AT&T executive defends wireless price increase

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AT&T’s early move to counteract inflation and raise prices was the right thing to do, according to AT&T Communications COO Jeff McElfresh. McElfresh said it’s always hard to raise prices, but AT&T’s price increase was for a segment of customers on the oldest rate plans that didn’t have access to 5G or the latest and greatest features and benefits. “We didn’t do a broad stroke across the entire customer base,” he said. “We looked at a cohort of customers that were on the oldest rate plans that didn’t have access to 5G or some of the best features and benefits.” The transition off those plans is in “mid-flight” right now, as the changes took effect in June 2022, so AT&T associates are now helping that customer base move to other plans and they’re having some success in doing that, he said. “It’s never pleasant raising prices,” he said. “As consumers, we don’t want prices to rise,” but if “we don’t put inflation into check as a country, as a point of policy, rampant inflation is just not healthy for the economy or commerce.” Therefore, he said, AT&T is encouraging policymakers to address what it sees as a macroeconomic headwind for just about all businesses.

AT&T’s McElfresh defends wireless price increase