If you’re going to upgrade to a new phone on AT&T for Valentine’s day, you better do it quickly because the carrier will be doubling its upgrade fee to $36 starting Feb. 12.
In a message to Engadget, AT&T said:
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.
This is part of a larger trend where carriers are charging users more for smartphones instead of eating those subsidies outright. Most of the 4G LTE devices out there now cost $299 with a two-year contract and the early-termination fees have also been raised to adjust for smartphone costs.
Price increases are never fun but this doesn’t appear to be an issue of carrier greed. The recent round of financial results found that devices like the iPhone are eating away at margins for all the carriers, so expect these fees to rise on nearly every mobile operator.