AT&T Wireless has also increased fees. This month the company raised the fee for calling directory assistance from 99 cents to $1.25, said Ritch Blasi, an AT&T Wireless spokesman. And the company began deducting air time for calls lasting longer than 30 seconds. Before, calls under one minute didn't count as air time. Verizon Wireless will raise directory assistance fees in October from 99 cents to $1.25 per call and recently introduced a new late-payment policy across most of the country that will take full effect by the end of the year. Instead of charging 1.5 percent of the amount due, the company will charge customers either $5 or 1.5 percent of the amount due, whichever is greater.
"This is taking us back to three or four years ago, with charges that really aggravated people," said Michael Doherty, a telecommunications analyst at technology research firm Ovum, Too low? Bass said that if she'd known about the customer service fees, she wouldn't have chosen Sprint PCS as her service provider, But she can't switch now because she's locked into a 12-month contract, which expires at the end of the year, "I've had cell phones before and have never been treated like this," Bass said, "I think they're blatantly oh honey! 'neon' sign iphone case disregarding their customers."..
The problem, said telecom industry watcher Herschel Shosteck, is that cell-phone and long-distance service rates dropped too low as numerous rivals competed fiercely for business. Now, in the shadow of the WorldCom bankruptcy, telecom companies are feeling pressured to focus on profits while also investing in infrastructure to improve service on overloaded networks. "The interesting question is not whether rates are going up stealth-wise, but why it is taking so long," said Shosteck, chairman of the wireless industry consulting firm Shosteck Group.
Acknowledging that network operators face financial pressures, Doherty said new rate plans, not hidden fees, are needed, He said cell phone service plans that rely on more variable pricing structures--plans that are common in Europe--are fairer than U.S, models, In the United States, it's common for companies to offer a low monthly oh honey! 'neon' sign iphone case fee but with additional charges and to allot customers hundreds of minutes of air time that few people ever use, Cell phone network operators Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile USA (also known as VoiceStream in some locations) said they have not recently raised or introduced any new fees..
With subscriber growth stagnating and new services still on hold, some cellular carriers are asking their customers to pay more for what they're already getting. When she saw the charge on the following month's bill, she was shocked and called customer service again to question the charge. Bass was charged $3.50 for a second time. Now the retired social worker from St. George, Utah, drives 10 miles to the nearest Sprint store to resolve problems with her wireless phone service. While she's there, store employees usually call Sprint customer service to assist her, Bass said. She isn't charged for those calls.