something at another location. It's always been handled in-store in just a few minutes. I've never had a bad experience during an upgrade, an I definitely disagree with the price increase. This just seems to me like an attempt for AT&T to increase revenues and pad their coffers.


This is crazy! They credit it back if you call and complain. Maybe they doubled the fee to balance all the credits they have been giving to angry customers.

I am surprised that nobody has started a petition on, it seems to have a fair amount of success for others that have used it.

Doesn't affect me at all. From the 4S on, I told myself I'm going Unlocked . But obviously the catch to that means a really nasty price tag.

I bailed on AT&T a long time ago for similar reasons. They just don't understand 'customer service'.

They don't want to eat the T mobile failure? Just let there loyal customers pay. Real nice of them.

If AT&T made a cellphone that new in time it was going to bring a problem.. Way do we keep on getting the up grade fee. It not our felt for that up grade fee of $36 D

LOL. REALLY, sign a petition over 18 whole dollars ever YEAR or TWO?!
Seriously, most people throw away more money at Starbucks and on stupid items in a month or less than this fee which you only pay every 1-2 years, if that frequently (and If you are ever charged it!).
Besides the fact that if you ask nicely they 99% of the time waive it!

And I'm sorry but 146 or 43% of you are retarded if you're going to leave a carrier over $18 over a span of 1-2 years and go pay another carrier the same freaking fee!!!

Is no better at Verizon. They have hidden, or strange fees. They have the worst customer service. I got stuck with them when they bought out Alltel. My contract had been out some time. I went in to buy a 4S. "we do not stock them,we can order one, or we have nice Android phones" I can do that on the Apple store. "sorry sir, if you need to see a customer service rep, please sign in at the computer". I just want to know if you will get any iPhones in stock. " not really sir, do you need to talk to a rep? " What are you, "part of customer service sir, please sign in, and we can help you." Not today, thanks. I then drive to AT&T. Walked in, and asked if they had an iPhone 4S in stock. Sure, what color do you want. The same person who greeted me, also set me up. Yes big carriers all have problems, but I got tired of Verizon's junk, and bad plans. Sprint in my area has dropped calls, and have even worse customer service than Verizon.

I believe it's to make up for all that damn money they lost to tmobile for the failed acquisition.

I don't understand why anyone thinks they should get an upgrade for less than $100 at all. You're getting a New phone and it cost a lot to buy one. Be thankful for the low price they do charge.

I do not know what everyone is up in arms about. AT&T has the best service in the industry, unless.....
I want to make calls.........
In my office
At work
Driving in my car
Out in front of my house
At the shopping mall
At my kids school
At the airport
During breakfast
At lunch
During dinner
At snack time
At Chipotle
........and sitting on the can!

THANK GOODNESS I am with Verizon. although i am sure that they will quickly follow suit. I guess this is AT&T's way of saying thank you for your business, We value you as a customer LOL

Just checked AT&T & apple on upgrade of my phone, AT&T wanted to charge $18 and on apple there was no extra charge. Put the iPhone in my basket & was ready to checkout to see if any sneaky fees showed up. Seems the way to go is to just buy from apple direct when the time comes to upgrade.

Me as a consumer i think it is shocking att raised the upgrade fee.. but in the same time it makes sense when it was 18 dollar upgrade but in the same time att didnt have phones that were costing 650 to 700 dollars most phone in the days were 200 to 400 range so im guessing its att's way of recovering from the 450 dollar loss of discounting the phone.. it just sucks because i am employed by att and explaining this to customers is a pain and they think its our fault..

This is bull, it's bad enough they went from unlimited data to slowing you down once you get to 2gb or over to this now. Don't think I'll stay with AT&T any longer. Their becoming rediculus.

I was just chatting with the ATT people and they were acting all stupid about it. They are like no it has always been $36.00...I flipped out..

AT&T just got hit with a $4Billion accounts payable when their take-over of T-Mobile USA aborted.
Where did everyone think that $4B was coming from ... the tooth fairy?
Answer: nope, from their customers ... through higher fees for ... whatever they can get away with.

Wait a minute.. people with ATT have to pay an upgrade fee on top of renewing their contract??
What a douche of a company!!
Congratulations ATT.. you have managed to keep up your horrible impression.