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T-Mobile quietly increases the ‘ridiculous activation fee’ for every new line

Published Mar 1st, 2017 5:52PM EST
T-Mobile sim vs Verizon

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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.

H/T Reddit

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.