Switch SIM cards on AT&T

September 19, 2014 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment

I do something that is probably pretty common.  Every year, one of my cell phones (mine or my wife’s) comes off contract, giving me a subsidized price on a new phone.  My wife, being the loving and less gadgety one, allows me to use her upgrade to get the new hotness.  Doing this, I’ve only skipped the release of the iPhone 5 (due to problems requiring an early upgrade one year).

Today, I got my new iPhone 6, upgraded on my wife’s number.  I moved the SIM from my iPhone 5S over to it, restored it, and all was good.  It was immediately active with my phone number.

I backed up my wife’s phone, restored it to my iPhone 5S…  And nothing…  The number remained active on her old phone.  Since her old phone was a 4S, the SIM from it wouldn’t fit into the 5S.

So, I drove to an AT&T store to get her number transferred to the 5S.  After consulting with a tech, I found out that the SIM card I had removed from the new iPhone 6 was “parked”.  It just needed to be activated.  To do so, I just needed to call 866-895-1099.  It’s a completely automated system.  You just enter the phone number to activate, the billing zip code, and the last 4 of the social of the primary account holder.  Then, it tells you to turn off the device you are trying to activate and wait 5 minutes, then turn it back on.

I somehow doubt the reboot is really required, but I did it anyhow, and her number was active on her phone right after it completed booting.

Now, there was zero documentation in the box instructing me on how to do this.  Perhaps if I had left the SIM card in the iPhone 6 and let it talk to iTunes prior to moving the SIM, it would have activated…

So, I’m partially posting this to help others, but I’m also posting this so I have a reference to look at next year, assuming I order another iPhone…

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Entry filed under: iPhone.

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