AT&T is the largest wireless operator in the U.S., bringing in a huge revenue every year. However, the company doesn’t seem to consider that good enough and has now imposed an additional surcharge of extra 61 cents on all existing wireless contracts.
AT&T hasn’t exactly categorized this additional surcharge as an increase in the cost of wireless contracts and is rather positioning the extra 61 cents as an administrative cost. The worst part, for the customers, is that this wouldn’t be a one-time payment and will rather be added to their bills every subsequent month.
When probed as to exactly what this additional income will be spent on, an AT&T spokesperson stated that it will be used on ‘certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell-site rents and maintenance.’ According to estimates, the extra 61 cents, when scaled against the total number of AT&T subscribers, turns out to be a whopping half-billion dollar in revenue.
Naturally, customers as well as certain watchdog organizations have criticized the move, citing that the company has failed to present a substantial need to impose this new surcharge. The fact that AT&T is treating this as a ‘surchage’ is an issue in itself.
By positioning it as a surcharge, AT&T is able to ward off any criticisms that would have been directed towards it had it directly increased the prices of the data plans. Moreover, since the company enjoys a huge subscriber base, it seems willing to take the risk of making a few customers unhappy while furthering its profits at the same time.