Companies love to charge extra fees whenever possible. T-Mobile has had an “Assisted Support Charge” for years now, having started off at $20 and slowly creeping up to $35 over time. Customers looking to avoid this fee could simply place their order online where the charge was not applied. Unfortunately this is now changing, and T-Mobile will finally have a true activation fee just like the competition.
According to internal docs shared with us here at The T-Mo Report and also on Reddit, T-Mobile is replacing their ASC (and also the related USC) with a unified “Device Connection Charge”. This new DCC fee will remain at $35, but now applies to nearly every transaction made by a customer, including online.
The fee is charged per-line that is added or upgraded via any method. Whether you’re upgrading your phone to a new device, adding a Bring-Your-Own-Device line, or even ordering a Home Internet line, you’ll pay the new $35 fee.
This brings T-Mobile right in line with its competitors Verizon and AT&T, who both charge at least a $35 activation fee already.
Obviously this isn’t good news for customers. Many choose to order online specifically to avoid this fee. T-Mobile had a bit of an excuse with the support fee before, saying that customers get personal assistance with device setup while ordering with a representative. By ordering online, you don’t get the personal help, so the fee wasn’t included. Now, with this new connection fee, that excuse is out the window.
The only transactions that will not include a DCC fee are ones that do not require a new device connecting to the network. This includes swapping out your SIM card or eSIM on an existing device or when adding a DIGITS talk and text line. Customers on the JUMP! and JUMP! On Demand program also have the benefit of a waived DCC fee. In addition, customers getting a replacement device due to an issue with the original device (dead on arrival, missing accessory, etc.) will not be double charged the DCC. Prepaid activations are also excluded from the DCC (for now).
This change will likely increase store traffic. Customers who previously would order online to avoid the $35 fee will now go to a local store since the fee applies either way. Plus, ordering in-person often allows the customer to walk away with their device in-hand right then, instead of waiting on shipping when ordering online.
The new Device Connection Charge fee begins November 15th. Home Internet (and other non-smartphone lines) begin charging the existing $35 Assisted Support Charge fee on November 3rd, and will then migrate to the DCC on the 15th as well.