Battling for its life in Sacramento to stop legislation which would preserve net neutrality in California, AT&T Inc.’s wireless customers are expected to pay almost $1 billion more every year to the company after AT&T increased a monthly “administrative fee” in a move that went largely unnoticed, according to an industry analyst.
The analyst, Walt Piecyk of BTIG, initially estimated that AT&T could pocket about $800 million more per year from the higher fee, before revising that figure upward to $970 million once he learned that the fee hike also will affect tablets and smartwatches on AT&T’s network, not just cellphones.
“Some people might not get hit till next cycle,” Piecyk said.
The higher fee reflects a 58% increase over its previous level of $1.26 per line. The fee is now more than three times what it was when AT&T first introduced it in 2013.