If AT&T is your mobile service provider, you should probably check your bill regularly anyway. But this month it might be particularly important, because buried amid the actual taxes and other minor fees it has to collect, AT&T may just be trying to pull a fast one.
The fee, which is sixty-one cents, applies to all consumer and Individual Responsibility User lines — so, everybody really — and it kicked in May 1st. It’s officially called an “Administrative Fee.” And what, pray tell, is this fee for?
The Administrative Fee helps defray certain expenses AT&T incurs, including but not limited to: (a) charges AT&T or its agents pay to interconnect with other carriers to deliver calls from AT&T customers to their customers; and (b) charges associated with cell site rents and maintenance.
In other words, “something something give us your money.” The amount, individually, is minor but the cash isn’t. AT&T has 107 million subscribers, so, if you do the math, they’re extracting about $750 million annually with this little fee. AT&T, for its part, claims the fee is in line with fees from other carriers. Yes, they’re using the “everyone’s doing it” defense. One also wonders why this sixty-one cents wasn’t just lumped into the actual monthly subscription fee.
Hopefully, those 107 million customers will demand a full accounting of where, precisely, all this money goes. AT&T’s explanation is a little too vague to justify raking in millions without offering a little more accountability.