T-Mobile launches eSIM for the iPhone XR, XS and XS Plus

The carrier now supports DIY line activation technology on Apple's 2018 iPhones -- but only for prepaid plans.

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Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
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Following in the footsteps of AT&T and Verizon , T-Mobile now supports Apple's eSIM technology, which lets customers activate a phone plan remotely and maintain two active lines simultaneously. 

T-Mobile customers can now activate a second line on the iPhone XS , iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR through the T-Mobile eSIM app. They're restricted to one of three prepaid phone service plans, however:

  • T-Mobile ONE Prepaid: includes 30 days of unlimited voice, text, and data for $70
  • Simply Prepaid: includes 30 days of unlimited voice, text, and 10GB of LTE data for $40
  • Tourist Plan: includes 21 days with 1000 minutes of voice, text, and 2GB of LTE data for $30
Watch this: T-Mobile wants to expand coverage and lower prices with 5G

T-Mobile customers looking to add a primary or family plan, or activate a second postpaid line on one phone, will have to go to one of the company's retail locations or use its DIGITS service, which allows up to five lines on one device. 

Read: Everything you need to know about Dual-SIM and eSIM on Apple's 2018 iPhones

eSIM is the software-based version of the traditional plastic chip that identifies you to your carrier. Apple's iOS 12.1 update enabled the feature for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR in October. After encountering technical issues, including "degraded" service and problems linked to visual voicemail, AT&T and Verizon delayed their support for the feature. 

With those issues apparently resolved, AT&T and Verizon launched support for eSIM earlier this month. Sprint has said that it will eventually support eSIM technology, but has not yet announced a timeframe.

Watch this: iPhone XR: It's the iPhone you should buy

Correction, 12:11 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this story had incorrect details for the Tourist plan based on information from T-Mobile. The Tourist Plan includes 1000 minutes of voice.

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