Just a quick heads up for anyone looking to upgrade this week or in the coming weeks to a new device on AT&T like the Samsung Galaxy Note. Starting this Sunday the 12th AT&T will be doubling the handset upgrade fee from $18 dollars to $36. This wont effect customers on a daily basis, but is double what users have paid all year thus far.

Looking over some information and paperwork provided to BGR earlier today AT&T explains their reasoning behind the changes and this basically confirms any doubts. While the change isn’t major it is a big deal and will surely make a few customers upset. I could see a decent bump or an increase to $24 or so, but double seems a bit steep. Here’s the official word:

”Because the overall costs associated with upgrading to a new device have increased, effective Sunday, February 12, 2012, AT&T will change its upgrade fee from $18 to $36.”

According to AT&T the overall costs of upgrading a device with things like LTE and other reasons, they felt this was a good time to start the changes. After the initial reports an AT&T spokeswoman was quick to comment saying that this isn’t anything new, and other carriers charge similar fees. She also points out that AT&T hasn’t changed it in well over 10 years. To them the change is warranted.

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.”

So what are your thoughts? Is this a deal breaker for some, or just something we’ll have to live with. If they’ve really not changed this in 10 years I’d say we were lucky to get this far given the changes to 3G, 4G LTE and smartphones over the past few years. These changes come just before a big release of the Galaxy Note for AT&T. Will you still be upgrading?

  • Anonymous

    Verizon > AT&Trash 

    • Anonymous

      I like verizon better than att (only because verizon covers my area) but they are both guilty of doing the same thing. Both are trash and it’s becoming really ridiculous that we as consumers don’t have a whole lot of choice if you want the latest smartphone. It’s amazing that in a capitalistic country like ours, there’s near monopoly in the cellphone business.

      • Christopher

        Verizon has not charged an upgrade fee for many years. The closest the had recently was that they used to charge $20 for an early annual upgrade (up to 8 mos before your actual upgrade date), but they never actually charged any such fees for regular upgrades in, at least, the last 4 years.

  • What overall costs associated with upgrading? Typing in the serial number of a new SIM card on a computer screen?

    • Not even… In most cases they swap the SIM from the old phone. If you are getting a new one, they scan the barcode from the card they pop the SIM out of, no manual data entry involved.

  • Anonymous

    If I didn’t have a contract with this bastards I would leave them in a heart beat

    • Anonymous


  • Lol

    The upgrade fee is charged so that the consumer is able to get equipment at the discounted pricing, however if the charge goes up and the device costs dont go down then the consumer is getting screwed over.

  • Stonedgamernyc

    I asked a rep at my local store in NYC about this and I said I should cancel for Verizon. His response was “if you go to Verizon you’ll have to buy a new phone and pay an activation fee” I said ” and if I stay with AT&T and upgrade, I have to buy a new phone and pay an upgrade free that will be equal to Verizon’s activation fee, and your service is crappy in NYC” his response shocked me “I have nothing to do with our network issues, I just sell the phones, but if you want to cancel you can but don’t be surprised if they change their upgrade fee as well” I said “I’ll worry about that in two years!” then I left. iPhone 5 = switch to verizon!!

  • Arthur

    It’s asinine, but they all do it.  They charge you an activation fee for the privilege of doing business with them.  They charge you an upgrade fee for the privilege of renewing with them.  It’s worth checking out Wirefly, et. al, sometimes the fees can be waived or lower online through alternative retail channels.

  • J.C.

    There are a couple of things to consider: first of all, when you activate/upgrade, you have 30 days to switch the phone out for something else, which happens more often than you might think.  AT&T (as well as the other carriers) eats this cost.  Secondly, in an all-out cut-throat industry, AT&T has chosen to offer most of their smartphones at much cheaper pricing than its competitors (a mistake IMHO).  A carrier doesn’t break even for quite some time for the subsidy involved with offering a $500 phone for $99.  Look at Verizon’s upgrade prices, and you’ll see they are getting their money, just in another way.  All that said, I’d agree that raising the handset upgrade cost instead of increasing the fee would have had less outcry.

  • Fotonux

    Guys NOTICE !!!
    AT&T is related with Directv, because this TV company does the same all time to customers. Change the rules and add new charges. And when you call asking explanations the representative, only apologize….It’s so sad !!!
    I started thinking switch to other company. Specially after I knew the final price for Galaxy Note… 470 !!! with taxes….It’s ridiculous !! and so pathetic !!. And do not forget that the Note comes with Snapdragon  processor and not with the Exynos…..so the dreams crashed !!…:)

    • Anonymous

      Can you please explain how you arrive at the $470 price through AT&T ? I thought it was just $299 + $26 for the activation fee.

  • Sir1honda

    Tmobile value plan with 2 years contract – till February 1, 2014: Loyalty department – helped by DANIEL (employee no. 1244098) Ingrid (employee no. 58046) Maira (employee no. 47271) Chris (february 1,2012)
    $49.98 – 1000 whenever minutes (unlimited nights & weekends and tmobile-tmobile unlimited call)
    $20 – 5gb (unlimited) (no overages) 4g speed (18mbps-26mbs here in Austin,Texas
    $10 – 2gb (unlimited) (no overages) 4g speed (18mbs-26-mbps heres in Astin,Texas
    $5 – 3rd line (we can add 2gb (unlimited-no overages) internet anytime for $10)
    $5 – 4th line (we can add 2gb (unlimited-no overages) internet anytime for $10)
    $20 – domestic & international – all kinds of messaging (unlimited)
    ($4.97 – insurance for pershy’s galaxy s2)
    Total – $109.98 plus taxes & fees with 15% corporate discount and $10 loyalty discount/month till the contract expires.
    * Free wifi calling for all 4 lines (will not use minutes to call anybody (domestic) as long its in wifi zone)
    * Corporate discounts – effective till the contract expires
    * Replace all sim card – 4 lines to 4g sim (tmobile store) – free.
    * Can take off internet data features in any line, anytime? their answer is YES.   
    * $120 credit towards the coming bill
    * No migration fee
    * no upgrade fee
    * Block pay per use web for lines – (free)
    * Web guard – teen (free)
    * International long distance blocking for all lines (free)

    We checked almost all carrier especially the big four and NO ONE CAN GIVE THAT SAME PLAN WITH THAT INSANE PRICES.

  • Giardia

    You guys are a bunch of complainers, just go to cricket, us cellular, t mobile or metro PCs, and it will be cheaper, but ooh no they don’t have the coolest phone! Then what you want free phone! If you like to live like an American but want to spend like a Chinese communist then move to China! The only free thing in live its death

  • Justthefactsplz

    How ridiculous. I was just about to upgrade at the end of the month. Now, I’m switching to Verizon. Everyone in my area loves the service they provide. Thanks for sealing the deal ATT!

  • Ray

    I’m upgrading to the Galaxy Note. I can care less about that lousy $36. I’ll let the 99% to protest about it in front of the At&t Corp Headquarters. LOL

  • ed0123

    how much would a galaxy note cost with an upgrade?

  • Bryan Cochran

    I hav a iPhone 3GS and I dont hav an upgrade till
    Fed I want to upgrade now to a galaxy note can someone tell
    Me how much this will cost or if I can still get sowhat of
    A discount

  • While the change isn’t major it is a big deal and will surely make a few customers upset. 

  • Al

    $36 bucks not a big deal. But like I told AT&T it’s free for me to switch to Verizon.

  • Perry

    These fees are ridiculous, the explanation we got when my wife and I were looking for a new phone for her was that the fee would go into building its infrastructure…..isnt that what we pay monthly plan and usage fees for? Well we remedied that real quick and bought a new phone elsewhere…..ATT can kiss my backside, we no longer have any contract and dont plan on getting into one anytime soon.