Metro by T-Mobile reverses $15 SIM swap fee after backlash

SIM cards
SIM cards (Image credit: Android Central)

Update: Metro by T-Mobile is reversing its decision to charge a $15 fee whenever you put your SIM card in a new phone. In a statement, the carrier has confirmed that all Metro customers will be able to carry out a device change free of charge by calling the customer care or using Metro's automated system:

All current Metro customers can now complete a device (IMEI) change free of charge by calling 611, *228 or 888-8metro8 and using our automated system.

Original story follows:

T-Mobile refreshed its MetroPCS sub-brand earlier this year, changing its name to Metro by T-Mobile and introducing new plans. The carrier continued to offer the base 2GB data plan for $30, while rolling out more enticing options in the form of a $60 plan that offered unlimited LTE data, 100GB of Google One storage, and a free subscription to Amazon Prime.

However, it now looks like Metro by T-Mobile is charging a $15 fee for switching devices. A Reddit thread from November (via Prepaid Phone News) suggests that the $15 charge was in effect for some time now, but you could get the fee waived off by talking to customer service.

The way Metro works is that you have to either walk into a store or talk to customer service when switching your SIM so that the carrier can register the new device's IMEI with your phone number. But with customer service no longer able to waive the fee, you'll have to shell out the $15 charge every time you switch between phones you already own.

MVNOs have gained momentum in recent years as they offer more flexibility in pricing, but anti-consumer moves like this don't inspire a lot of confidence. Thankfully, there's no shortage of options in this space.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • Dck move, plain and simple.
  • i dropped them yesterday and joined cricket. I have several phones that i switch between every few days.
  • Well if Tmobile is pulling this crap the others will most likely soon follow. It's like they want to drive people away. I noticed couple days ago at Walmart that Total wireless was charging $20 for a sim card. The prepay market is super price sensitive. One would think these fools would want to get more people on their network rather than taking a one time bite outa folks. There is such a thing as throwing up barriers to entry. Im thinking of trying US mobile. To heck with this crap. I finally have home wifi so all I really need is talk and text.
  • Wow what a lousy move. I used to swap between phones weekly so I understand the pain of people who still want the freedom to do that and now cannot on this service. Such a bad move.
  • I was actually debating switching to Metro as their coverage has greatly improved in my area in the past year or 2. I guess I'll have to switch to AT&T prepaid instead.
  • For what you can get at Metro, you'll spend quite a bit more at AT&T prepaid even if you switched phones every month.
  • Except for coverage.
  • Just freaking brilliant t mobile!!!
  • Perfect reason to find a new carrier. BS fees like this are very anti-consumer.
  • Nah. You can get 5 lines with unlimited data, hotspot, talk, and text for $140 a month after taxes and fees. That's pretty consumer friendly.
  • BS fee, but this likely only affects a very few people.
  • Just wait until TMO merges with Sprint. Let the fleecing begins.
  • It will probably only affect 1-2% of the Subscribers as most people do not switch sim cards
    that often and they are ok with that.
    I personally Think its a bullshit fee on top of that they add cell Tax so it comes
    out to $17.42
  • Wait you can't just swap SIMs on your own? What year are we on 😲 Never ever had to call the useless carriers for anything. Buy non carrier unlocked phones and swap SIMs between them on T-Mobile. Weird limitation on Metro PCS. Can never imagine being on a carrier where such kind of bullshit limitations are in place.
  • I'm okay with it considering how dirt cheap they are. But, then again, I only switch phones about once a year.
  • It seems like a sucker fee to me, praying on clueless users. There's absolutely no reason to call CS or go into a store to take your SIM out of one phone and add it to another. That's just how GSM service has always worked.
  • If T-Mobile also implements this, they will lose me and my girlfriend as a customers immediately. I'll switch to AT&T or Cricket if I have to.
  • AT&T and cricket don't touch Metro prices. $140 for 5 lines of unlimited data, hotspot, talk, and text is cheap and the other carriers are going to hit you with close to $200 for that even at cricket
  • They also don't touch Cricket's coverage
  • lol why some of y'all mad about this? Unless you're just switching phones weekly, I don't understand what the issue is. 5 lines for unlimited data, hotspot, talk, and text for $140 a month. I'll spend an extra $15 gladly for switching a phone once a year.
  • It's a precedent. I agree with you in principle.
  • WOW. That is absolutely the dick move of the year. If i was on Metro I would drop them today for that reason. That is total bullshit. Shame on them.
  • Drop them and end up paying more every month for my service on another company or pay the $15 extra once a year when I switch phones? Not a hard choice.
  • Once a year phone switcher, sure. I swapped my sim about 20 times in 2017.
  • They're going to get some upset customers who need to flip back and forth to a backup phone. My usual scenario is phone breaks, switch to an old phone until a replacement arrives. That would cost me $30 for something that costs them near $0.
  • My mom's phone literally shattered exactly as this was implemented and was charged the $17 just to switch to a phone she already has and will only be using for an EXTREMELY short period of time before she gets a better one. Stupid and greedy move metro
  • I work in a Walmart and Straight Talk doesn't even let you switch Sims between phones so. Some people it works for them however others it doesn't.
  • I hope this isn't a sign of what's to come with other t-mobile MVNOs. But if I were on Metro, I'd run to another service immediately.
  • How shady and Big Magenta-like.
  • Bad news for someone with three phones...
    I already thought it was dumb that they charge you a $30 upgrade fee when buying a new phone from them, even if you pay for the phone outright like I did recently for someone.
  • Honestly, I just did an exchange with Asurion and nobody told me this. I had to regret to my basest, most ignorant self to get this taken care of. By the time I was done, I'd successfully explained that if they didn't inform me of this fee when I ordered the phone that I wasn't paying it.. Needless to say, they wound up waiving the fee since they didn't disclose it previously. Smh. I think I'm going to switch soon.
  • I'm so confused by this. This is how CDMA works, NOT GSM. As long as your APN settings are correct the phone will just work with the SIM. What am I missing here that they're needing to do and charging for?
  • Unlike virtually all other GSM based carriers, MetroPCS requires you contact them if you need to move your service to another phone. Just moving the SIM over will not work. A long time ago MetroPCS used to be a CDMA network so maybe that is why they work like that.
  • So. now they will allow refunds but why are they charging in the first place? I'm sure not everyone will know until they get the bill... like all other fees, they are banking on a few million people not looking at their bills carefully...
  • Funny, I was just dealing with this shitshow when I got my Pixel 3 XL. I switched to Metro 10 years ago from Verizon because at the time the "Big 3" (or whatever) was still pulling their contract shenanigans, and I've been 100% happy with Metro and no issues. When I got my Pixel it was dealing with the well-known SIM card bug, and Metro had the gall to charge $15 for the switch and then another $15 for the switch back because the new Pixel couldn't read the SIM. I said **** it, signed up for Fi with e-SIM and didn't look back. Kinda wish I could get my $30 back now though, just on principle.