Legal Policies

Important Notice for California Prepaid Wireless Customers

As a customer of prepaid wireless telecommunication services in California, you are subject to certain surcharges, taxes and fees assessed on retail purchase price of prepaid wireless telecommunications.

Effective January 1, 2017, the California Public Service Commission has updated the rate of the mobile telephony services (MTS) surcharges collected from the consumer at the time of purchase, which are mandatory surcharges, taxes and fees on intrastate telecommunications services and includes:

  • California Public Utilities Commission MTS Surcharges
    • Commission Public Purpose Program Surcharges
    • Commission User Fee
  • Emergency Telephone Users (911) Surcharge
  • Local Utility Users Taxes (UUT)

The California Public Service Commission has applied an intrastate factor to the prescribed rate of 7.0854% which results in a billed MTS surcharge rate 5.15% to consumers. In addition, U.S. Cellular has conducted a study to allocate call traffic more accurately between interstate and intrastate use; this factor is applied to the 911 surcharge rate in order to charge an amount equal to the intrastate portion of your prepaid wireless plan.

Commission MTS Surcharge

  • The Commission recently announced the 2017 rate for the new California Mobile Telephony Services surcharge of 5.15% on Prepaid Wireless intrastate service.

Emergency Telephone Users (911) Surcharge

  • The Office of Emergency Services has set the rate of Emergency 911 rate of 0.75%.
  • Effective January 1, 2017, U.S. Cellular will charge the California 911 surcharge on prepaid wireless plans at the intrastate affected rate of 0.54%.

Local Utility Users Taxes (UUT)

Additionally, the California Public Utility Commission has ordered that effective January 1, 2017, Local Utility Users Taxes apply to prepaid wireless plans for those municipalities and counties who have enacted such a surcharge. The rate can vary from 0% to 9%.

Example of a $40 Prepaid Wireless Replenishment as of January 1, 2017:

Commission's MTS Surcharge: $40.00 Replenishment x 5.15% Surcharge Rate = $2.06
California 911 Surcharge: $40.00 Replenishment x 0.54% Surcharge Rate = $0.22

If applicable:

CA Local UUT: $40.00 Replenishment x 5.00% (estimated rate) = $2.00

For assistance, dial 611 from your U.S. Cellular® phone (always a free call) or call our toll-free number 1-888-944-9400.

See the California Public Service Commission information at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=2973

See the California Board of Equalization information at http://www.boe.ca.gov/industry/prepaid_mts_surcharge.html