Nickels and Dimes: AT&T to Charge Wireless Customers $0.61 Administrative Fee
AT&T could stand to gain more than half a billion dollars by imposing this new "below-the-line" fee, so called because these types of charges usually appear at the bottom of the bill where they may not be noticed by customers.
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According to AT&T, which gave customers 30 days notice of the new charge, the fee will cover "certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell-site rents and maintenance." That's on top of a "regulatory cost recovery charge" that's in the neighborhood of 50 cents per line.
AT&T isn't alone here. Verizon charges an administration fee of 90 cents per line along with a regulatory charge of 16 cents. Sprint Nextel charges $1.50 and 40 cents, respectively, and T-Mobile charges a regulatory fee of $1.61 per line (it doesn't tack on an administrative fee).
While small, these fees add up to big bucks. Spread across 70.7 million on-contract wireless subscribers, AT&T would collect an additional $518 million in 2014 from the new fee, and that's without adding a single new customer.