Understand your first AT&T bill

Learn about charges you may see on your first AT&T bill. Learn why it may be higher than you expected.

Charges on your bill

Here’s why your first bill can be higher than later bills:

  • It may have a one-time activation, installation, equipment, or non-recurring charge.
  • It may include installment billing. This splits some non-recurring charges into equal monthly payments. Taxes and surcharges for these items aren't eligible for installment billing and must be paid up front. Examples of charges that may be billed in installments include:
    • Equipment charges
    • Full installation by a technician
    • Service activation fees

Want to see an estimate of your next bill? Learn how to check your customer service summary

Other charges billed in advance

Here are some of the other advance charges you may see:

  • Wireless rate plan charges for data, voice, and messaging services
  • Miscellaneous services, like device protection
  • Taxes, surcharges, and fees

FYI: Any discounts you qualify for will be applied to these charges.

Partial-month service charges

If your service starts in the middle of your bill period, your first bill will show partial-month charges. These are the charges for the days from the start of your service to the beginning of your first full bill period. Learn more about partial-month charges

Taxes, surcharges, and other fees

Taxes may apply to charges for products and services in your bill. Specific taxes vary by state and locality. These charges are required by law and may include state-specific surcharges or regulatory fees.

Bill videos

To help you understand your first bills, a personalized video will walk you through charges and fees. We might also send you a video to explain any changes you make to your service or plan. Learn about video bills


Keep tabs on your bill

Your monthly bill period starts and ends on the same date each month. To keep track of your charges, learn how to:

Last updated: September 20, 2023

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