AT&T & Verizon Raising Administrative Fees? Why & How Much?

About two weeks after AT&T said it’s raising prices on some wireless plans, Verizon confirmed that it’s making fee “adjustments” on consumer and business plans starting in June.

“To be clear, this is not a price plan increase for consumer lines,” a Verizon spokesperson told Fierce in a statement. “From time to time, we review and make adjustments to fees to defray some of Verizon's administrative and telco expenses and costs of complying with regulatory requirements. To that end, Verizon Consumer will implement a change beginning in June.”

Wireless postpaid consumer customers will see an administrative charge increase of $1.35 per voice line to $3.30, effective with their June 2022 billing cycle. The administrative charge for data lines will remain unchanged.

The increase pertains to any device that can make a call, including tablets, smartwatches and laptops, but not hotspots, according to the Verizon spokesperson.  

Separately, Verizon Business will be taking some actions in response to “economic conditions.”

Bloomberg reported that Verizon started notifying customers Monday and has been contacting some of its larger corporate clients in recent days to tell them of the changes that are on the way.

Verizon Business lines that meet certain conditions will see a new “Economic Adjustment Charge” beginning June 16. The amount of the charge is $2.20 per month/line for each smartphone and data device, and 98 cents per month/line for each basic phone and tablet device, according to the company.

“Many businesses in the global market and in our industry have taken similar actions in adjusting their prices in response to economic conditions,” the Verizon statement said. “We work every day to maintain competitive prices for our business customers — often by absorbing increases that we incur. The current economic conditions impacting businesses worldwide continue to mount and despite our best efforts to mitigate the further impact, we intend to offset a portion of these costs by implementing an Economic Adjustment Charge.”

AT&T raises the prices of some mobile plans by $6 per month

During Verizon’s last earnings call, CEO Hans Vestberg was asked about inflation and the potential of higher prices in the industry. “We are planning for all scenarios,” and that includes looking at what they can do with pricing, he said, without going into specifics.

Of course, never one to miss a marketing opportunity, T-Mobile sent a pitch to the media on Monday pointing out a deal it calls Price Lock. But a lot of folks are wondering if T-Mobile is even allowed to raise prices given promises it made to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) as part of the Sprint acquisition.  

Fierce Telecom Editor in Chief Linda Hardesty asked T-Mobile that very question, and their answer is posted on LinkedIn: “We were all about locking in prices even before the DOJ. Way back in 2015 we announced an Un-carrier move called the Un-contract. We came out with Price Lock to reaffirm our commitment to our customers in such a crazy period of inflation and to make sure it’s clear that the commitment continues in the 5G era."

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