Thu, Oct 4, 2012 

How to join T-Mobile's Monthly4G prepaid service with a micro-SIM phone

T-Mobile is offering customers an incredible catch-22… I mean, deal. I have wanted a Windows Phone for a year now but could not justify paying a smartphone-priced cell plan. So when I saw T-Mobile’s \$30 per month online-only plan I pounced. My Windows Phone dreams would happen–and all while saving \$20 over my current Verizon plan.

But it’s all a cruel trick and the system is broken. You see, the deal is only on the web, so I couldn’t buy the \$20 in-store SIM card kit since they don’t let SIM kits walk out inactivated. No problem, that’s what e-commerce is for. So I got my card online and only paid \$1.06 with shipping. Feel the savings!

T-Mobile SIM Card

But on arrival, it turned out to be the full half-acre: way too big to fit the cute little slot in my Nokia Lumia 710. I need micro-SIM, not full SIM. I went back online to get the other kit. Wait a minute, there is no other kit. Yes, I called and no, they do not sell micro-SIMs online at this time.

So here’s the T-Mobile Web/Store Deadlock™: the website won’t provide micro-SIM,the  store won’t provide the deal. I won’t retell the full three-day saga of phone calls and web searches, but I tried everything and even considered buying a SIM cutter (it’s always amazing how manythings there really are to buy). The system was completely broken and I couldn’t figure out why. The frustrating thing was the thought that there’s no way I’m the only one trying to do this.

In the end I didn’t buy the tool, as cool as it looks. Turns out you can simply go into any T-Mobile store and get an activated SIM card switched out for a micro-SIM. Activation involved entering long serial numbers from both SIM and phone into the website and doesn’t involve turning the phone on. So I activated the big card online without it ever touching my phone and got the deal. Then went into the store and asked for a switch-out to micro-SIM. Total price: free.

The system is not broken; instead it is simple and friendly. Too bad they never say how to do it! So I’m putting it here so that the world might know.

Steps to get a T-Mobile Monthly4G micro-SIM phone running:

  1. Buy SIM Activation kit on
  2. Activate online at the same site, remember to record the SIM serial number (helpful for step 4)
  3. Go to a T-Mobile store and have them switch the full-size SIM for micro-SIM
  4. Call T-Mobile customer service and make sure the new micro-SIM serial number is on your account (ensures the store representative did it right)
  5. Wait for confirmation text
  6. Fill account with enough money to get the first month started

If this saves even one person 1) from emotional stress or 2) overspending for a smartphone plan then I will be happy. I’m happy anyway because I now have a Windows Phone 7.5 and it’s connected: what a great experience.