After deriding rivals, T-Mobile set to raise little-known fee

A mobile phone running on the T-Mobile wireless network. (Photo: The Desk)

T-Mobile is known for its aggressive publicity tactics, in which company executives criticize rivals for raising fees on wireless customers. So it always raises a few eyebrows when the Magenta company does the exact same thing to customers on the down low.

Starting in June, T-Mobile will increase its activation and upgrade support fees from $30 to $35, according to a support document circulated to T-Mobile employees and reviewed by The Desk.

The fees are known internally as the “Assisted Support Charge” and “Upgrade Support Charge,” and applies when a new customer activates a new line of service or when an existing customer adds a line of service to their account. The fee only applies when a T-Mobile customer uses a support specialist, known as a T-Mobile Expert, and does not apply when a customer activates or upgrades a line of service using the T-Mobile website or app (though T-Mobile customers who opt to avoid the activation fee may still be charged $10 for a SIM card kit).

It is the third time in two years that T-Mobile has increased its support-related fee: In 2021, the company said it would hike the charge from $20 to $25. A few months later, it increased the fee again to $30.

Last month, after competitors AT&T and Verizon announced various service-related fee increases, T-Mobile executives went on a social media marketing blitz, chiding their rivals for increasing fees at a time when everything else in the world seems to be getting more expensive.

T-Mobile said it would counter those moves by offering a “Price Lock” guarantee for new and existing customers, where the price of its tax-inclusive plans Magenta (currently $70 a month) and Magenta Max (currently $85 a month) would not increase.

“While AT&T saw this as an opportunity to increase prices on their existing and new customers, leaving both individuals and families with higher bills, Verizon is now reportedly mulling the same, leaving their customers wondering about their future bills,” Mike Sievert, the company’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post. “We want them to rest assured that while prices all around them are going up, the price of their T-Mobile plan won’t be one of them.”

In addition to its flagship Magenta and Magenta Max plans, T-Mobile offers special pricing for first responders, veterans and seniors over the age of 55. The company also offers a Simply Pre-Paid plan for $40 a month.