I have been activating SIM cards for a very long time and the one thing I can say about SIM card activation is that it’s pretty much the same regardless of which carrier the SIM card belongs to.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will have several options to activate your SIM card whether it be online, at a participating retailer, or by calling customer support. By using either option, you can either transfer an existing phone number or activate your SIM card with a new number.
My preferred way of activating a SIM card is online and that’s because it’s the fastest of the three options and cheaper than doing it at a retail store because some retailers charge an activation fee.
The SIM Card Activation Process
1. Does the SIM card fit your phone?
Before you start activating your SIM card, first check that you have the right size SIM card for your phone. The current sizes are standard, micro, and nano.
It is also worth noting that the SIM card you plan on activating is new and has never been used before. You cannot reactivate a used SIM card!
2. Is your phone compatible with your SIM card?
Secondly, make sure that the phone you are using is compatible with the SIM card you plan on activating. A carrier locked AT&T phone should work with an AT&T SIM card but it will not work on a T-Mobile SIM card unless the phone is unlocked.
If you plan on using your SIM card for just talk and text then you shouldn’t need to unlock your phone. You should only unlock your phone if you intend to use it with a data package.
3. What account information you will need in order to transfer your phone number
Before you can transfer your number, you will need to gather some required information about the phone number being transferred.
If you are on a contract, then you will need your SSN, if it was used when you opened your account, address, account number, password, and of course the phone number being transferred.
If you are on a prepaid account than you will only need your account number, account password, and the phone number being transferred.
Most of the time, you will need to contact your service provider to obtain this information, especially the account number.
When transferring your phone number over to another provider, there is no way around this requirement. I often hear people get offended when they are asked for the SSN to transfer their number. If this is you then maybe you shouldn’t transfer your phone number.
The requirement to provide your SSN comes from your current service provider and not from the provider to whom you are transferring your phone number too. All this information is required to verify your account and that it is actually you who is requesting the transfer, so any typos or mistakes on your end will result in a failed transfer.
4. Choosing a cell phone plan
Almost there, but before you get started you should already have a good understanding of the plan you want before your start the activation process.
5. Payment method
Before you can actually activate your SIM card online, you will need a credit card to purchase your first month of service unless you are using preloaded SIM card or the provider is giving the first month free as a promotion.
How to Activate a SIM Card Online
Once you have your phone and new SIM card ready, you are ready to start the activation.
Start by going to your new provider’s website and look for an “activate” link or use the search form and type “activate”.
In most cases, you will be required to create a free account on the provider’s website before you can start the activation process.
Follow the on screen instructions to activate your SIM card on a new number or select or look for an option that says, “port number” to transfer an existing phone number. If you get stuck you can always use the chat button to chat with a live representative. Some providers have 24 hours online customer support while others have agents available during their business hours.
Carrier Specific Activation Tutorials
In this section of the post, I will go over specific SIM card activation instructions for certain carriers. I will add more carriers to this post as time passes.
Activate A SIMPLE Mobile SIM Card
To start activating your Simple Mobile SIM card, go here: http://www.simplemobile.com/activate.
On the first screen, enter the SIM card number located on the back of the card and hit “continue”.
Use the first option to activate your SIM card on a new number or use the third option to transfer an existing phone number.
Enter the information that applies to your type of activation and then pay for the first month of service.
[More on Simple Mobile SIM card activation]
Activating an Ultra Mobile SIM [Purple or Orange SIM cards]
For an Ultra Mobile SIM card activation, there are two types of SIM cards: a purple SIM card, which is just a regular SIM card and an Orange SIM card which includes the first month of service for free.
To start activating your Ultra Mobile SIM card, head over to https://my.ultramobile.com/activation and choose the purple SIM card option.
On the next screen, enter the 19 digit SIM card number located on the back of the SIM card and hit the “Start Activation” button.
On the following screen, choose between activating your SIM card with a new number or transfer an existing number. Enter the requested information and move on the next step to pay for your first month of service.
To activate an Ultra Mobile Orange SIM card, use the same link above to go Ultra’s activation page but this time select the Orange SIM card.
Flip your Orange SIM card over and scratch the faded area to reveal the fast-act code and then enter it in the given field.
On the next screen, select the area code you want by providing a zip code.