John Legere has literally made a career by bashing other wireless carriers for “ridiculous” activation fees, “bullshit” extra add-ons, and “absurd” pricing schemes.
So it’s a little awkward that T-Mobile has very quietly increased the cost of its “SIM Starter Kit” — that’s an activation fee, let’s be clear — to $25. That’s the second increase in a year, and means that over the last 365 days, the price of adding an extra line to T-Mobile has increased by $10 for no discernible reason.
The T-Mobile “3-in-1 Starter Kit” is a nano SIM plus adapters to use that card in an older phone with microSIM or regular SIM slots. You need it if you’re a new postpaid coming to T-Mobile, or opening a new line, as it’s a sadly necessary part of getting cell service.
The SIM also costs T-Mobile somewhere around ten cents (and that’s being generous), which makes the profit margin painfully big.
A T-Mobile representative told BGR that “It’s an equipment charge and we occasionally have to adjust the cost. It applies to any postpaid customer adding a new T-Mobile SIM.”
Think that charging an absurd amount of money just for the privilege of opening a new line so that you can pay your carrier more money is a little absurd? T-Mobile CEO John Legere agrees! Or, at least he does when the carrier in question in AT&T:
Yes, some kind of signup fee is probably necessary for wireless carriers. If there’s zero barrier to entry, you’ll get more customers gratuitously signing up for a month and losing T-Mobile money in the short run, as it does take some back-end work to provision new devices. But there’s no reason why you should call that cost a “SIM Starter Package” rather than a new-line activation fee (which is what it is), and there’s really no reason why that fee needs to go up from $15 to $25 in the space of a year.