AT&T to double upgrade fee

Effective February 12, 2012 AT&T will be increasing its upgrade fee from $18 to $36. The reason? According to the memo outlining the increase the 100% bump is because of the overall costs associated with upgrading to a new device has increased.  This latest increase comes on the heels of AT&T modifying their data plans.

Talking points suggest the upgrade fee is for costs associated with selecting and activating your new equipment. But what if you buy online and activate the phone yourself? Kinda doubt AT&T will have a discounted fee for such occassions.  To ease the pain of the sticker shock, AT&T does note that there is no change to your equipment exchange option. Isn't that nice.  

source: AndroidCentral (opens in new tab)

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Puke. They suck. Upgrade fee is a rip off. Most times you can get it waived. Don't pay upgrade fees!
  • God you Americans are such whiney people. People outside the states don't even get good deals like this, some even have no choice but to buy outright. Be glad your deals are still decent.
  • God, you non-Americans are so full of shit. What "good deals" are you talking about? I had to import my Nokia phone from the UK at full price. I'm overpaying for my text/data plans AND about $15 worth of random taxes/fees.
    And what exactly do you think you're doing if not whining? It's not all about YOU YOU YOU. If YOU don't like to hear more whinings, just stop reading the damn comments.
  • At&t always look forward to rip off people in some way but if they keep doing people r really get upset with their terms & conditions. As long as at&t didn't get T-Mob, its always be fine that customers r still getting deals cuz of competition between these two companies otherwise it becomes monopoly as at&t is really looking forward to get into.
  • I'm American and agree with the whiny statement. You didn't have to import anything, you chose not to wait until March.
  • Wimp. I'm not whining. I'm not taking the 100% increase of a bogus fee. It's called being a smart consumer and not a freaking wuss that bends over to allow the telco to have their way with me. What other people around the world are offered is irrelevant.
  • That's one of the most ignorant comments I've read.
    Go read up a bit on how much we are gouged by telecoms compared to other countries. It's remarkable.
    This! Euro boy needs to f--king educate himself. What a f--king ridiculous statement. I thought it was a clear consensus that the US has it the worst as far as dealing with telecom companies and their money gouging. 
  • American cell providers rip off customers more than any country. "upgrades" are a way of limiting the options you have to the devices they receive from manufacturers ( really they're just forcing you to buy from them). Even though the cost of the phones are reduced, our contracts cost MUCH more unfortunately. Net total adds up to more than any other country's net total. I would rather buy whichever phone I wanted at full price and pay less monthly fees; I'd save more... When you hear a lot of people complaining, it's usually because something is wrong, not because they're whiners...
  • Okay,so why aren't we blaming manufacturers for not selling us unlocked devices at a reasonable price directly from their websites that can be activated on any cell company network on a bundle plan. They're all in it together, get use to it because it's not going to change. Unlimited plans will be going away on all carriers soon. Other cell carriers will raise their rates shortly.
  • Lame. We need more competition in the States. I've never followed this specific info for Canada or European carriers: are they similar or different to AT&T?
  • I'm moving to ATT soon. March 18 is the rumor.
  • N900
  • I'm glad AT&T didn't get T-Mobile. They have such anti-consumerist behavior we can't afford for them to become a Monopoly.
  • Yeah, that's why they're the only company putting true faith in wp7. Did u ever think about how much ATT has lost by consumers cancelling landlines for cell lines? This rate increase will not makeup for all those loses. I know i will still be saving without a landline.
  • Let me upgrade early for a nice, new Nokia wp7 phone and I'll pay the upgrade fee with no argument. I just got my first, and last, iPhone when the 4S came out and I can't upgrade for a long time.
  • IPhone sucks huh
  • I won't say it sucks, just disappointing. I had the Arrive on Sprint, they pissed me off and I left for AT&T. Figured I'd try the iPhone since I'd never had one. It's a good device, but I miss how things are so well integrated on wp7. Think I'll sell this thing soon and get back into wp7 with a Nokia 900, just can't afford to buy for full retail yet.
  • With the resale value of the 4S, you will get pretty close lol
  • IPhone is so over rated dont you think so?? I dont blame android users for bashing the IOS..I never own an iPhone but played with it enough and set it up for my friends and co workers, I must say it is really boring.. Wp7 is just alive.. And I can't believe you can't still put a custom ringtone in it?? I will choose my lumia 710 over a wp7 for life..
  • There are pros and cons to everything. Everything else is going up; has anyone paid attention to gas prices? The raise them daily. Has anyone compared the insurance you pay for the iPhone as opposed to other devices(5-10 for others; 16-24 for the iPhone). The cost of groceries have skyrocketed. I'm not rich by any means and don't agree with the increases, but I understand business and this is the cost of doing it. Stop whining.
  • You know what else is going up? Their profits. You are a fool. Just because you bend over and accept what they're giving you don't call me a whiner because I don't.
  • Without wasting too much time on this; One possible reason for all mobile operators to be making incredible profits is because the mobile device market is in a huge boom right now. After nearly every American has a smartphone (probably sooner than we think) the profits will not be as much.
  • Cool it, man. No need to be so abrasive.
  • TMI, I don't care to hear about what you're bending over and taking. This isn't the forum to advertise you're sexuall preference!
  • What are you, 12? Christ...
  • Not that bad news.
  • the more reason to buy unlocked
  • Sigh, stop giving us unnecessary "updates" AT&T. WHERE IS THE FAMILYTALK SHARED DATA PLANS? We have 4 lines on our account, 3 have 200MB while one has 2GB. The 2GB line never uses more than 600MB/month while the 200MB lines have to be careful to not go over.
  • Not calling fellow Americans whiners, but you're still very lucky, in most European countries (Euro countries) we don't have deals like your "contracts", we have to outright buy them phones, especially if one wants new ones, like Lumias.
  • Well, that means you're free to switch to a cheaper plan if you see one. We on the other hand have to pay $350 to break contract. Yippee. There are two sides to every story.
  • The "contract" is for service with the mobile operator. It does not tie you into a plan.
    Some specific devices require a specific plan.
  • Contracts are not a deal.  You pay far, far more over time.
  • Like I said in another post, the cost of our contracts far outweighs any deals we get. It's highway robbery... That and we're limited to the phones they offer. I'd rather buy any compatible phone and use it for less....
  • This stinks but how often do we upgrade? Every year or so? This seems like a minor pain when you consider you might be grabbing the phone at a cheap price. Still hate seeing increases though.
  • And to think I was going to change over to ATT because of the WP selections (Titan, 900 etc ) think I'll just wait for Tmo to increase their selections.
  • You know what? I don't care if non Americans think we are whiners. You all don't get the same deals we do?? Tough shit..that's *your* problem.
    The fact is upgrade fees are just another ripoff. We are already going to contribute to their already obscene profits by signing up for another two years of overpriced data plans, why gouge us again? AT&T is hitting their customers in the pockets because they are pissy over the failed Tmobile bid. First the increase the price of the data plans with a meager increase in usable data, then they start capping unlimited data plans at 2 gigs even though they offer 3 gig plans, and now this insult.
  • I'm American, and think it's reasonable for AT&T to recoup costs.  People want new, fancy, state-of-the-art smartphones with super-low pricing and cheap, plentiful service plans.  You get what you pay for.  I'd rather have LTE and the newest phones first, than a cheaper plan with mid-tier phones and lesser infrastructure.
    AT&T has put a lot of money into upgrading their infrastructure, and that's not free.  As for "obscene profits," take a look at AT&T's results last quarter.  'Nuff said.
  • ATT pit more money into losing the acquisition of tmo than they spent on improving their service, and they want us to pay for their stupidity.
  • Was it consumers who cried wolf to ensure ATT didn't purchase T-Mobil? Therefore inheriting a 6B penalty? The government played its part too. Look at it for what it is; cell companies fine you for breaking a contract and who approved regulations to allow it?
  • You still get a pretty good deal on contract.  And Best Buy will typically waive both the upgrade fee and will give you the "post-refund" price.
  • AT&Ts business model:
    1) Gouge customers
    2) Use the money to bribe cell phone makers for exclusive rights to desirable phones
    3) Gouge more customers
    God, if only Nokia would take the 900 to T-Mo we'd have a hope of breaking the cycle, but they won't since they are greedy for AT&Ts money. 
  • Well, there's also the little problem of T-Mobile lacking a 4G LTE network to use the 900 with.
  • Why are we hearing this now? I didn't hear this when the iPhone came out, many of you ran out and bought it.
  • I've heard that Nokia will sell the lumia 900 to other companies 45 days after AT&T has it available. I think that's what thier contract states. So after 45 days tmobile could snag it next... If they want.. If you think about it. Europe and Japan have it good. Especially Japan, you could go 100mph+ on a high speed rail and never loose your signal, but here being on the other end of the couch you don't get squat. As time has passed, price for data has dramatically dropped in price for companies. If we tried to have the gov step in to stop unlawful practices like unnecessary throttling or speed up infrastructure upgrades we'd be better off. Japan IMO is a couple years ahead of us.. NFC has been used over there for a few years. And just a year ago were trying it out.. 
  • I didn't even know there was an upgrade fee. Seems like just another way to take people's money.
  • Suddenly my purchase of an unlocked samsung focus for 230$ from amazon and my  10$ 512mb data plan (no contract) doesn't suck that much. (Carrier: Claro, Country: Paraguay)
  • I guess I'm just having a hard time getting mad about this after all the additional fees Sprint has been adding that I get billed for monthly.
  • We already pay 35 in Canada .. Hustle n they waive it.. Loyalty /cancel department ;)
  • Well this is sad.
  • Have any of you winers checked out Verizon's prices? I am by no means happy to see my upgrade fee increase on AT&T, but I'm thrilled to have better phones, prices, customer service, and faster data speeds than my friends using Verizon.
  • Bend over...They want to give it to you again
  • This is upgrading to a different device, not the os on your phone... Holy crap...
  • Time for Verizon
  • I am Canadian. We look for deals but they are few and far between. Americans have nice deals but are quite whiny about price. I know because I work for Sony USA.
  • What they name the fee doesn't matter. I don't even bother to think how they actually spend the upgrade fee on upgrading, because they don't. The whole purpose of the fee (and any fee you name it) is to be put in their huge checking account and make them rich. When a bill (can be anything from buying spectrum to refilling their coffee machine in the office) comes, they write a check from that account. That's the whole story. They don't have a dedicated checking account solely for device upgrading.
    How AT&T charges their customers isn't really related to the cost; it's decided by the market. If the people who are willing to pay the extra fee outweight the people who aren't, I don't see why AT&T should give away that money.
  • Cry about it all you want, they're charging it because you'll pay it. Period.
  • That is absolutely right. People should vote with their wallets. I will definitely look at other carriers when my contract is up.
  • Dont like it? Buy an unlocked phone (I plan on getting a Euro spec Lumia 9xx when available) and switch to SIMple mobile.  Google it. We don't need to be indentured to AT&T.  No whining or complaining needed, just take your business elsewhere.  It's that simple.
  • What bothers me is that the U.S. carriers do this (charging premiums for complete service even) yet they continue to drag their feet on infrastructure upgrades.  4G, as it stands now, is a joke.  Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, nor Sprint have anything close to what is considered full fledged 4G service.  HSPA+, really, what a joke!  There are emerging markets that have better mobile service and are charged a fraction of the cost yet the U.S. carriers charge one of the highest per month premiums for service that is "bearable" in "most areas".  Hey California, how's your AT&T service??  The saddest part about this announcement is that we're basically bending over and taking it because we don't have a choice.  The carriers know this and use it to their advantage.  Looks like future purchases for me will be through eBay as I'd rather pay full price than be locked in for 2 years of price increases.
  • If any of you knew what the average Canadian pays for any cellular service you wouldn't complain about your fees. Our average upgrade fee is about $45 plus what the store would charge. Our dollar is almost par with America. Not to mention our long distance charges...
  • Well, I was thinking of moving on from AT&T anyways when my contract is up later this year. That's a definite now. And it makes no difference to me who is paying what where. Just as I'm fed up with the fee increases, those in other countries have just as much right and opportunity to speak with their pockets as well.
  • This is why im so happy ATT AND TMO didn't happen...
    Believe it or not, smartphones here in the USA are the cheapest all over the world.. In poor countries this phones are hard to come by and expensive.ok wait, is activation fee different from upgrade fee?? Or that's additional??
  • Activation is for a new contract, upgrading is signing a new contract to extend the current term
  • Yeah. . . . I'm gonna stay with tmo
  • This must suck for the 4 people who have ever actually paid the upgrade fee... I don't think I've ever been more than 30 seconds into a conversation with a salesman at AT&T without the words "and we can waive the upgrade fee" coming out of their mouth.