AT&T Hidden Fees & Costs – Everything You Need to Know

AT&T billing and cancellations often include fees that you might not have anticipated. These can make a real difference to your budgeting, so it’s important to understand them.

I’ve been researching every type of hidden fee for their internet, TV, cell phone plans, and more. And I can tell you that there’s actually quite a lot to know about it!

Stick around as I show you:

Let’s get going.

AT&T Internet and Fiber Hidden Fees

All AT&T Internet and Fiber plans have some kinds of fees that you might not notice at the first time of looking. They’ll be either a part of your monthly bill or the price you pay for finishing your contract.


Here are the fees you can expect to see when you pay your bill for AT&T Internet or Fiber [1]:

  • $99 Activation Fee: Setting up Fiber or Internet could cost $99 depending on the level of infrastructure you have in your home already. It might be possible to waive this by setting it up yourself, so speak to AT&T about the possibility of doing that. 
  • $10 Equipment Hire Fee (does not apply to Fiber): All regular Internet customers will need to pay this cost in order to borrow the Gateway router from AT&T. You can get around it by buying your own router if you wish. Luckily, Fiber customers, this fee does not apply to you.
  • $5 to decline Autopay and Paperless Billing: All the plan prices listed on the AT&T website have a $5 reduction already applied to them for Autopay (direct debit payments) and paperless billing, where you will receive your bills by email instead. 
  • $10 Price Increase (does not apply to Fiber): At the 12 month mark, your AT&T Internet plan will increase by $10 per month, no matter what. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to avoid that. 
  • Up to $200 Extra Data Usage Fee (does not apply to Fiber): AT&T will warn you the first and second times you go over your data allowance. But if you do it a third time, you’ll have to pay $10 for each additional 50 GB used.

As you can see, there are a few things to consider here. But compared to the likes of Comcast Xfinity, the hidden fees for AT&T Internet and Fiber are actually quite minimal.

Ending your contract

When it comes to pulling the plug on your AT&T Internet or Fiber plan, there could be more charges to incur. 

For example, with Internet, you might have to pay to get out of the contract early. You can find out more about how much that would cost in our article on AT&T cancellation fees.

This is not the case with Fiber, as there is no minimum contract for these plans. You can sign up from as little as one month. So, you’ll just pay for the rest of the month you’re using and then move on. 

If you don’t return your Gateway router and any other equipment, more fees will apply. The fee for a late return or no return is a flat $150 for each unit of equipment.

AT&T Wireless Hidden Fees

If you’re a customer of AT&T’s cell phone brand, AT&T Wireless, there might be some hidden fees to acknowledge. Let’s take a look at them [2].


Additional one-off or monthly fees for your AT&T contract are likely to apply. They are as follows:

  • Up to $50 Activation or Upgrade Fee per line: Your activation fee (or upgrade from another contract) varies depending on what device you take and which contract you go for. 
  • $20/$10 Non-Phone Device Monthly Charges per device: If you want to add another device to your plan that isn’t a phone, you can pay to share the data. For tablets and cameras, it’s $20 per device. For wearable tech (such as a smartwatch), it’s $10. 
  • $10 to decline Autopay and Paperless Billing per line: You’ll need to pay an extra $10 per month on top of the prices listed on the AT&T website if you don’t want Autopay and Paperless Billing. We recommend going for it!
  • $1.99 Administrative Fee: There’s a standard administrative fee of $1.99 to pay every month with all AT&T Wireless plans.
  • $7 Late Payment Fee: AT&T will charge you $7 every time you’re late with a payment. That’s another good reason to stick with Autopay.
  • $35 Number Change Fee: Want to change your cell phone number? That will cost you $35. 

Ending your contract

If you wish to get out of your Wireless contract early, you’ll need to pay quite a large fee. For a smartphone with a data service, that fee will be $325 minus $10 for each month you have completed on the contract.

For basic phone or other services, it’s the same except with a reduced $150 minus $10 per month. The only time you won’t have to pay these fees is if you cancel the contract and return the cell phone within 14 days of making the original order. 

AT&T Home Phone Hidden Fees

With AT&T’s Home Phone service, there aren’t too many things to concern yourself with. However, it’s worth being aware of one or two charges you might incur.


There’s just a couple of fees to think about on the billing side of things for the AT&T Home Phone Service. And one of them is various international rates.

The amount AT&T charges to call abroad varies depending on where you are calling, and if you are calling a cell phone or another landline. You can find out more about those rates here

Don’t forget, of course, that you could be liable for a $150 fee if you fail to return your equipment at the end of the contract.

Ending your contract

There’s a flat fee for canceling your AT&T Home Phone service before the end of the contract. It’s $150 minus $10 for every completed month of the contract so far. 

AT&T DirecTV (Previously Known as U-Verse) Hidden Fees

AT&T’s TV service has proved to be a big hit, as it offers pretty good value for money. That is, of course, unless you rack up a bunch of hidden fees. Check below for the ones to look out for. 


You might have to pay some or all of the following fees if you take up the AT&T DirecTV service:

  • Additional Channel Charges: AT&T offers four levels of plans that each have their own packages of channels. But if you want, you can add additional channels for cost. This should never be a hidden fee, but it’s important to know how much any add-on is going to cost. Make sure you find out before you order.
  • $120 AT&T Streaming Device: If you opt for the streaming option rather than the satellite one, AT&T will try to sell you a streaming device. At the time of writing, the price of it is $120 (or $5 per month on a 24 month deal). However, you can avoid that by buying a Chromecast for around $30.
  • $19.95 Activation Fee: Most users will have to pay an initial fee of $19.95 to activate the service on their first bill.
  • $4.25 Late Fee: If you miss a payment any month, you’ll be charged a flat fee of $4.25.
  • $5 per month for no Autopay or Paperless Billing: Like with most AT&T services, you’ll need to pay an additional $5 per month if you don’t want to take up both Autopay and Paperless Billing. We do recommend doing it!
  • $150 Equipment Fee: If you fail to return your satellite device at the end of the contract (or your streaming device if you haven’t paid it off), you could be liable for a fee of up to $150.

Ending your contract

If you want to get out of your DirecTV contract early, you will be liable for an Early Termination Fee of up to $400. It’s calculated based on a price of $20 per month for every month you have left in your contract.

There may also be a $15 deactivation fee that applies on top of this. 

Postage Fees

For the hardware you need with most AT&T services, you won’t have to pay for postage. 

In fact, the only time you should have to pay for shipping is if you order something from the Brand Shop. This could be an additional smartphone, an accessory or a replacement device of some other kind.

If you do this, you’ll need to pay a fee that starts at $6.99. If you want to save the cost of this, you can order a lot of the products from the AT&T Brand Store into a physical AT&T store for collection, and this is free of charge. 

AT&T Hidden Fees FAQ

We understand that AT&T’s hidden fees can be a little confusing. So to clear up the loose ends, here are some important questions and the answers to them. 

Do the AT&T plans prices include taxes?

None of the prices listed on the AT&T website include taxes, so these will need to be factored in for your budgeting as well. Taxes and additional state fees can vary from state to state.

For example, the states of Texas, Ohio and Nevada charge an additional State Cost Recovery Charge on internet plans. It’s not expensive, but it’s important to consider.

What router should I buy to avoid hiring one from AT&T?

One of the main fees that AT&T Internet users will have to pay is the hiring of the Gateway router. If you want to avoid paying this, you could just buy a router of your own. 

Check out our guide to the best routers for AT&T. You’ll certainly find something that works for you there.

If you’re a Fiber customer, you won’t have to worry about doing this (unless you want a better router) as you don’t have to pay for equipment hire. 

Can I dispute charges?

If you see a charge on your bill that doesn’t look right, or if you feel like you have been charged for something that wasn’t explained clearly enough to you, you can refute the charge. 

To do this, you’ll need to contact AT&T customer service and make your case. If they can’t help you and you still feel like you have a case, the next thing to do would be seeking legal advice. 

Final Thoughts on AT&T Hidden Fees

It can be a bit of a headache to navigate AT&T’s hidden fees, but hopefully you’ll know what to look out for (and potentially how to avoid) having read this article. 

Being vigilant with your bill and canceling your contract could save you a whole lot of money and any unpleasant surprises. 

If you’d like to know more about saving money with AT&T, take a look at our guide to AT&T deals. There are a lot of great ways to save money there! 

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