As any cell phone user can attest, a number of taxes and fees always make into your carrier bill. Though the archaic federal excise tax ended last year, the remaining charges can still add an extra $10 to your bill each month.
While the surcharges are standard across almost all carriers, Sprint said this week that it would no longer bill customers for three of the fees. Gone are the Federal Programs Cost Recovery fee, the Federal E911 surcharge, and the Wireless Local Number Portability fee. As the combined cost of the charges is only about $2 each month, the net effect on customers will be little. And in any case, Sprint is replacing them with a new administrative charge ($0.75) and and a new regulatory charge ($0.20).
According to Sprint, the administrative charge will "help defray various costs imposed on us by other telecommunications carriers" while the regulatory charge is "being assessed to help defray costs of various federal, state and local regulatory programs."
As neither of the new fees are taxes nor are they mandated by the government, they would be challenged if the Cell Phone Consumer Empowerment Act of 2007 ever sees traction in Congress. That legislation promises to ban any fees not expressly authorized by federal, state, or local governments.