If you read your wireless contract carefully, carriers will document something known as a "material adverse change." In other words, if your carrier raises pricing of any kind during the term of your agreement (a "material adverse change") you're entitled to cancel your line without paying an early termination fee (ETF). The contract language is as follows:
"If a change we make to the Agreement is material and has a material adverse effect on Services under your Term Commitment, you may terminate each line of Service materially affected without incurring an Early Termination Fee only if you: (a) call us within 30 days after the effective date of the change; and (b) specifically advise us that you wish to cancel Services because of a material change to the Agreement that we have made. If you do not cancel Service within 30 days of the change, an Early Termination Fee will apply if you terminate Services before the end of any applicable Term Commitment."
According to reports, Sprint has been sending notices to customers that the Regulatory Charge on their account will increase to $0.40 per line, along with a $4.99 account fee for those that have spending limits. The increase in charges are effective on January 1, 2010, and both constitute a material adverse change in your wireless agreement. Sprint's taxes and fees page specifically lists the following:
"The Regulatory Charge is currently $0.20 per line per month and is assessed by Sprint to help defray costs of various federal, state, and local regulatory programs. The Regulatory Charge is not a tax and is not an amount we are required to collect from you by law. The Regulatory Charge, and the components used to calculate this charge, is subject to change from time to time."
According to the legal terminology, Sprint customers have 30 days from receiving their monthly invoice to call in and cancel service without an early termination fee. That being said, no wireless customer is ever pleased to lose customers, so you may experience a bit of resistance. Let me know all about your successes, failures, and general comments below!