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Prepaid services are a great choice for those looking for simple, cheap, and hassle free wireless service. Get a SIM Card. Throw it into a device. Call it a day with a new number. Globally, this is a great benefit for GSM carriers – the SIM card is a versatile way to get a customer connected. Now with eSIM, it has never been easier as certain carrier apps even allow for seamless, contactless activation.

Prepaid is also a great budget option too – control spending on excess with no contracts or tons of fees or added services. It is a no-nonsense way to go. Unfortunately, where the world sees convenience, T-Mobile sees a new opportunity to create revenue streams at customer expense.

New Prepaid Fees Are Around The Corner At T-Mobile

Two major changes coming to T-Mobile Prepaid soon, and they’re not great.

First, what used to be a SIM card fee is now becoming a full “Device Connection Charge”. This fee will be enforced across most activation channels – in-store, online, through chat, and via customer care.

Secondly, shortly after that first fee is implemented, T-Mobile will introduce a fee for when you choose to top off your prepaid balance in-store (as in, pay your bill).

You can see both of the changes outlined below in documents obtained by us here at The Mobile Report.

T-Mobile currently charges customers for a SIM kit when they activate prepaid – if they even need one. If a device is eSIM compatible for the T-Mobile network, there is no fee to get rolling. Just pick a plan, add a desired balance, and it is ready to go. If a physical SIM card is needed, T-Mobile provided one for $10. This was the most a prepaid activation paid up-front.

As of April 3rd 2024, no matter the SIM type, it is a one-time Device Connectivity Charge of $25. That’s quite a steep increase. This also includes customers upgrading their prepaid device. Buying that device through T-Mobile will now include the $25 fee.

The plan to charge this new DCC fee was originally set for March 21st, but was delayed.

All of this just a few months after T-Mobile finally launched their convenient eSIM app for Android, too. In addition, no plan is safe from this $25 charge – not even T-Mobile’s affordable “Connect” plan.

The second change is a “Payment Support Charge”. If anyone aims to get their prepaid services refilled at a local store, it will now carry an additional $5 charge to do so as of April 25th 2024. Postpaid accounts are already facing this charge as of last year. It is now time for prepaid customers to shoulder their share of the fees too.

This is particularly egregious as prepaid customers pay in cash more often than postpaid. They are not target customers looking to be “digital ready” as T-Mobile put it. Internal documents say these customers are a smaller subset of the total prepaid population. But, they do exist, and shouldn’t be subject to scrutiny in the form of fees because of it.

All In The Name Of Keeping It Simple?

It is important to note that this change is barely over a month away. T-Mobile’s own smartphone app still does not support prepaid accounts. The clock is ticking to even provide a viable app management option for prepaid smartphone users that doesn’t involve the browser.

T-Mobile’s perspective is it is all in alignment. They are looking ‘to deliver a more familiar experience to customers.’ It also involves a 250% increase in price for connecting a prepaid line with a physical SIM card, but I digress. That’s the price of creating simple, consistent language. A shame it comes at the cost of the customer instead of the company enforcing that simplicity.

Currently, AT&T and Verizon do not carry any additional fees when activating prepaid services on their website. For once, ‘dumb and dumber’ of the Legere days might be onto something. Does that make “excessive prepaid fees” a solely Un-Carrier agenda item then?

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