Cingular to impose surcharge for non-GSM customers

Jul 31 2006 - 06:35 PM ET | Cingular

To help encourage its few remaining analog and TDMA customers to upgrade, Cingular will start charging a $5 monthly surcharge to all customers not using a GSM handset. The fee starts in September and will apply to approximately 8% of Cingular subscribers.

Cingular is required to provide analog coverage until 2008, but there is no rule about a surcharge. However, Cingular is the first carrier to impose such a fee. Having to support multiple technologies with its existing spectrum limits the number of calls each tower can handle. Analog calls take up much more space than the newer digital technology.

The AP reports:

On Monday, Cingular issued a statement to AP saying that with the number of analog and TDMA users dwindling, "the per-customer cost of using that network is increasing considerably. That's why we made a decision to impose this charge."