Last week, Sprint announced that they were lowering activation fees from $36 to $30 per line regardless of whether a customer buys a subsidized phone, purchase through an installment plan or lease the device. This move comes after T-Mobile recently hiked the activation price of their SIM Starter Kits from $15 to $20 for both prepaid and postpaid devices while Verizon is tacking on an additional $20 as an activation fee for new devices.

While the Sprint news is good news for customers, it is yet another reminder of the absurd fees that consumers must deal with when purchasing a phone or broadband plan today. Note that this fee is in no way a charge for installation….but just for purchasing a plan.

For example:

  • Did you order AT&T U-Verse service? That will be a $50 “Activation Fee” and an additional $90 for a “Professional Installation”.
  • Did you upgrade Verizon your FiOS TV package? That will be an additional fee of $150.
  • Did you order Charter’s Ultra TV/Internet service? That will be an additional fee of $200.
  • Did you order Cablevision’s 100 Mbps service? That will be an additional fee of $300.
  • Did you order Comcast’s 2 Gbps service? That will be an additional fee of $500….and another $1,000 in the form of an Early Termination Fee.

Consumers are rarely told about these fees and tend to be slammed by them when the first bill comes to them.

What happens when the customers call to complain? The telecoms blame the federal government yet many of the fees attached to your bill aren’t even required by the federal government. They are simply added to your bill so that the provider can raise a few more dollars.

How about Verizon’s “convenience fee” when someone pays their bill over the phone?


StopTheCap has done a fantastic job going over the numerous charges that AT&T customers may see on their monthly bills. As the site notes, many of the charges have nothing to do with taxes and all to do with AT&T wanting more money, yet you wouldn’t know that based on the name of the charges. Last May, AT&T got national coverage for their addition of a $0.61 “Mobility Administrative Fee” for customers.