AT&T needs more of your money, so the wireless carrier is bumping up the activation fee it charges customers who sign a two-year contract. The fee, which formerly sat at $36, has risen $4 to reach a round $40 as of June 8th. The minor price hike applies to upgrades as well.


The change comes as a result of consumers increasingly choosing to pass on traditional contracts in favor of the AT&T Next upgrade program. That's right, in response to customers increasingly viewing contracts as less than desirable, the company is choosing to make them look even less so. Part of this is because, well, the carrier wants you to sign up for Next.

$40 puts AT&T's fee above that of Sprint ($36) and Verizon ($35). Meanwhile, T-Mobile has done away with such shenanigans for people who sign up for its new Simple Choice plans. And with the increasing number of MVNO and prepaid options there are out there, $40 can pay for a good chunk of a monthly bill.

But at the end of the day, if you're signing a two-year contract, what's an extra $4? AT&T is already milking you for far more than that anyway.

Sources: AT&T support pageFierce Wireless

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Jason

    So once again, ATT can change the terms of the contract, while the consumer gets fucked. ATT changes the terms, then denies the consumer the right to void the contract. Violation of contract laws. This is NOT the contract I agreed to.. November can't come soon enough. Bye Bye ATT.. No more 2 year contracts.

    • ThomasMoneyhon

      Stop whining. This would be not the terms of your current contract, because you paid the old price with your last phone. You sign the terms and accept the $40 if you do an upgrade and re sign a 2 year agreement. If you don't accept it there is next, there is plenty of GSM phones without contracts sold at full price, and there is the option to leave as you put it. They are not screwing you because you have not yet accepted another 2 year contract.

      Get it?

      • Greg Hockenjos

        Some one has been sippin the ATT juice. They do NOT charge this fee with Next, there is ZERO reason it should be charged in the first place. We already pay out of control bills, ATT makes record profits each quarter. Unless they tell us why it went up, (we know they wont) its BS.

        • David Thoren

          Yeah.. he said next is an option if you want to avoid the fee. Also, he's completely correct, this is not a change to the contract since the fee is the one that was paid before the contract began, not one that affects the contract in effect.

      • Jason

        FU You stop your whining. ATT always changes the terms, new and old customers alike., They add fees, change terms, we have no recourse. Except to pay a termination fee which is BS anyways. ATT makes over $2000 every 12 months from each user from taxes, fees and the crappy service they provide. It costs them a fraction of that to provide the service. They are to busy buying DirecTV which is going to be canceled as well. ATT is NOT consumer friendly. I don't what carrier you have, but non of the US Carriers are any good. They rape the customers. But yeah, Ill stop my whing. You are a pusscake

        • mgamerz

          Ahh, good old name calling when you run of good arguments. Never fails to convince people.

        • BoB1673

          You are a true retard... This has nothing to do with your current contract only for upgrades and new lines. This will not effect you till you sign a new contract now get back in your cave you silly troll

          • Jephri

            I thought calling people retards died in 1998. Please use a different insult. A few less offensive suggestions. Cod-wolloper, Beetle dung eater, justin beiber fan or how about, "poor reader of details in online articles" that one always works.

        • David Thoren

          So... few things... *IF* this was a change of contract terms, then you would have had a reason to bitch about this increase. Since this is a fee that is only charged at the start of a contract, that doesn't apply here. I'm not saying ATT doesn't change terms, just that they haven't in this case. And if they had and it made a material difference in the contract, then you are able to break the contract.
          You said ATT makes over $2000 from each user from *taxes*, fees and crappy service. This would require that EACH USER be billed at LEAST $166/mo. I am sure there are a few people paying that, but I doubt it's "each user" as you said.
          As for avoiding being overcharged in USA, your best bet is an MVNO. Buy a device and go contract free.

    • BoB1673

      Read before posting

  • randompsychology


    • Guest

      They waive the upgrade fee for customers all the time. I have had mine waived.

      • randompsychology

        How? And why would they do that? What argument do you use?

        • kekuta

          I told them, that I shouldn't be paying them a fee, to stay on their network. I could go somewhere else. The service rep read me the script, but i insisted on talking to her supervisor, who waived it.

  • Matthew DiGiacomo

    What the hell is the fee even for? It's total garbage, all you need to do is complain and they waive it anyway so what's the point?

    • BoB1673

      Nope reps are not allowed to wave the fees any longer if they do it could lead to loosing there job. Sadly

    • Simon Belmont

      I used to be able to pull this off with Sprint a couple years ago (switched to T-Mobile a year ago, and love it). But, not anymore, as they clamped down on that practice and won't let CSRs waive the fees.

      In fact, the last phone I was able to do this with was my EVO 3D in summer of 2011. Haha, oh, the memories.

  • AOSPrevails

    As if I need more reasons to stay off contract. Living happily on the $40/month Gophone plan(500mb/unlimited txt/500min) and it already(almost) paid off my $285 ETF from AT&T last November(save $35/month against my old $70+Tax & Fees 300 mb unlimited talk&text plan) for a contract was going to last until May 2015.

  • Jephri

    Way to continue to improve your customer experience. People really prefer round numbers that are multiples of 10. Maybe it would have been better to get rid of them all together though...

    • kekuta

      They waive the upgrade fee for customers all the time. I have had mine waived. I am not defending the fees. That's why I asked them to waive it.

    • Jjaassoonn Kkeennjjii

      It's just math. Here $650 iPhone 5 off contract.
      Or 199 on contract plus $40 plus 385 etf if you cancel after one month and att only looses 26 bucks retail which is incidently the markup on an individual iphone. Ask any apple partner what there employee discount saves them. Why so much whining? Go no contract and no worries.

  • Chris

    You want to agree to pay us a monthly fee for the next two years? Thanks! Now pay us $40 for that privilege.

    I can't believe people still sign up for this crap...

  • missinginput

    So I sign a 2 year contract you will give me $200 of the phone but then you want $40 of it back?
    Why not just lower subsidies by $40 and "end" these "fees"

  • dkbnyc

    Activation Fee. Activation... FEE. A fee to activate a phone on a network that's charging me out the backside every month. A fee to charge me a fee... A $40 fee to activate a phone on your network so I can be charged a fee every month. To get my business, you charge me a fee. How stupid is the public? Shouldn't you be giving ME a Fee to get MY business?

  • Simon Belmont

    Another reason I'm happy to be on T-Mobile. No stupid fees like this.

    I bring my own phone and I pop in my SIM card and, boom, it works. I can switch it to any of my other phones on a whim, too.

  • Michael McKee

    Let's not forget there is a lot of work involved for at&t personal to eject a sim card from old phone and put in the new way! This so called activation fee has always baffled me on GSM networks swap Sims and done! Fee should absolutely be illegal!

  • DavidFR

    Now ATT adopted to promote NEXT in this way...........................telecomvibe[dot]com

  • Peter

    With all the money that AT&T is charging customers, maybe they should hire more capable Customer Service Agents. Every time I have an issue I dread calling their call center. Today, it took almost 30 mins to reactivate a line from a military suspension. She had to "research" how to do it. Are these people even trained properly? At the end, she reactivated my line but after going on my account online, it was never merged into my family plan. Bunch of idiots!