AT&T Hits Customers with a New Administrative Fee

AT&T Wireless added a new US$0.61 a month administrative fee in May its customers will pay as part of their regular bill. The fee may be new to AT&T, but it's already standard practice at Verizon and Sprint.

AT&T bumps up cell phone bills $0.61 a month through administrative feeAT&T bumps up cell phone bills $0.61 a month through administrative fee

According to the cell service provider, the fee will cover company expenses like cell site rentals and maintenance, and interconnection costs. The new fee will add a little over $7 to subscriber's annual phone costs.

While AT&T is calling it an administrative fee, some subscribers are seeing it as a sneaky way for the company to increase profits without directly upping the price of service contracts -- and since it's a fee instead of a rate increase, AT&T can start charging all customers now instead of waiting until their contracts are up for renewal.

AT&T notified customers before the fee went into place, but apparently many didn't pay attention. For those that have noticed and want to jump to a different carrier to avoid the extra $0.61 a month, they can expect to pay at least as much at Verizon or Sprint since both already have similar fees in place.

Regardless of whether the fee really is needed to cover legit expenses, or is a clever way to boost profits, customers are stuck with it no matter which carrier they choose.