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Print 47 comment(s) - last by Rukkian.. on Feb 13 at 4:05 PM

AT&T will make no new friends with its latest fee change

When it comes to cell phone charges, AT&T's $18 "upgrade fee" has always been one that has rubbed many people the wrong way. For those that are often forking over $200+ on a new smartphone and then are locked into a two-year contract at price of $60 to over a $100 per month, an extra $18 fee at upgrade time is seen as a slap in the face.
 
Well, if you hate the upgrade fee, you'll really loathe AT&T's latest move. The company is now doubling the price of opening your new smartphone box for you, taking out your old SIM, placing the old SIM in your new smartphone, turning it on, and then activating it.
 
Boy Genius Report was the first to report on the $36 fee and posted the following proof on its website:


[Source: BGR]
 
An AT&T spokesman later confirmed the fee change, stating:
 
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.
 
Q4 2011 was a rough one for AT&T. Despite tremendous sales of the Apple iPhone 4S, the company reported a massive $6.68B loss ($1.12 per share) for the quarter. The loss can be directly attributed to the failed T-Mobile merger, adjustments to its pension plan, and writedowns on its phone-directory business.
 
This marked AT&T's first quarterly loss since 2008.

Sources: BGR, AT&T



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Ughh ATT
By fourdegrees11 on 2/11/2012 6:25:05 AM , Rating: 5
I cant wait to leave Alaska so I can drop ATT and go back to Sprint.




RE: Ughh ATT
By Methusela on 2/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Ughh ATT
By hughlle on 2/11/2012 10:29:22 AM , Rating: 1
that is if you are making the assumption that he buys his phone for for the purpose of using mobile internet. myself, none of the first half of your post would hold any relevance in the provider i use.


RE: Ughh ATT
By Methusela on 2/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Ughh ATT
By inighthawki on 2/11/2012 1:07:31 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe because a smartphone can do a whole lot more than browse the internet?


RE: Ughh ATT
By Methusela on 2/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Ughh ATT
By tayb on 2/11/2012 3:00:45 PM , Rating: 3
Have you ever heard of wifi? I would love to own a smartphone with no data plan. The only time I don't have access to wi-fi of some sort is when I am driving and I'm not really using the phone for anything but calls while driving.


RE: Ughh ATT
By Methusela on 2/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Ughh ATT
By Souka on 2/11/2012 5:45:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah no kidding.

That "Methusela" guy is probably the worst!

;)


RE: Ughh ATT
By inighthawki on 2/12/2012 1:28:02 AM , Rating: 1
Well, your entire initial post was in regards to the data connection speed of the network, which is not for much more than browsing the web, and occasionally needing to download something. Either way, I must apologize because my point was geared less towards web browsing and more towards "offline functionality" (apps) or low bandwidth features like email syncing, instant messaging, or social networking features.


RE: Ughh ATT
By rdhood on 2/13/12, Rating: 0
RE: Ughh ATT
By Samus on 2/11/2012 11:37:54 AM , Rating: 1
Who cares about performance. I have a HP Veer with T-mobile which only runs Edge. Since I only have 200mb a month of data, it actually 'helps' me not go over my data allowance by being low performance.

However, call quality, coverage, and email/data are all reliable and fast enough for any casual smartphone user. Sure, I can't watch youtube above 240p without constant buffering or download a new 50mb app (fat chance with WebOS anyway) but that's what Wifi is for. Here in Chicago, every bar, coffee shop and McDonalds I know of has free Wifi.

Don't get me wrong, I advocate pushing forward with LTE, but with current smartphones and usage characteristics, it isn't neccessary. As the trend for home and business internet moves to wireless internet, phone and IP television, LTE will be incredibly important, but that trend is just starting.


RE: Ughh ATT
By Uncle on 2/12/2012 6:57:40 PM , Rating: 1
You guys are forgetting you bought a phone, cell phone, smart phone no matter what you call it,its still a phone first and foremost. You say that "Sprint has the slowest 3g network (by far), and it's getting worse with every iPhone activation." So when your talking on the phone, does your voice sound like its slurring like a drunk if not then the speed is ok. Everything your phone does other then for talking is secondary. When you look at it that way, you won't get so frustrated about a service that came about so you could have a portable phone. Anyone who complains about hooking up to the net on a 3x2" screen and gets pissed off has to have their head examined.


RE: Ughh ATT
By cmdrdredd on 2/12/2012 9:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
It's now called a "Mobile Device". Yeah people call it a phone but honestly, most people text and don't bother making calls anymore.


RE: Ughh ATT
By Rukkian on 2/13/2012 3:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
Except that we now have to pay $30+ per month for the mobile data. If I am paying that kind of money, I expect good performance, hence why people care about speed, connection etc.


RE: Ughh ATT
By jharper12 on 2/13/2012 8:42:55 AM , Rating: 2
Really? I travel a lot for work, I just got home yesterday, I'll leave tomorrow morning and be gone for a week or more again. With the industry I work in, and the never ending travel, I easily use 3GB to 6GB of data a month. My max was 7GB. Yes, straight from Sprint's "Analyze my plan" website. Just regular smart phone usage.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, I have Hulu+ and Netflix, so I watch a decent amount of TV or movies on my phone, and just random browsing. Also, I'm on Sprint. If their network is really so slow, how is it that I'm using that much data without losing my mind? Don't get me wrong, I want faster everything, but I haven't felt particularly limited with my data connection so far.

I would consider moving to Verizon if they do offer shared pools of data. I use 65% to 90% of the data in a shared plan of five any given month. If they offer that, I would consider going that route. It's $152 more a month for their family plan though, even considering all of the discounts I could get.

I posted not too long ago on the difference. Over 20 years at 2.5% interest, that's an extra $47k+ money in the bank for retirement. $152 a month is not chump change. That's the payment for a new Nissan Versa with 20% down over 60 months. When I'm already able to do everything I want to do on my "slow network" is the company difference really worth a new car payment? Probably not.


RE: Ughh ATT
By mcnabney on 2/13/2012 10:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
Verizon will probably turn on data sharing on the day after AT&T does. They always match each other.


RE: Ughh ATT
By VahnTitrio on 2/13/2012 10:28:51 AM , Rating: 2
The only places I have been where my Sprint phone couldn't make a call is where nobodies phone could make a call (I'm talking many miles of dirt roads into the woods type places). The 3G may be slowish; but if I'm on a 3G network I don't need pages to load instantly. Usually it's just an email here or there I need to see, nothing major.


Complain to AT&T
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/11/2012 11:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
You guys need to make your voices heard. Remember Verizon's $2 "Convenience Fee" that leaked out? Everyone made such a big stink that they tucked their tails between their legs and abandoned it.




RE: Complain to AT&T
By Samus on 2/11/2012 11:45:40 AM , Rating: 1
The problem with AT&T is they are an industry leader, a monopoly, and do not care about their customers. As you have reminded us, they have the lowest customer satisfaction rating of any wireless carrier, and as a company, probably the lowest of all competing companies in competing markets.

People bounce between AT&T and Comcast over constant disappointment from each provider, because in most parts of the country, they are your only wired options for television, internet and phone.

This market need to be appropriately regulated. They are utility companies and should be treated as such.


RE: Complain to AT&T
By V-Money on 2/11/2012 1:51:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People bounce between AT&T and Comcast over constant disappointment from each provider


I'm glad I'm not the only one, I've switched between those 2 companies over a dozen times in the past 6 years. I figured I just had bad luck with both of them.


RE: Complain to AT&T
By Ammohunt on 2/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Complain to AT&T
By Just Tom on 2/12/2012 11:15:06 AM , Rating: 2
How is AT&T a monopoly when they have fewer subscribers than Verizon?


RE: Complain to AT&T
By Samus on 2/12/12, Rating: 0
RE: Complain to AT&T
By Just Tom on 2/12/2012 1:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem with AT&T is they are an industry leader, a monopoly, and do not care about their customers. As you have reminded us, they have the lowest customer satisfaction rating of any wireless carrier, and as a company, probably the lowest of all competing companies in competing markets.


You were talking about wireless carriers, so I do not see what the point of AT&T providing more services is. And the simple fact is Verizon Wireless has more subscribers than AT&T does, and in no way does AT&T have anything approaching a monopoly.


RE: Complain to AT&T
By V-Money on 2/11/2012 1:47:26 PM , Rating: 3
I did my part, when I jumped ship from Sprint I refused to go to ATT because I've had nothing but problems with them.


RE: Complain to AT&T
By drycrust3 on 2/11/12, Rating: 0
How to avoid upgrade fee....
By SunAngel on 2/11/2012 8:20:09 AM , Rating: 3
add a new line of service with new phone, cancel old line of service after receiving new phone. no upgrade fees on new lines.




RE: How to avoid upgrade fee....
By havoti97 on 2/11/2012 6:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
Except they slap you with an activation fee. And the next day you send a mass text updating everyone of your new number. fail


RE: How to avoid upgrade fee....
By CZroe on 2/12/2012 2:34:00 AM , Rating: 2
Also, you can't simply cancel the old line if you are still under contract, which most people are (they usually get offered an early upgrade).


RE: How to avoid upgrade fee....
By SunAngel on 2/12/2012 8:17:28 AM , Rating: 2
my bad. my asumption was if you were out of contract. personally, i don't upgrade with every new phone release...that's just stupid. maybe its just me but i have never had to pay an activation fee on a new line. the activation is for new customers. an existing customer with an active account would never again pay an activation fee.

but back to upgrading to a new phone each and every time a manufacture tops another manufacturer in hardware but keeps the same old software. with Apple you don't have to deal with that kind of garbage. iOS keeps you perfectly satisfied until the next hardware change.


Perfect
By jeffbui on 2/11/2012 1:59:57 PM , Rating: 1
Less incentive to upgrade, more reason to switch to Verizon




RE: Perfect
By Gungel on 2/12/2012 6:56:30 AM , Rating: 2
Except that you pay more every month with Verizon. Trading a one time fee with a more expensive service is a bad deal.


RE: Perfect
By cmdrdredd on 2/12/2012 9:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
I pay less than I did with ATT when I switched.


RE: Perfect
By Rukkian on 2/13/2012 4:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure that depends on several factors, including usage, features, and discounts, but I have priced out pretty much every other provider (at&t, Sprint, US Cell) in my area, and none of them would save money (at least not more than $5/month) from what I currenty pay on Verizon with 4 lines (2 dumb, 2 smart).


They should bundle the fee into the advertised price
By KPOM1 on 2/11/2012 4:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
This is a case of false advertising. Rather than advertising that a phone is $199 with a 2 year contract, and then slapping a $36 "upgrade fee" for the "cost" of swapping out a SIM card, they should advertise that the phone is $235. That would at least make it transparent. This is the kind of thing that the FTC and advertising laws should be aimed at (rather than some of the frivolous things they usually go after).




By cladari on 2/12/2012 12:23:23 AM , Rating: 2
They charge an ETF because I am repaying the true cost of the phone in my monthly payments. Why then, if I don't get a new phone but simply renew my contract, doesn't my monthly payment get reduced since I have repayed the phone ?



By cmdrdredd on 2/12/2012 9:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
If you are repaying the phone how come you can't opt to pay less for a longer contract period? Like say...$30/mo for 3 years instead of $100 for 2?


More like a disastrous US mobile system
By StrangerGuy on 2/11/2012 10:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
Evil socialist Finland has cheaper and better plans despite full coverage even in sparsly populated areas and 1/2 the population density of the U.S

American "free" market at work in its finest. And oh BTW clueless U.S cell phone subscriber #1235434, your $0 is not exactly free at all.




By dali71 on 2/12/2012 12:12:02 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Evil socialist Finland has cheaper and better plans despite full coverage even in sparsly populated areas and 1/2 the population density of the U.S


The United States is almost 30 times larger than Finland. Try again.


By cmdrdredd on 2/12/2012 9:27:37 PM , Rating: 3
Less people than my county and smaller area than my State. You lose.


I think it's just AT&T employees getting dumber.
By SongEmu on 2/12/2012 2:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.


Yes. Because all of your fancy software databases have clearly gotten harder to use... you're forced to use special SIM tray ejecting tools to pop open that iPhone... then you have to use some horrific GUI to activate it all.
IT'S SOOO HARD! #sarcasm #that'swhatshesaid




By DeluxeTea on 2/12/2012 10:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
I read that part as:

quote:
We've had a disastrous 4th quarter because our buyout of T-Mobile fell through. We paid them $4B for it, so we need to recoup the cash. Everyone also charges this fee and this is enough reason for us to double it. Fuck you customers.


just look at the bigger picture
By geeznola on 2/11/2012 2:09:22 PM , Rating: 3
the subsidized cost of an iPhone is ENORMOUS for all carriers who sell a decent amount of iPhones. Don't blame att, blame apple b/c they are the ones laughing all the way to the bank and are the real culprits in the higher pricing. sprint already charges 36 for an upgrade and for everyone that is saying they are going to switch carriers now...think about it. you pay your etf which could be a couple of hundred and even if you are out of contract you will end up paying 36 anyway for an activation fee at another carrier.....so you will still pay that price like it or not!




They just keep digging
By MWink on 2/11/2012 7:55:00 AM , Rating: 2
So this means people who get a new phone on AT&T will pay more to activate it than I pay for 6 MONTHS of service with Platinumtel. I'm just glad I don't talk much and can live without a smartphone.

Back many years ago I used to like Cingular (now AT&T) but they've gone down hill bigtime and they just keep digging themselves a bigger hole. They're just lucky they sell such an addictive product. I think cell phone providers and drug dealers have a lot in common.




As Expensive as Verizon is
By vcolon on 2/11/2012 3:30:34 PM , Rating: 2
As Expensive as Verizon is, at least you get what you pay for. Best 4G LTE in America and most coverage.




go broke *!@@ company
By SPOOOK on 2/12/2012 3:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
die at and t go broke that loss i hope is only the first of your great fall if i could bankrupt your company i would do it in a seconed




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