Saturday, March 05, 2022

The AT&T / Apple eSIM activation fee scam: $30 "discount" and a $30 activation fee

This is what you see when you go to buy an iPhone from Apple these days and pay full price:

You can choose "Connect to a carrier now" or "Connect on your own later". In this case they are the same price. 

If you choose "Connect on your own later  there's no additional fee. You swap the SIM card from your old phone and go.

If you choose "Connect to a carrier now" you will get an unlocked phone but it has an eSIM. It will also be "activated"; when that happens the eSIM is enabled and the old SIM card is disabled. Carriers charge a fee for activation. For AT&T it's $30.

So in this cases you pay $1,100 for the iPhone and there's a hidden fee of $30 from AT&T if you go the eSIM route. (I suspect if you switch a phone from SIM to eSIM you will also be charged $30.)

Sometimes Apple may choose to list the "Connect to a carrier now" with a "carrier discount" of $30. In this case they'll display the cost of the phone with the discount applied; the "Connect on your own later" will be $30 more. But if you choose the cheaper option you will get charged the $30 from your carrier. So Apple is .... lying about the price. Apple probably gets a kickback from the carrier,

Just choose "Connect on your own later" and pay the real price up front.

Twitter version:

AT&T's various fees, including this one.

Update 9/11/2022: For a semester in Italy we converted my daughter's physical SIM to an eSIM using the iOS convert to eSIM feature. Our next bill will tell us if there was a fee associated with the conversion.

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