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AT&T to Raise Upgrade and Activation Fee to $25 on January 20

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A reliable source has informed us that AT&T intends to raise its upgrade and activation fee from $20, to $25 on January 20. This move follows news that Verizon is doing the same, but its fee costs customers $30. 

This fee is paid whenever a new device is purchased and activated, meaning as long as you already have service and don’t intend on getting a new phone anytime soon, you won’t be seeing any changes to your bill until the time comes for you to get a new phone.

Currently, the 2-year activation fee for tablets and wearables will remain at $45.

We have reached out to AT&T for confirmation and more details. We will update this post once we have heard back.

UPDATE: AT&T confirmed the change to us, adding that they are are “making a minor adjustment to [their] activation and upgrade fees.”

  • sithishs

    They’re also bumping up unlimited data plans by another $5…or $10 I can’t remember… This is why I’ll be stopping by a T-Mobile store after work today to ask about their plans. AT&T must realize that aside from my grandfathered unlimited data plan, there’s absolutely no reason to stay with them…

  • Jeremy Hopkins

    The last time I bought a phone through a carrier (and possibly paid an activation fee, don’t remember) was with the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Every phone after was paid for directly through the manufacturer. Swap the sim, and move on. I’ve also moved to greener pastures away from Verizon.

    • Naibas

      I could be wrong on this, but believe verizon is changing or changed their policy now that even if you buy 3rd party, they still charge you the activation fee.

  • Pitahson

    I have cricket and although good enough for what I need, I’ve contemplated to go postpaid and then come to my senses with things like this… I’ll be sticking to that prepaid life for the foreseeable future 🔮

  • patrick

    unless you really need to do the monthly payment plan, it’s a much better idea to to buy a unlocked phone(new or used) and just activate on their network. I see deals all the time on sites like slickdeals for unlocked phones(most of the time GSM’s)

  • The Doctor

    Randall Stephenson must need a new yacht.

  • gcforreal

    This is the one fee that ticks me off most . It’s a slap in the face. Remember the new every 2 discounts where we used to actually be rewarded for being a loyal customer? Now it’s like OK loyal customer you get to pay an invisible completely useless fee to continue service with us! I think the cell phone subscription model needs a revamp way more than phones do. Google didn’t do what I thought they would with fi (way too expensive for data heavy users ) and t mobile is trying but their coverage for many just isn’t there yet .

    • Francisco Peña

      sorry, the access fee pisses me off the most. You pay a monthly or even outright amount for the phone. Then you pay for the data and service. Then you get slapped with a fee to ACCESS that data that you are paying for. How in the world is that considered right?

      • gcforreal

        You’re absolutely right . It’s like we get double or even triple charged for the same things.I wish it was more strict regulations on cell phone providers especially Verizon and att.

        • I consider $20/mo for unlimited talk and text pretty fair for a line of service.

        • michael arazan

          Did you see who Trump nominated for the FCC, if it goes through it’s about to get completely deregulated, like Net Neutrality out the window, and Corporations and Telecomms do what ever you want crazy.

      • I disagree. You’re forgetting that the line access fee of ~$20 provides you with unlimited talk and text on those lines. Also, the cost for 1 person to use 10GB shouldn’t be the same as 5 people using that 10GB pool, since those extra 4 phones are consuming more voice and sms, consume a phone number, add to the support costs of now having to handle 5 people’s issues instead of just 1, etc.

        • asten77

          They clearly shouldn’t be exactly the same, but the cost of voice and SMS in a modern network is practically nil.

          I’d happily pay less to go to a pay-when-i-need-support model. I haven’t requested support from my carrier… well, ever.

          • @asten77:disqus Sometimes when you request it you don’t actually get it anyways!

        • It’s not, one person with 10GB is $100, 5 people with 10GB is $180. It’s a different cost.

          People should be buying close to the amount of data they need: 1 person isn’t going to buy 10GB unless they’re generally using more than the next step down. The same for 5 people, they’re buying 10GB because that’s what they need.

          Everyone is stuck paying $20 for unlimited calling and texting even if they don’t text or call.

          If it’s a 1GB plan or a 100GB plan it doesn’t matter they’re still getting the $20 per month for each line. That’s enough to cover support, besides, you’re probably not going to give the authorization to all those people to go to support. They’re going to have to go through you.

    • michael arazan

      Putting is a sim correctly on the first try is very hard, that’s why it cost $25.

      Seriously could you imagine any other company doing this? Buying a car, sorry sir to buy our car you have to pay us $200. Oh you want a Sandwhich, that’ll be an extra $2 for us to serve you.


  • Havoktek

    Cot Daayumm…..what kind of tomfoolery is this??!!!

  • DanSan

    just keep up with the nickel-and-dime game. you will eventually piss everyone off

  • Trevor

    I think these fees piss me off more than anything else the carriers do. I’ll stick to Fi and unlocked phones for now (all four that I have to choose from).

    • sc0rch3d

      Wish I could go to Fi but the value of AT&T’s family plan (+ great coverage in my area) works for me. On AT&T, it’s better to buy your phone elsewhere and put it on their network…1) no activation fee & 2) discount for having a paid off phone. As long as the phone I buy has a nano-sim, I never interact with them.

      • Trevor

        I’ve bounced between Verizon and AT&T in the past and did everything I could to avoid going to one of their stores. I hate patronizing those places!

    • To be fair, if you buy unlocked phones you won’t have to pay that $25 upgrade fee on AT&T.

      • Trevor

        Yeah, that’s true. If things ever go south with Fi, I’ll most likely switch over to a prepaid AT&T plan.

  • JP
  • patfaiola

    Let them raise the upgrade fee all they want. I think that fee only applies to a phone they sell you. I am done with $700 phones that the only difference is a good camera. My s5 is nice but I recently bought a Moto g4 which is just as good if not better, the only thing not as good is the camera. Who needs a $500 camera in a $150 phone. s7 you cannot replace the battery, I just had to replace the battery in my s5 after 2 years. Samsung and Att; forghettabout it. I will just put the chip in my moto and avoid the upgrade fee. i may just jump ship and go over to google fi or maybe even a prepaid plan. On the road with my $160 Moto g4 in the Philippines, I get 28 gigs of download a month on a no contract pre paid that cost me $18 per month. They’re really screwing us back home. The camera is not the best but my sound and so much better than my Samsung. Bought the phone unlocked in Costco and will work on GSM or CDMA anywheres in the world.The $500 cost difference will buy me one helluva pocket camera. The moto takes good shots just not as good as the Samsung. I do not really need a camera in my phone of that quality.

    • You can still buy a $700 phone if you want, just not from AT&T if you want to save yourself the $25.

    • Nope verzion charged me 30 for buying a new iPhone 7 plus from apple unlocked and all full retail and I didn’t get a new sim or anything took me 3 hours to get my 30 dollars back and they said its a one time curtesy.

      • patfaiola

        Not with Att as of yet. I am going over to Google Fi or prepaid att.

  • B!

    I haven’t worked for AT&T in almost 3 years. They haven’t changed.

  • T4rd

    Wow, only a week or two after Verizon raises their upgrade/activation fee.

    Their not a duopoly at all. /s

    • Pedro



      • T4rd



        • Pedro

          Oh yeah. That’ll fool the world into thinking that it wasn’t edited.

          Grammar is so hard.

          • T4rd

            Oh yeah. That’ll fool the world into thinking that you’re not illiterate.

            Reading is so hard.

  • usrnamemike
  • Murphy’s Magnet

    “Let’s make the fee $5 less so we can claim to be better than Verizon.”

    – At&t Corporate

    • Marlajstephenson

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