Many Verizon customers are going to see a few extra dollars on their next phone bill. Starting in June, Verizon is raising the administrative fee it charges postpaid customers by $1.35, bringing it up to $3.30 per voice line. The fee increase only applies to voice lines — if you have a data-only line for a tablet, for example, there’s no change.
In an email to The Verge, company spokesperson Adria Tomaszewski didn’t cite a specific reason for the price increase on consumer accounts:
From time to time, we review and make adjustments to fees to defray some of Verizon’s administrative and telco expenses and costs of complying with regulatory requirements. To that end, Verizon Consumer will implement a change beginning in June.
Really clears things up! The company is also adding a new “Economic Adjustment Charge” to some business accounts starting June 16th. That’s a $2.20 monthly charge per line for each smartphone and data device and 98 cents for each basic phone and tablet on an account. Verizon is a little more explicit about the reasons for this new charge:
The current economic conditions impacting businesses worldwide continue to mount and despite our best efforts to mitigate further impact, we intend to offset a portion of these costs by implementing an Economic Adjustment Charge.
Verizon certainly isn’t alone here. AT&T includes its own administrative fee on bills and settled a class-action suit in California so it can keep charging it to customers. AT&T also recently raised prices on some older plans, and CEO John Stankey alluded to price hikes coming across the industry on the company’s last earnings call. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg also mentioned “different types of cost adjustments” and changes to pricing as options to combat inflation on the company’s Q1 2022 investor call.
Verizon also revealed on the call that, despite a 2.1 percent increase in total revenue year on year, net income was down 12.4 percent. Hiking up an ambiguous monthly fee could be one way to address that shortfall. In fact, another class-action lawsuit in California alleges that Verizon uses this fee to pad its margins without overtly raising plan prices. Maybe those big checks it wrote in last year’s C-band auction are catching up.