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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

AT&T Raising Its Rates




WASHINGTON -- With great fanfare, AT&T and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission have announced that millions of telephone customers would see lower bills as the company passed on savings from a government-ordered reduction in the fees that long-distance companies pay to local telephone companies.


But on the day of the announcement, AT&T also filed documents with the commission that said the company would actually be raising most of the per-minute charges on the basic accounts of millions of customers who make few calls, in some cases by as much as 163 percent.


Moreover, AT&T, the United States' largest long-distance company, said this week that it would be raising the monthly fee for some of its popular One Rate plans, which charge single per-minute long-distance rates, by 66 percent, to $5 from $3.


AT&T and FCC officials last week trumpeted as "historic" the company's decision to drop its $3-a-month minimum fee charged to customers who make few or no long-distance calls, which on any given month represents more than a third of the company's residential subscribers. And, in fact, bills will drop by as much as 50 percent for those who make no long-distance calls.


But because the new per-minute fees go up every day except Sunday, consumer groups say bills will rise for many other low-volume callers.