Follow Up: AT&T Says There's No Activation Fee For GoPhones

Earlier this week we posted an email from a man who said an AT&T salesman tried to charge him an “activation fee” to switch his daughter’s already-active SIM card to a GoPhone. We got a lot of useful (if sometimes contradictory) advice from readers in the comments section, and now an AT&T spokesman has written in with an official statement about it.

Saw your GoPhone post. I work with AT&T Corporate Communications, and wanted to clarify our policy related to this.

There is no activation fee with GoPhone. Customers can buy the GoPhone and activate but they cannot use service until they add airtime to their account. Customers can buy airtime for as little as $15 in over 200K locations. We do offer a promotion where if you buy $25 worth of airtime to start we will give you $10 in bonus airtime.

Customers also have an option if they are looking for a replacement device for postpaid to buy a Nokia 2610 for $39.99 in COR and not sign a contract extension. That program launched in mid-January.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


So there you have it: if your existing postpaid phone goes kaput and you don’t want to switch to the GoPhone program, buy the $40 Nokia 2610 from AT&T. Or just buy a cheap unlocked phone elsewhere—our readers left various tips on where to find them.

“AT&T Says They’ll Charge $25 ‘Activation Fee’ To Move SIM From A Broken Phone To A GoPhone”


Edit Your Comment

  1. lonewolf333 says:

    All this guy had to do was to buy a GoPhone at walmart. BTW you can do the samething with Tmobile phones.

  2. Cap'n Jack says:

    I just heard a radio ad this morning in Philadelphia that mentioned an activation fee, and also “you may be required to purchase a $50 data plan”.

  3. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    I still like the buy an unlocked phone idea. It just takes a little setting up if you get an unbranded one. I’ve bought 3 (myself, girlfriend, mom) and had no problems with them. All unbranded and unlocked. All off of ebay.

    It is nice to know that they are offering the 40 dollar phone now. That was always my fear, if my phone broke I would have had to pay huge fees for a new one. GG to AT&T for once.

  4. redheadedstepchild says:

    I thought my phone broke. I really didn’t want to sign another 2 year contract w/ATT, so I figure, I’ll snag a go phone and pop the sim in.

    ATT staff at 2 locations would NOT sell me a go phone w/o activating it on the spot. The second place I went to fixed my phone though, so I forgave them.

  5. cbear says:

    FYI, the $40 2610 offer is only available to regular consumer accounts. If you have a small business account, or a discount from your employer on your account, you can’t take advantage of this.

  6. consumerd says:


    All this guy had to do was to buy a GoPhone at walmart. BTW you can do the samething with Tmobile phones.

    I agree with you there, I used an old Nokia 6340i phone while my samsung t209 was getting replaced by t-mobile. All I had to do was unlock the phone from the carrier for $12. That phone recognizes any card I put in it.

    next phone I think I may shoot for will be a razor, but it will be a refurb I think.

  7. SkyeBlue says:

    We have 2 “Go Phones” and have never had to pay to activate them. One bad thing about them though, if you go too long without adding any time to them (I went without adding time to one for over 6 months) they will give your number to someone else or try and get you to buy a new SIM card (I think that is what it is called) for about $25.00. It is cheaper to just buy a new phone!

  8. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    From my experience, ATT wants to charge you an activation fee and extend your contract if you want to buy a phone at the subsidized price. I can understand the contract extension, but I can’t believe they would want to charge an “activation” for existing customers. Lame.

    I bought a refurb Go-Phone as a back-up to my regular phone. The selection and prices on the website are much better than in-store. Most of the ATT stores don’t carry refurb anyways. Overall, I’d say that ATT prepaid service isn’t too bad. Unused minutes roll over to the next cycle, as long as you refill it with $20 or more before the cycle ends. And when you buy the Go-Phone online, you also get a few minutes for free to get you started.

    And I’ve heard that it’s relatively easy to get a Go-Phone unlocked, since you’re not under contract and you paid full price for it to begin with. Just contact customer service and request it. You should get the unlock code a few day after. I’ll have to try this soon.

  9. davidc says:

    I have to relate a mostly good experience with AT&T Web Site customer service (Gasp!).

    On the morning deals a few weeks ago, I saw AT&T selling refurb GoPhones. I checked out the offering, read reviews and finally decided on the Nokia 6126 (refurb) for $39.99 with free shipping and ordered it. Later in the Day, my teenager son decided he wanted to upgrade his gophone as well, so I ordered a second one.

    They both arrived in a few days and everything was peachy … till I check the AT&T site the next week and see the prices had dropped to $19.99 for MY phones!

    So, ready to do battle I called up AT&T, whom helped me retrieve both of my order numbers and put me in touch with a CSR. I told the CSR that I bought the phones exactly 1 week ago and now the price has dropped $20. Without hesitation, the rep verifies the difference and credits both my orders without me having to make a fuss.

    The Bad news is when I checked my statement online, I only got $10 credit for each one! So another call to AT&T and got my $20 without a fuss.

    Upgrade two phones that felt like children’s toys for $19.99 + tax each … I used the $20 saving to buy 2GB microSD’s for each phone!

  10. AlphaTeam says:

    Just went to AT&T store today. The guy was pretty nice. Said he would wave the charges for a new SIM. Normally they are $25.

    Also I got another prepaid number for my business and he said AT&T now applies $25 to a new GoPhone accounts. So the SIMs are free, but you have pay $25 the first auto-deposit.

  11. Sam2k says:

    @AlphaTeam: $15 is the minimum, not $25…

  12. mikecolione says:

    @Cap’n Jack: That’d be for the PDA/Blackberry sale that started today. It’s not a go phone/prepaid offer.

  13. jhurley03 says:

    I used to work for AT&T customer service(the people that had to fix the errors of cor store agents and retail agents). That agent didn’t know what he was doing. There is no activation fee for going buying a prepaid phone to use on postpaid. If he just would have called customer service it would have been resolved right there. The agent should have also mentioned the 39.99 nokia 2610 option.