T-Mobile Online Prepaid Activation Scam

I’d like to know how others may have gotten online activation of a fresh SIM card in a (cheap burner) phone to work on a standard $50 prepaid cell phone plan for use in a Puli hotspot. I have bitterly discovered that there are dead ends on their web site for both Android or iPhone browsers in either mobile or desktop mode, and I’m not alone, having found ongoing mention of one of these “bugs” going back 3 years. I bought a blank prepaid $10 SIM and a $60 prepaid refill card to cover first month and taxes. The phone is new G4 LTE T-Mobile ready unlocked, a $100 BLU J9L.

Given that there’s no activation fee for prepaid I will have to get it done in a store, I figure.

On Android there’s 2-3 types of dead ends using the prepaid activation pages, depending on browser settings:


(1) You enter IMEI and SIM# and finally get to select a new phone number but it says: “To get a new number, search for the area code or zip code in the location of your choice. Click search again after confirming the CAPTCHA above.” But there’s no captcha. This bug was reported three years ago with active responses by T-Mobile engineers, who didn’t fix it:

(2) You enter IMEI/SIM and end up on an account creation page that has an inactive Sign-up button. If you click through to Login you get a second chance, a text link to Sign-up but that then demands a phone number that I haven’t been assigned yet. If the original Sign-up button does work (desktop mode) it then leads to a name and zip code and PIN entry page with a Continue button that churns right back to the same page no matter what variation of email/PIN/ZIP/address I try.

The same thing happens on iPhone but I’ve never entered the captcha containing page from there.

They lock out your SIM number for several hours after every failure and issue a Request Timeout indefinitely by IP address block so I must use VPN to switch IP address to try again hours later. Clearing cookies etc. doesn’t help.

The unlocked phone itself lacks an assisted activation prompt though I can solely access the T-Mobile web site due to the SIM card already containing 2GB of use for that, a nice feature.

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