AT&T this week announced a $4 increase in activation fees - but only for customers who sign up for or are currently in 2 year contracts.
This increases the basic AT&T phone activation cost from $36 to $40.
This is part of AT&T's move to encourage more customers to sign up for service without signing two year contracts, and without getting a huge discount that hides the true cost of a phone in the process.
Instead - AT&T's "Next" plan allows customers to finance new phones with $0 down, no interest charged, no activation fees, and no upgrade fees - but the full cost of the phone is broken into payments and added to your bill until it is fully paid off over the course of a year or 18 months.
This may cost more upfront, but in the long run actually will save most users money - and these sorts of no-contract plans seem like a good general shift for the industry.