AT&T is raising prices on its older mobile service plans for the first time in three years. However, customers on its newer plans will not see any changes at this time.
The monthly fees on AT&T's older packages are increasing by $6 a month for single-line customers and up to $12 a month for families, according to various reports. Subscribers will have the option to avoid the price hike by switching to new unlimited plans.
“The price increases mark a high-profile reversal for an industry that has mostly competed for new customers with discounts, free phones and low-priced family plans—even after shrinking to a three-player market with the purchase of Sprint Corp. by T-Mobile US Inc. in 2020,” Bloomberg reported.
AT&T explains its reasons
In a statement to ConsumerAffairs, AT&T said it is asking its customers to check out its other offerings.
“We are encouraging our customers to explore our newer plans, which offer many additional features, more flexibility for each line on their account and, in many cases, a lower monthly cost,” a company official told us.
AT&T says customers who switch plans will gain access to 5G service and ActiveArmor, an app feature that will give its customers advanced security features like identity monitoring.
Inflation and changes to prices
Consumers who are concerned about paying more for mobile service may have less to worry about than they thought. According to In2013Dollars.com and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for wireless telephone services are 52.01% lower in 2022 versus 1997 (a $26.01 difference in value).
While it’s not something AT&T has ballyhooed in its marketing campaigns, the company has been warning investors that it’s feeling the pinch of inflation like everyone else.
Despite rising wages taking a bigger bite out of the company's bottom line, CEO John Stankey said on an earnings call last month that AT&T's customer base was "satisfied" with the value the company has been putting back into its products and services.
“Our history would suggest that we know how to do that, and we can do that. And we'll be very smart and judicious as we have to apply it,” he said.