T-Mobile prepping updates to Assisted Support and SIM card charges, leaked docs show

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T-Mobile is making some updates to the charges that it applies when you buy a new phone.

T-Mobile employees are now undergoing training for Assisted Support charges. Documents viewed by TmoNews show that customers will be assessed a $20 Assisted Support fee for new postpaid device activations performed in a retail store, through virtual retail, or through customer care. These include new devices purchased from T-Mo, Bring Your Own Device, Bring Your Own SIM, devices activated on DIGITS, and migrating from prepaid to postpaid.

If you want to avoid the Assisted Support fee, you can do so by activating your new phone online or through the T-Mobile app.

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This Assisted Support charge does not include the fee for a physical SIM card, which will cost an additional $10. Customers can avoid this $10 SIM charge if they’re bringing their own SIM, migrating from prepaid to postpaid, upgrading a device, or activating a device with eSIM. Devices with eSIM are subject to the $20 Assisted Support fee if you activate through a T-Mobile employee.

Right now, T-Mobile charges $25 for a SIM starter kit for new lines. The price for a SIM looks like it’ll drop to $10 soon, but you will incur the $20 Assisted Support charge if you’re activating a new device using a retail store, virtual retail, or customer care, meaning your total price for activating a new device with a physical SIM could be $30 total.

In the training docs, T-Mobile positions this Assisted Support charge as a way to help customers get all the benefits available to them. “When you choose to activate in a T-Mobile store or with Team of Experts it gives us a chance to help you with all of the benefits T-Mobile offers,” the carrier explains. “It also gives us a chance to make sure you’re getting all the promotional redemptions that you are eligible for!”

T-Mobile’s support docs also say that the Assisted Support charge goes toward T-Mo employees helping set up your new phone. “We’ll also help transfer all your contacts, passwords, and apps from a previous device. That’s one less thing you have to worry about when you get home!”

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T-Mo employees are expected to finish training on these Assisted Support and SIM charges this week, and so it’s possible that they’ll go into effect next week. A post on Reddit suggests that August 25 could be the launch date, but since the fees aren’t official yet, it’s possible that that could change. That post also mentions that T-Mo will roll out eSIM support on postpaid phones soon. T-Mobile launched eSIM support late last year, but the only phones that currently support it are the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR on prepaid.

Thanks, tipsters!

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  • GeoGuy17

    If you are nice to the customer service person you can get the SIM charges waived. The store often will not credit but online support does.

    • SurvivingSunnyvale

      Next will be charges for every time you call customer support.

      • Prod1702

        Very true, they will add something to automated phone system pointing people to YouTube to fix their issues or you may incur a support based charge on your next bill. The T-Mo store i worked at when I worked for T-Mo would not credit them because the manager would be written up for waving the charge. Stores are tracked when the fee is charged and not charged. If you did not charge the customer, you took the risk of being written up and you may lose your job. I remember telling a number of customers how to bypass the fee but then would lose commission since I did not make a sale. I only did that with customers that would always come see me since they were my trusted customers. Its sad but it is one of the many reasons I moved on and got a different job after 6 years of working for T-Mo.

      • Adam

        I used to use Anveo. SIP service for $6 a month, but phone calls to support $5.

  • Ver

    This article pi*ses me off.

  • NewTMobileUser

    Well this is disappointing from the uncarrier. It’s nice that the add in taxes and fees in to their plans but nickel and diming for sim cards and activations is very AT&T, Verizon and Sprint like. Hopefully they will change their minds.

    • Mike Smith

      Wow why? This is a GOOD thing. If you do it yourself you pay less than HALF what they were charging, and if someone helps you then you pay just $5 more than before.

      • Trevnerdio

        Way back in the day though, that little .5 cent SIM cost us nothing, so that’s what he’s getting at.

        • Mike Smith

          Still amazes me when people complain about a price cut…

        • Circuit Switched

          Uh, people are complaining because it’s a total BS fee to begin with. It used to be $0 to get a SIM card, and a real *uncarrier* would not charge a penny for one. Legere sits all high and mighty calling out AT&T and Verizon for their “bs” activation fee, yet has his own “upgrade support” and “sim” fees..

        • Trevnerdio

          Right, it went up from $0 and then came back down some. Can’t really call it a price cut when it was still cheaper to begin with. It’s just “less expensive” now.

      • Circuit Switched

        There shouldn’t be a charge for either of those things. You are clearly brainwashed by the carriers smoke & mirrors marketing tactics.

    • SirStephenH

      T-Mobile says taxes and fees are included but it doesn’t include sales tax when the claim is that TAXES are included. So instead of just paying for the down payment (if required) you’re also required to pay sales taxes up front which can run up to 10% in some parts of the country. Imagine buying high-end phones for a family of 4, that could range between $240-$400 in taxes up front.

  • justanormalguy13

    These fees need to go straight to the sales person that is helping. The way they’re currently paid, they are encouraged to get done with a customer as fast as possible to get to the next customer to increase their commission.

    • Prod1702

      This will never change since then they have to pay increased base pay which means that there is a granted pay and T-Mo may lose money. If they keep it the way it is now, it pushes the reps to sell more if they want to make more money. I am so happy i got a different job then working for T-Mo since they made me hate being in sales after 6 years with them. All these fees and more made me leave working for them a few years ago.

      • justanormalguy13

        I agree, glad I work somewhere else. They offered me a manager position, and I turned it down in a heartbeat.

        • Ron

          Where did you both move on to work? I’m also looking for a better job after being with them for 10+

        • Prod1702

          I went to school while working for them and got a IT (Networking Admin) job. It was a big change but it was well worth it. Only great thing about working for T-Mo is the benefits are very very good (CORP Employee). If you are full time, If I remember correctly they pay your school 5k a semester which was pretty good. I was able to go to night school mainly and work full time during the day.

        • justanormalguy13

          It was just a part time job for me. I moved on with my full time job and left TMobile.

      • Nikitao1

        Also interested were you guys would up. Long time Tmo employee myself through TPR, and have been having my work life recently. It sucks here now.

  • VanceDuke

    I used to be a big fan of T mobile, but over the last couple years they have trended closer to the big 2 they pretend to dislike. I can only imagine how much more customer unfriendly they’ll become once the merger goes through.

    • Prod1702

      Easy fix to this is to just buy your phone somewhere else then T-Mo or buy it online or with the T-Mo app on your phone. Problem fixed.

  • Manbearpig

    You basically paying to have a salesperson try to sell you overpriced screen protectors

    • SirStephenH

      Yep. All this does is discourage people from going into stores and stores rely on selling phones and these extras in order to stay in business.

  • matt

    as of today , you cannot use their website or the t-mobile app to activate or change sim cards. you have to go to the store. as of today , there would be no way to avoid being charged

    • (J²)

      I think this is an internal failure. You cannot upgrade yourself with Jump on Demand either.

    • JJ

      This is internal error of some kind because i was just able to do it and not pay fee.

    • Adam

      This happens to me when switching handsets between family members. If they use different sim sizes, the only option is to call customer care. Using the web gives an invalid sim error.

  • Ray

    Sounds very “carrier” to me.

  • Mike Smith

    This is GREAT news. Was about to add a like yesterday and annoyed by the $25 SIM free. If it goes down to $10 for self service that’s awesome.

    • Circuit Switched

      $10 for a piece of plastic that costs cents? GREAT DEAL!

      • SirStephenH

        We have a half dozen unused SIM cards laying around the house because they bundle them with every device so you can’t get around the charge. Such a waste…

    • NapoPeb

      All SIMs in the UK are free. You’re getting totally ripped off in the US paying for a SIM card. I’d never heard the like of it when I encountered this in the US.

      • Mike Smith

        Meh, I pay $25/mo for unlimited everything plus free Netflix… and I don’t have to suffer UK weather. ;)

      • Max

        We Get v8s and open land

      • SirStephenH

        We get ripped off on all kinds of things here in the U.S. We can’t even use internet or cable TV without paying for rentals of equipment required to use the very thing we’re paying for. If something is required for something you pay for to function then it should be free.

  • Mike Smith

    I wonder if esim activations will be free?

    • SirStephenH

      As the article said, only if the activation is assisted.

  • Eric A

    The uncarrier has left the building.

    • SirStephenH

      This is only a preview of post-merger T-Mobile…

  • JJ

    This is just hurting the employees. The customers can buy phone online and not have to pay anything. That just happened to me earlier. Didn’t pay one thing. But this is really uncarrier. Why hurt your people that are face to face with customers and have to do this.

  • Mike Smith

    The real question is does anyone charge less?

    • dtam

      the answer is “no”

    • Eric A

      You’d think if someone was doing a postpaid activation WITH a device purchase they’d be more than glad to do it rather than dinging them for a $30 fee as a disincentive.

      • Mike Smith

        Why don’t you tweet John and ask him?

  • dtam

    people enjoy it

  • Chris Espi

    When I decided to purchase my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, (half priced is the only reason I bought it). I argued with the manager on this and basically said, “I am going to pay you $25 for service over the next 2 years, $600, I am paying you, $70 down for this tablet plus tax, and you also want to charge me $30 to activate the tablet?” As I stated that I had been a customer for over 10 years and I was just about to walk out and go to another location, the manager told the staff to not charge me for the SIM card. I think it is just insulting that they can charge us for this and that, for their continued service. We will continue to get bad service unless we complain and complain some more.

    • riverhorse

      You’re basically proudly stating you’re either a broke ass or extreme cheapskate- and in demanding / militant fashion to boot.
      That heaven forbid, not giving you something for free equates to bad service.

      Worst of all, they gave in to your self absorbed demands, but you still bad mouthed them.

      Coincidentally today is Che Guevara Anniversary. His tactics and principles rock on still, despite the number of lives lost.

      • Chris Espi

        I would consider myself, ‘frugal’, ‘thrifty’ (aka Cheapskate). I am just saying, I am asking for a service, I am paying for a service and you going to charge for obtaining that service. So I am buying combo meal, but I also have to pay for you to put in on the tray or bag and then hand it to me?? I am just saying they are charging you extra for ‘part’ of the service you are already requesting. Broke ass or extreme cheapskate? You either pay for the service or you go with someone else and get what you would like.

        • riverhorse

          There are just too many things wrong there, including the scene with the manager, taking it out on the cheapest carrier…
          Everybody has to eat, good customers prop up deserving businesses .
          Luckily it wasn’t an Italian neighborhood.

    • Fan_Posting

      Well stated, And my suggestion Only is that these concerns Need to be Esclated to John Freier OR John Legere, who have the power to re-reverse a decision that impacts their customer base. Many sales folks and the front line, are trying to follow T-mobile’s directive, the Uncarrier Way, I guess.

    • Max

      “I’ve been a customer for 10 years” …sooo?

      • Chris Espi

        Loyal Customer?? Some consideration, I suppose.

    • Willie D

      Upgrade fees are the worst of them all. $20-30 fee for keeping me locked to a device contract for 2 years? Really? Fine, I’ll keep my old phone and you’ll give me a free one when you want me off your network when it’s time to move people to 5G

  • moonoverparma

    Thanks Veriz….I mean T-Mobile.

  • NewTMobileUser

    I think we can all agree that we need either a sim or an esim to use T-Mobile service so it’s a necessity unlike McDonalds sauces which are optional.

    If you go to Best Buy and purchase a new laptop are you expected to buy the power adapter separately? When you buy a car is there an additional line item on the invoice for a key? If a sim card and activation was optional I would be fine with T-Mobile charging a fee but since it’s required to get the services we sign up for I’m of the opinion that it’s an included cost of doing business and should not be passed on to the consumer.

    • Mike Smith

      I love it when people say what others should give them free… it’s not enough that they have the lowest price of any of the carriers? If you disagree with their policies vote with your wallet and find one you like better. Good luck with that. ;)

      • Circuit Switched

        Hmm Verizon only has a $20 upgrade fee too (but they are honest about what the charge is), and you get the benefit of better rural coverage.

        • Mike Smith

          Ugh Verizon. No thanks to legacy carriers and technology… and most people don’t consider “rural coverage” a “benefit”.

  • I don’t need hand-holding setting up a new phone and will never pay an “Assisted Support” fee. I tell them I can do it myself and don’t let them touch it. I’ve never been charged the $20 activation fee because I call them out on it and they waive it.

    Employees usually let me use their tablet / computer because they realize I’m a lot more tech savvy than they are. They would rather let me do that and help another customer that actually needs help.

  • NardVa

    I don’t have a problem with T-Mobile charging customers who want T-Mobile employees to set up the phone and transfer over their info, but sim cards should be free. You can’t tell people they should use esim to avoid the sim card fee when esim is currently not an option for the majority of T-Mobile customers.

  • Michael Elkin

    I don’t think this is a deal. The SIM cards used to be $25, but I never paid that. I always found those free or 99c deals or just buy it from ebay for a dollar or so and activate. Now they just want to charge for activation. App or online activation never worked for me. Store or calling into support are the only working options. I still have simple choice.

  • SirStephenH

    I don’t get it. Are they going to stop bundling SIM cards with phones? Right now every phone sold through T-Mobile comes with a SIM card in the box which makes it impossible to avoid SIM card charges.

  • Circuit Switched

    Uh, when you have a carrier that blasts all the others for so called “BS” fees, then it’s a big double standard to charge those same BS fees yourself.

    • Mike Smith

      But… they charge the lowest fees. What more do you want?

  • Willie D

    Interesting prices are going up after the merger approval, rather than down. TMo app blows and their online site prevents you from doing a lot, like sim/device swaps, seeing the actual price of devices per account line, etc. They kinda force you to call someone, and I’ll be damned if I ever will pay tha .