AT&T to Double Upgrade Fee to $36, Says It's Covering Costs

If you're looking to upgrade to a new handset with AT&T and re-up your contract, you'll save a few bucks by making a decision today rather than waiting until tomorrow. Effective Sunday, February 12, AT&T is reportedly going to double its upgrade from $18 to $36, a move the company says is necessary to cover overall costs associated with selecting and activating new equipment.

"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," an AT&T spokesperson said in an email to Boy Genius Report. "This fee isn't unique to AT&T and this is the first time we're changing it in nearly 10 years."

AT&T is correct in saying upgrade fees aren't unique to Ma Bell, though not all wireless carriers charge one. Here's how it breaks down:
  • AT&T: $36 to upgrade
  • Sprint: $36 to upgrade
  • T-Mobile: $18 to upgrade
  • Verizon: No fee to upgrade

Verizon Wireless caught quiet a bit of flak when it proposed a $2 convenience fee for online credit card and over-the-phone payments and ultimately decided against it, so it will be interesting to see what kind of reaction AT&T receives over this, and whether or not it makes any difference.