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T-Mobile customers have traditionally been able to avoid paying device activation fees by skipping the retail store, instead buying a new phone online. (via ), that loophole is closing soon: the carrier will add a new Device Connection Charge to most account changes that add a new device or line to a T-Mobile postpaid plan, regardless of whether it was done in-store or at home.


Internal documentation shared by T-Mo Report says the new $35 Device Connection Charge will apply to "all postpaid mobile" devices "when activating or upgrading with T-Mobile," including phones, tablets, smartwatches, hotspots, and more. It even lists BYOD, an acronym for bring your own device, meaning a new line that uses an existing phone will also be subject to the $35 charge.

The new DCC won't apply to every device change. Changing a SIM or eSIM on an already activated device won't incur a charge, and customers on T-Mobile's JUMP! upgrade programs will have the fee waived "as a program benefit." Business customers will only be charged the fee if they activate a new device in-store, and prepaid plans are exempt entirely.

T-Mo Report notes that, since there will no longer be a financial incentive for ordering a new device from home, this change will likely lead to an increase in T-Mobile's retail traffic. The new fee is set to take effect in just a couple of weeks, beginning on November 15 — so if you're a T-Mo customer whose phone is looking a little beat, upgrading online sooner than later could save you a few bucks.