In a move that is likely to upset every single AT&T customer to some degree, the nation's number two carrier has decided that its current upgrade fee (a cost tacked on whenever a current customer renews their contract and gets a new phone) isn't covering the rising cost of subsidized smartphones. The current upgrade fee is $18, and will soon be doubled to $36, matching the current fee at Sprint.


At T-Mobile, the current cost is $18. At Verizon, there isn't one. Certainly puts things into perspective. Of course, the one thing to remember about fees is that a little sweet talking to a customer representative can often help you avoid them in the first place. No carrier likes losing a customer. AT&T had this to say:

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... This fee isn’t unique to AT&T and this is the first time we’re changing it in nearly 10 years.

The new pricing will take effect on February 12, and will apparently apply to all existing customers, not just new ones.