MetroPCS, now named 'Metro by T-Mobile,' received a fair bit of negative attention last year after it began charging all customers a $15 fee for the privilege of activating a new phone — even after putting a SIM card you already owned into another device. The company reversed the policy after enough customers complained, but there seems to be some confusion about the company bringing back the fee.
Metro has always had a somewhat-ridiculous process for activating new devices. As a holdover from when the carrier used a CDMA network, you have to provide your device's IMEI number to Metro for it to be activated. Metro decommissioned its CDMA network in 2015 (three years after it was purchased by T-Mobile), so there's not really an excuse for the carrier to still require manual activation, but I digress.
Before the drama started, Metro allowed customers to activate their SIM card with two methods. There was an online web portal/automated phone line, which was free to use, or you could contact Metro support (or walk into a store). The latter method costs $15, but in almost all cases, customer service representatives could cancel the charge. Last year's fee drama started when Metro began blocking employees from canceling the charge, thus making it mandatory for everyone. As we previously covered, this policy was reversed shortly afterward.
We received a tip a few days ago that Metro had once again started charging customers $15 for SIM swaps. There seemed to be a great deal of confusion about this, with some users on the Metro subreddit claiming it only applied when activating devices not purchased from Metro, and others saying a "security update" broke the process.
We reached out to Metro, and a representative provided the following statement:
Our automated system is undergoing updates. In the interim, IMEI changes over the phone are being routed to Care agents who are waiving the $15 fee. Customers can call 611, *228 or 888-8metro8 and our agents will be able to assist.
So there you have it — Metro's activation process may still be unnecessarily complicated and draconian, but it won't cost you money. If you're still annoyed with the carrier (and rightfully so), keep in mind that Google Fi now works on just about any GSM-compatible phone.