new T-mobile iPhone + $30 plan: how?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by c.s., Apr 14, 2013.

  1. c.s. macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2007
    Here's my question - if I buy the unlocked T-mobile iPhone from Apple at full price, can I activate the sim that comes with it on the $30 prepaid plan? And could I port my number to it? Wondering if anyone has done this.
    It doesn't look like you can order a nano sim from tmo's website without signing up for postpaid.
  2. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    Once you have your Tmobile account setup you can just call or go on the website to transfer your number to the nano sim that comes with the iPhone.
  3. BarkingGhost macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2011
    Atlanta+35 miles
    If this is the TMo iPhone 5 then Apple will charge you $70 more (16GB version) than TMo, and require you to maintain the activated service for 6 months before they refund you (onto your bill) that $70.
  4. BruiserB macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    Here's the process I followed:

    Got iPhone for $579 by activating new prepaid line with $50. I also had to pay $10 for an "activation kit" to activate the SIM to a prepaid line. I'm not sure I should have had to do this...he only did it when he was having trouble getting the iPhone price to come down to $579 in the system.

    Got assigned a new number to the SIM card that was in the iPhone.

    Never turned on iPhone with that SIM in place....was told that if there was any usage at all the next step wouldn't be possible.

    Put in my $30 plan sim and began using the phone.

    Got home and called customer service. Told them I wanted to cancel the new number that I had never used and asked to put the $50 over to my number that is on the $30 plan. The rep insisted that she couldn't do this, even though I had called and spoken with a different rep before buying the phone who said it would be possible. I got very upset on the phone and said I would be returning everything to the store if they didn't make this happen. She spoke to her supervisor and got approval to do a "one time courtesy" of transferring the balance. It showed up on my $30 plan account immediately.

    Now I'm stuck getting the phone SIM unlocked. I'm not sure that any of the T-mobile people I talked to understand the process. I was told by the first rep I spoke to that I had to have service for 40 days first (this is when I called in and gave the newly assigned number). Then the second person I called told me to call a number at Apple....she insisted that they would know the phone was paid for and unlock it. When I called, I discovered it was just the normal AppleCare number she had given me. The AppleCare rep was very apologetic and said that it must be handled by T-mobile. I told her I knew that was the case, but just was trying to follow T-mobile's instructions. I called back again after closing my newly assigned number and gave the number of my $30 plan account and requested a SIM unlock. They said they would submit it and that I would then receive an e-mail from T-mobile with the instructions of how to use the code to unlock.....I also knew this wasn't how Apple's unlock process worked, but decided to wait. Now I just received this....

    Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. We have received your SIM Unlock Request. Unfortunately, we are unable to process your request at this time. The account must meet the following criteria:

    1. 60 days of active usage.
    2. Must have $50.00 accumulative refill since activation.

    Please submit a new SIM Unlock Request once the subscriber has met the Eligibility criteria.

    Well my phone account does have item 1 and with the transfer yesterday I should also have satisfied item 2.

    I did see on here someone mention that there is a fax form to use to request the unlock. Any idea how to do that?
  5. c.s. thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2007
    So you can't activate the sim that comes in the phone (Apple retail, not TMo) on a prepaid plan? By calling them? I don't want to activate a micro sim because I will have no way to use it or test it until I get it transferred to a nano sim at a TMo store. No unlocked phone to "try it out".
  6. tee7788 macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2009
    Does anyone know if the iPhone 4 supports T-Mobiles 3G network? I just activated this $30 pre-paid plan and I'm only seeing 2G (EDGE) speeds. Does the iPhone 4S support it or just the iPhone 5? Thanks.
  7. BruiserB macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    Is it a T-mobile SIM in the phone or and ATT SIM? If it's T-mobile, you can activate it by getting a SIM activation kit. The kit comes with a SIM and an activation code. If the SIM in your phone is from T-mobile, you can use the activation code from the kit to activate it (from what I have read here before). On the sign up screen, type the number that is on the sim that came in the phone....get out your magnifying glass. Then use the activation code from the kit to activate it. That code is supposed to work with any SIM.


    iPhone 4 Supports T-mobile 3G in areas where Tmobile has moved their service from 1700 MHz to 1900 MHz (called refarming). Same for iPhone 4S except it will run at higher speeds than the 4. The refarmed areas are limited to most major cities.

    The iP5 will work on T-mobiles 3G/4G on both 1700 and 1900 MHz. They have much better coverage on the 1700 MHz frequency, but eventually it will all move over to 1900 as they will start up LTE service at 1700 MHz. So the 5 will give you better coverage now than the 4 or 4S.
  8. c.s. thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2007
    Just wanted to confirm that this worked. Thanks! I got a device-only iPhone 5 (T-Mobile version) at the Apple store, and a T-mobile SIM activation kit (to use the code only) – I'm all set up on the $30 plan.

  9. dewthedru macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2010
    good. glad it worked out. i didn't even have to get the activation kit. i just called up t-mobile and they allowed me to use the sim that came with the phone.
  10. upnorth85 macrumors 6502

    Oct 2, 2011
    MN, USA
    Did you pay $579 or $649?
    Please update when you get it unlocked. I guess if it was $649, it would be unlocked right from get go.
  11. c.s. thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2007
    I paid $649 - I wanted it to be unlocked out of the box and not have to sign up for one of the postpaid plans. You're making up that $70 really quick if you're wanting the $30 plan instead of the $50 postpaid plan, not to mention the tax. And you've got 30 days to return or exchange at an Apple store if it doesn't work for you.
  12. Pinkstiletto66 macrumors 6502

    Dec 12, 2010
    New York City.
    My is on its way to me. So it looks like its a hit or miss regarding using the sim it came with or not. Like I dont want to have to buy another sim if I dont have to. However I dont want to wait until last minute either. What so you suppose I do? For the person that just called up tmobile, did you just say you wanyes the thirty dollar plan and thats it?

    To those that werent having success before did you manually try to add the plan via the website first?
  13. bozzykid macrumors 68020

    Aug 11, 2009
    Technically the $30 plan on applies to SIM activation kits bought from or Wal-mart. You will have a hard time getting someone to activate it without a activation code especially on that plan. Many of the reps don't even know that plan exists. But if you play enough CSR roulette, you may get lucky.
  14. jimsowden macrumors 68000


    Sep 6, 2003
    That's a very interesting insight. Do you have any documentation they refund the $70?


    Not true, that used to be the case, but the $30 5GB 4G/Unlimited Text/100 Min plan is now a standard prepaid plan offered at retail POS
  15. fronesis macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2012
    A Better Way

    I haven't done this myself, but I talked with a very efficient, knowledgable and helpful Tmobile store manager today and we worked out a way to do this:

    1. Get a Tmobile activation kit and sign up for the $30 plan.
    2. Go to the Tmobile store and say you want to buy a full price, $580, iPhone, and that at the same time you want to top up your current account by $60, giving them the phone number for your $30 prepaid plan.

    By charging you the $60 for the top up, they are allowed to sell you the phone for $580, just as if you had signed up for a $50 or higher postpaid plan. But this let's you get the phone at that price by put the money toward the prepaid plan. Tmobile prevents people from buying devices from their store that they never meant to use on Tmobile's network (and flipping them for a profit on eBay or craigslist) and you, the end user, get the phone for the cheaper price.

    The manager also confirmed that by paying full price, you could immediately request on unlock from customer service. (And this fits the new online tmobile unlock policy – if you pay full price you do NOT have to wait for a time limit.)
  16. BarkingGhost macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2011
    Atlanta+35 miles

    Absolutely not. I can only report what Apple said. If Apple lied, its on tthem, not me or TMo
  17. Yeezus macrumors member

    May 20, 2013

    OP, you can order the T-Mobile SIM Starter Kit (includes $30 dollars of service which is basically the first month) directly from or order a SIM activation kit from the T-Mobile site. Once you have activated the plan, you can go to your local T-Mobile store, state that you are an existing customer, and that you want to transfer your data from the micro sim to a nano sim.
  18. maximus27 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2013
    Maybe someone can help me out, I have trouble understanding the US system. I'll be traveling to the US and buying a phone at the apple store. Can I use the t-mobile SIM I apparently get with the phone for the 30$ plan, without having to buy others kits or whatever? What's the difference to the 50$ plan?
  19. H2K03 macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Where is the policy online? The policy they sent me via email says it has to be activated for 40 days before you can request unlock, unless this is a very recent change?

  20. Col Ronson macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2008
  21. fronesis macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2012
    40 days is the policy now. You were quoting me from back in April. At that time TMO had said immediate unlocks, but they reversed course on that decision.

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