T-Mobile may be joining rivals Verizon and AT&T by introducing an $35 charge for all new postpaid activations and upgrades, according to The T-Mo Report and some Redditors. According to T-Mobile internal documents, it's introducing a "Device Connection Charge" for "all activations and upgrades for mobile, Beyond the Smartphone and broadband devices."
Before, the Uncarrier charged activation fees only if you received in-store customer support for new activations, with online orders exempt. Now, all new postpaid activations are charged, whether or not you were assisted. This includes updating to a new device, adding a Bring-Your-Own-Device line, or ordering a Home Internet line, according to The T-Mo Report.
T-Mobile has always tried to separate itself from regular telecoms, but charging customers for essentially nothing doesn't sound very Uncarrier-like, if the reports are accurate. And you can't take your business to Sprint, as it no longer exists thanks to its merger with T-Mobile. When that deal was finalized, T-Mobile said things would be "better for customers," but constant activation charges would definitely not be better.
Worse, it appears to be justifying the new fee in a dubious way, saying it's "simplifying" the system to bring a "more consistent and straightforward experience for customers." In other words, you'll no longer need to wonder if you'll get soaked for the charge or not — you definitely will. Engadget has reached out to T-Mobile to confirm the report's accuracy.