How to Activate a T-Mobile Phone

By C. Taylor

You can register an older or prepaid GSM phone on a T-Mobile account.
i cell phone image by CraterValley Photo from

A T-Mobile phone requires activation on their network before you can use it. Normally, this is done at the store where you purchase your T-Mobile phone. However, if you want to use an older, compatible GSM phone, which you already own, you can activate it onto a new or existing T-Mobile account. You can also purchase a prepaid T-Mobile phone and activate it using T-Mobile's online activation.

Activating a GSM Phone

Locate the closest T-Mobile store by using Store Locator on the T-Mobile website.

Visit the location and verify the phone is usable on the T-Mobile network. The phone must be unlocked and GSM compatible.

Request activation on your T-Mobile account or create a new one. Since you are bringing your own phone to them, you may be able to avoid a contract, so ask if that's possible. If not, you can opt for a prepaid account on the same phone.

Prepaid T-Mobile Phones

Visit the activation page of the T-Mobile website. You can activate a prepaid phone at a store location as well, but the website offers convenient activation from anywhere.

Select the plan you desire on the left hand side and enter you details on the right hand side. You will need the activation code and SIM serial number, located on the card accompanying your SIM card. You also will need to know the phone's serial number, located on the back, under its battery.

Click "Activate phone" to activate your phone and continue setting up your account.