Wireless Price Hikes Fatten Profits for Phone Carriers With Few Risks

Josh Merkle was shocked when he saw the $6 increase on his AT&T Inc. wireless bill. The 36-year-old new father, already facing soaring prices for everything from gas to baby formula, said it’s “very upsetting” that the carrier would squeeze customers on a service that’s too essential to give up.

Merkle and millions of other wireless customers are opening phone bills this month to find AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc. raised rates on older service plans. Both Verizon, and to a lesser degree T-Mobile US Inc., have also increased monthly fees. While customers aren’t happy about it, they’re not racing for the exits. And that could pay off for the carriers.