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AT&T Raising Upgrade Fees to $45, Will Add $15 Activation Fee to Next and BYOD Customers on August 1

According to sources, AT&T will raise its activation/upgrade fees for customers when signing one and two-year contracts, but also add-on an activation fee for AT&T Next and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) customers, starting August 1. 

The new activation/upgrade fee for one and two-year agreements is raising from $40 to $45, which gives AT&T the highest activation fee in the industry (Verizon is still at $40 for now). Going forward after August 1, should you choose to sign-up for a new contract to receive a discounted phone, you will pay $5 more than you used to.

In related news, AT&T Next will no longer be a zero-out-of-pocket installment plan. Come August 1, customers who are new to AT&T Next will have to pay a $15 activation fee when they pick up a new phone. This $15 fee also applies to those who bring their own device (BYOD) and sign-up for a new line of service.

Current AT&T Next customers who have an active installment plan prior to August 1 will not be charged the $15 fee on their next upgrade. AT&T has said that this “waiver” is subject to change. In other words, you may not have to pay the $15 fee at your next upgrade, but don’t be surprised if you have to after that.

It’s now July 21, so if you need to upgrade, now would be the time.


  • Keith Taylor

    Money grab

  • Croq

    I guess AT&T needs more capital so they can complete their purchase of DirecTV.

  • Disqo Stu

    This is why you go prepaid. None of this BS, even on AT&T’s own GoPhone

  • matt

    what i hate about activation fees is they overcharge for activating a sim that doesn’t need to be replaced. as long as you can remove a sim card from one phone and install it in another phone, you should not have to pay an activation fee. because they are not really activating any new piece of equipment.

  • Ahku Droid

    AT&T: “Please pay us a fee for the privilege to buy a phone at full price from us.”

  • Elizabethwyoung

    10 year old work experience … i-n-d-r-o-i-d-…. Check Out Now </b

  • gadget_hero

    I bet AT&T is doing this to help them recoup the money they are spending on DirecTV so they can maintain that absurdly high dividend that is strangling them.

  • Cue Verizon in 3…2…1…

  • RH

    SUCKERS! I got off that merry-go-round a couple years ago and will never go back to a contract phone. With all the stupid “fees” and taxes, it’s getting to be 1/3 of the bill…OR MORE. Quite happy with straight talk. 50 bucks a month, INCLUDING TAX.

  • Ryan Chinh

    I only buy T-Mobile off contract.

  • DanWazz

    AT&T is the worst.

  • Nunyur_Biznezz

    If you’re dumb enough to opt for a 2 year contract you deserve to pay $45.

  • newtonfb

    I wish people would just use MVNO and stop getting contracts. Honestly I dont feel bad for people who keep paying these fees. Theres no excuse, if you have ATT and dont want to pay the fees and overpriced contracts, buy an unlocked phone and use Cricket. Its the EXACT same service. I dont want to here the 8mbps cap either, HD netflix requires 4mbps for HD so I honestly dont know what you need 8 for. Ive had no problems the last 2 years and I pay $45 a month flat, no fees just $45 a month.

  • yummy

    Carriers business models are all copied from smack dealers. Once they know you cant give up your phone, you are theirs to smack around for fun and profit. It just gets worse.
    FZ Torture Never Stops

  • David Li

    AT&T doesn’t even refund the activation/upgrade fee if you return the device, even for a defective device.

  • J

    Does this apply to business accounts as well?

    • Blah

      Yes, it does.

  • Cory Wilson

    As a next customer, you already have to pay tax up front and more for the phone. I have the G4 and the unlocked model has an msrp of $600 and at&ts version is $630. Not sure why they need an extra $15

    • Cool

      The reason is: “Because more money.”

      That about covers any fee, except for government surcharges. It’s all about the greed.

  • AngryBadger

    What is up with the activation fees? I can do everything myself and/or use the automated system. what a lame fee. at least Verizon will give you a monthly discount when using their payment plan (well, not sure if that still happens since I am with TMO now).

    • flosserelli

      Activation fees are a pure money grab. Just another way to squeeze more green out of customers.

  • The BYOD and AT&T Next $15 charge is incorrect.

  • droidrazredge

    I’m awaiting for Verizon’s answer and response this. August will be an interesting month it seems!

  • Francisco Peña

    AT&T… the cellular version of RyanAir

  • Inspector Butters

    oh the ol days of “loyalty discount” where they paid you $50 to upgrade are long gone

    • Jay Ochs

      $50? remember $100?

  • fredgrip

    looking at all these its better to buy phone out right and just be it

  • FknTwizted

    waiting for the day the activation fee is the same price as a phone and you have to pay for the phone as well as have a 2 year contract. Because congress will pass a Obamaphone or the ACPA and before they read it they will have to pass it.

  • Nunyur_Biznezz

    Isn’t at&t phasing out 2 year contracts anyway? Kind of like saying there is a $1 mil per year fee to keep a unicorn on your property. Sure that is an excessive fee but……

  • Adil Tajgeer

    i guess i’m never telling ATT when i get a new phone. activation fee for byod my ass. there’s no way they can enforce that

    • NGagen

      This is for activating a new line. Existing customers can change devices with no fees because there is no new line being made.

      • Adil Tajgeer

        if that’s the case then it’s essentially the same charge tmo has for new lines (unless you find a discount code or get the csr to make a deal) that just say is for the sim card.

        it’s still dumb, but we should then call out everyone that does it.

  • Tony BW
    • sc0rch3d

      all so that ATT can report a “40%” profit margin (or whatever number) rather than suck it up and make 39%. gotta make wallstreet happy *rollz eyez*

  • Duffman

    Can someone please start a class action lawsuit for these ridiculous fees? Activation fee? What, to insert a sim card and turn the phone on? This is GSM, there is no “activation”. Next was supposed to get rid of the activation fee. They made a point about that when it was first launched. Oh yes, and the upgrade fee… what a joke! I get to pay you a fee for the privilege of signing a contract saying I’m going to pay you $X.XX every month for the next 2 years. What a joke of a world we live in!

    • samari711

      Nope, because the Supreme Court has blessed binding mandatory arbitration and all cellphone companies have those clauses in their contracts so you’re not allowed to sue, period.

      • Duffman

        But on Next, you don’t sign a contract, so basically the fee is pure profit and B.S.!

        • Rick J

          Sure you do… it’s a loan contract for the phone itself, not the service.

          • Duffman

            Exactly! So why the activation fee? That fee is for “service” and thus with Next, you have signed nothing in regards to service. And then I got back to my original statement, that on GSM, there is nothing to activate on an open line. You simply insert the sim and turn the phone on.

    • Disqo Stu

      What law was broken by charging a fee? It’s dumb, but not illegal.

  • Darren Pawlak

    and then coming soon: Verizon (never to be out done) responds by charging 50! and 20! and just to make sure we know they changed something they’ll do something else we don’t like, and one of their presidents or big wigs will come out and tell us that according to research we the customers are totally down with that and love it! (cause yeah, I mean who wants 2 year contracts or phone subsidies? I mean hello, $600 out of pocket is the tits yo) <_<
    I still hate AT&T and feel they are one of the most evil companies on the planet, but in the mobile space? verizon seems willing all too willing to throw their hat in as the Siamese twins of evil (*disclaimer, I know this wasn't about Verizon, but hey, historically this only means bad for everyone 🙁 )

  • Xavier_NYC

    F YOU AT&T.. Just like this ~~~~~~> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbagY6qsAHc

    • Duffman

      I couldn’t agree more! We need to stand up to these bogus fees!

  • Indianajonze

    activation fees rub me the wrong way. smacks of dishonesty. then again, so do checked bag fees…

  • Guest

    This makes me worried about phones possibly going sim-less, they’ll find a way to charge you for that,

  • Joshua W

    I’ll make it simple, AT&T. Add an unnecessary activation fee to NEXT & BYOD customers and I find a new carrier.

  • jimt

    Dumb and dumber both just increased fees today. This was done to counter T-Mobile lowering prices.

  • Picaso86
  • BobButtons

    Yet again making me glad I left the big guys behind. Let them duke it out (against the customer) while I enjoy my MVNO.

  • T_Dizzle

    Upgrade fee, why would you ever sign a contract then?

    • blanco112

      That’s probably why they did it. They want people moving to Next. This is a big incentive.

      • Visvism

        Until you realize they are now charging fees on Next too. AT&T is ridiculous. I guess they need to recoup the costs from the DirecTV and Mexican telecom purchases.

      • T_Dizzle

        Why, when they can lock you in and make you pay a huge etf if you leave early.

        • Yeah, like the other 4 carriers too.

          • Wyn6

            That’s incorrect. T-Mobile has no contracts, thus there is no ETF.

          • bkosh84

            Well, not exactly true.. If you finance a phone through T-Mobile and cancel you’re service you have to pay off the financed phone.. So TECHNICALLY.. There is an ETF, just not worded as such.

          • Wyn6

            And, that’s the operative word,”if”. If you bring your own phone to T-Mobile you can cancel your service without incurring any sort of fee save your bill.
            If you’re in a contract with at&t, it doesn’t matter where you received the phone from, you still have to pay an ETF.

          • bkosh does have it right. In some form or fashion, there is a sort of “ETF” you have to pay depending on how your plan is. My phone is fully paid for the moment I got it, I paid my mom’s phone off myself and my Nexus 4 as I had financed it just so I had something to use for a bit. So, it really doesn’t matter what carrier you have, there is still an ETF for something, whether or not you’re on contract or a month-to-month plan with financing. Without a financed phone, then of course, you have nothing to worry about it.

          • Wyn6

            Yes. bkosh is correct in that is how it works if you’ve purchased a phone from T-Mobile. The device must be paid in full if you cancel your service. This is no different than purchasing a from a retailer, or private party. You are usually required to pay for the entire device before taking possession of said device.

            But, that wasn’t the point I was making. What I was saying was, if you have your own phone that you’ve brought to T-Mobile, then there is nothing to pay T-Mobile if you cancel except the remainder of your bill.

            You’re obviously aware of this as you stated it in your last sentence. So, I’m not sure about your reply to me as you essentially state what I stated. Unless, there was some sort of misunderstanding somewhere.

          • Mike Hawk

            Wrong, if you bring your own phone to Verizon or AT&T you get a $20 discount on your Bill and are not locked into any kind of contract, thus no ETF. This is what’s so annoying about T-Mobile’s claims, they are no different than any other carrier and manage to confuse people such as yourself into thinking paying ETF is different than paying $450 in remaining phone payments.

          • Wyn6

            I think there may be a misunderstanding here. And, perhaps I was unclear in my comment. If you read what I said about AT&T, I specifically state, “IF you’re in a contract with AT&T…”. I never talked about the Next plan, or Verizon’s Edge, or whatever overly-complicated thing Sprint is doing now.

            As far as T-Mobile goes, what I was talking about, and let me say it again, was how things work if you bring your own phone to T-Mobile then cancel the service. In that case, there is no ETF, no remaining payments, nothing. You don’t owe anything except the outstanding balance of your bill.

            I apologize if I was unclear before and I hope this helps.

        • blanco112


          • T_Dizzle

            Under contract or would be $45 if you trade up /up grade.

        • Anthony

          Even Verizon’s CEO says they don’t expect people to pay the ETFs.. Would you pay your friend back the money he loaned you when you’re no longer friends? I wouldn’t. There’s less risk for the company, instead of paying 650 for the phone, selling it for 200, and hoping you keep your built-in subsidy line for the next 2 yrs. If you cancel service, they’re out $450 and the $350 ETF. If you cancel service now, they’re out whatever you owe on the phone.. maybe. But that’s taken care of with small print, they can legally pursue you for said phone, or at least what is owed on said phone.

          • Chris Batson

            Well most people don’t want to mess up their credit.

        • Mike Hawk

          You aren’t locked in to anything, the ETF is simply the remaining payments on your phone, just like T-Mobile.

          • T_Dizzle

            Read the OP.

  • schoat333

    Why does anyone use AT&T? Even Verizon is better on… all fronts.

    • Nic

      Where I live Verizon and AT&T have the same coverage, and T-Mobile doesn’t have anything. I just buy an unlocked GSM phone, swap the sim card and carry on.

    • OhYeah!

      How are they better?

      • itguy08

        Verizon has better marketing.

    • James Haren

      AT&T is better in some parts of the country than Verizon. Specifically in Texas. Look at Verizon’s coverage map, there’s a huge 200+mile radius gap in Verizon’s coverage.

      Also, AT&T has better LTE speeds, and while they both suck ass at nickeling and diming their customers, I can at least use unlocked GSM devices on AT&T. Can’t say the same for Verizon.

    • Wyn6

      AT&T costs a little less. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still quite ridiculously expensive. But, in comparison, Verizon is ludicrously expensive.

  • Ralph Bretz

    Guess I won’t be going back to AT&T anytime soon.

    • jimt

      Yeah, it does look like they don’t want you to come back. Their loss, your gain.

  • it’s me tim-cock.

    SuckT&T is at it again with their BS.

  • yankeesusa

    Now all we need is to have t-mobile come out and slam them and then say that they are no longer charging the $10 sim card fee on new phones.

  • guest

    Just buy unlocked phones like Nexus and pop in your sim, Fucx these greedy comapanies..

    • Marc

      You would still be subject to ATT’s new BYOD fee dude!

      • xBayx650

        AT&T does not charge a fee for byod on an existing line. If you need to activate a new number then the $15 fee would apply.

        • Marc

          Exactly. That’s what I said.

    • ck125

      Yet you’re still stuck with a $15 fee even for doing that

      • xBayx650

        Not if its an exiting AT&T number. They don’t charge for a sim change

        • Mech_Engr_09

          Don’t give them any ideas

      • Working Man

        Yeah but the Sim card is free. They cost $30 online I think.

  • blanco112

    I wish more people would punish companies like Verizon and AT&T for these types of fees and use other providers.

    • Suicide_Note

      Unlimited data this, best network that. Blah blah blah.

    • OhYeah!

      If we weren’t stuck in a monopoly we could do just that. I tried sprint for a bit but their coverage was so abysmal that I had to switch back to one of the two big guys.

      • blanco112

        I had Verizon forever and switched to Straight Talk. I’m only one month in but the service is slightly better and I’m paying $47 a month.

      • Working Man

        I don’t think you know what monopoly means…

  • Teejay Card

    They’re trying to recover the money lost from their Roll Over Data plan.

    • Jürgen Erhard

      You mean they now have a “Roll Over And Take It, Stupid Customer” plan?

      • Teejay Card

        hahahaha that’s hilarious.

  • Dale

    How do they control the BYOD activation fee if you already have a SIM card?

    • glimmerman76

      new line for byod.

    • fredgrip

      they wont charge if you already have the sim. this is for new line

  • So they charge you a fee to bring your own phone? AT&T just loved to nickel and dime their customers.

    • Marc

      Yeah. That’s a great way to discourage people to buy a phone outright and bring it to ATT.

      • jimt

        For most people that don’t know, like it’s their first phone, they won’t know they are being had.

        • Marc

          That’s right and makes it even worse.

    • BobButtons

      Same went for the bogus requirement of a data plan. When Verizon/AT&T first started mandating data plans on smartphones they said it was needed to help cover the cost of the devices…. doesn’t explain why they still require it when you bring your own. There are quite a few people who would be content with a smartphone with just call/text that relied on WiFi for data. That’s why MVNOs do so well with those plans.

  • ThunderJayHawk35

    You get a charge…and you get a charge… EVERYBODY GETS A CHARGE!!!

  • Brian Menius

    AT&Fee, doing AT&Fee things…

    BYOD? Screw you, AT&T.

    • BobButtons

      Are they related to feeBay?!

  • Rashad

    Pretty soon Verizon will follow with both of these increases. Trying to get more and more money from the customer. This is really out of hand.

    • Cael

      Yep, Verizon won’t respond to T-Mobile’s price cuts but they do respond to AT&T’s hikes in price.

      • Picaso86

        This is expected from the 2 evil brothers.

        • velocipedes

          And this is why I will never go back to them, or cell service contracts.

        • terry.hankinson


    • T_Dizzle

      Verizon needs to pay those shareholder dividends man. You have to have continuous quarter over quarter earnings. Screw the customer, they’re not going anywhere. :/

      • Marc

        So true! As sad as it is…

      • blanco112

        I finally left Verizon after 16 years for Straight Talk because I’m tired of this nonsense. Paying $47 for 5GB now and the service is actually better, at least where I live.

        • T_Dizzle

          I leave on April 1st next year. Hey Verizon! Here’s my money, April fools!

        • RiceCake

          Yup I have been using them since December. I average 25-30mbps on speed tests and I get better service everywhere than I did with Verizon.

          And now there is Total Wireless which is another Tracfone spin off. 2.5gb for $35 a month.

          • JLV90

            Total Wireless doesn’t allow LTE yet so the plan is kind of bad still. You can get Straight Talk Verizon SIM cards but speeds are throttled to 5 Mbps down 2 Mbps up for the first 5 GB then throttled further to 64 Kbps

    • Orlando Sablon III

      Out of hand, these customers are not our friends.. They run a business and here to make money.. The amazing part is that you can pay it or leave them…I’m just sick of hearing that all these companies are ripping us off, they r here to make as much profit as possible..

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Give me a break. AT&T goes far beyond just trying to make a profit. AT&T is pure cancer. They abused their monopoly status back when they were Ma Bell, and they abuse their power now by taking tax loopholes, Universal Service Fund money, and sticking customers with criminally low data caps for no other reason than because they can. They’re the bottom of humanity. Even Verizon is better behaved.

        • Disqo Stu

          Lol, the bottom of humanity? Have you read any news lately (ISIS, shootings)??

          All AT&T can do is ask for your money in return for service. They can’t throw you in jail, send you to war, or take your money without your consent. You are free to choose other carriers, as many do.

    • Nunyur_Biznezz

      Simple don’t opt for a 2 year contract.

      • snotgoblin

        This has nothing to do with just a contract. Did you even read the article?

        • ThunderJayHawk35

          Lol was gonna say the same thing

  • James

    Sounds about right…

    “Switch to our new plans, they will save you money!” A few months later, “Oh yeah, we forgot to mention some additional fees.”