How to activate a Simple Mobile SIM card

Find out how to activate your Simple Mobile SIM card and program your APN settings.

I activated Simple Mobile SIM cards regularly as part of my job and will show you how to do it yourself to save you from paying an activation fee.

You can activate your Simple Mobile SIM card over the phone, online, or at a retailer. I will give you a general walk-through of all three methods and show you how to program your APN settings.

Simple Mobile compatible phones

You will need a T-Mobile branded or unlocked GSM phone to use with your Simple Mobile service because Simple Mobile is a GSM service provider that operates on the T-Mobile network.

Simple Mobile has a small selection of phones on its website that are decently priced if you want to purchase a phone.

You can also find a better phone on eBay or Amazon if you know what to look for, but you can also use an AT&T phone if you have one.

Unlock an AT&T cell phone to use with Simple Mobile

You can use your AT&T cell phone on your Simple Mobile service if it is unlocked. Your AT&T cell phone must not be on an active contract with AT&T or blocklisted to unlock it successfully and use it with your Simple Mobile service.

An easy and free way to unlock your AT&T cell phone is to get an unlock code from AT&T by contacting customer support. You can only use this method if your phone is not blocklisted or on an active contract. Contact AT&T to unlock your cell phone if it meets the requirements.

Is your phone's IMEI clean? Before calling AT&T, make sure your phone is not blocklisted if it was passed down to you by someone or if you bought it from an online marketplace. Use this online tool to check the status of your device's IMEI number and to verify that it is clean.

Tip: Dial *#06# to get your IMEI number. Alternatively, you can get your IMEI number from your phone's settings tab.

Another way to unlock your AT&T device is by purchasing an unlock code from a third party. Search Google for more information on using this approach.

Alternatively, you can use a locked GSM phone with Simple Mobile for just talk & text—no data. If your phone supports CDMA and GSM technologies, you must enable GSM capability through your device's settings.

Note: if you cannot find the setting that switches your CDMA cell phone to GSM, the phone is incompatible.

Transferring your existing number to Simple Mobile

Activating a SIM card with a new number is much easier than porting an existing one. But before you begin, you’ll need to contact your current carrier to release your phone number for transfer and to get your account number and password. Once you have that information, you can proceed with one of the activation options below.

Note: if you are on a contract, you will need your account number and password, the account holder’s first and last name, the address on file, and SSN before transferring your number to another carrier.

Activating your Simple Mobile SIM card

You can activate your Simple Mobile SIM card over the phone, online, or at a participating retailer.

Do this before activating your Simple Mobile Sim Card:

  • Find the 18-digit SIM number.
  • Make sure your SIM card fits the phone’s SIM slot.

Over-the-phone activation

Call 877-878-7908 to activate your SIM card if you do not have internet access. If you make a mistake, you can speak to a live representative.

Follow the prompts after calling the toll-free number but make sure you select the option to transfer your existing number if that is what you want. The system will assume you want a new number if you do not hear the option to transfer your current number.

Even when you speak to a representative, tell them that you want to transfer your phone number; otherwise, they will continue activating your SIM card under the assumption that you want a new number. I say this because it has happened to me in the past.

Online activation through the Simple Mobile activation portal

To activate your Simple Mobile SIM card online, go to Simple Mobile, and on the activation screen, choose an option:

  • Activate a Simple Mobile phone
  • Bring your own phone 

On the next screen, enter your 19-digit SIM card number, choose a service plan, and finally pay for the first month of service.

If you are transferring your current number to Simple Mobile, remember to contact your current carrier to release your number for transfer to another service provider and to get your account number and password.

Retail store activation

Here’s what you should consider before going to a Simple Mobile retailer:

  1. Call to ask if they are an authorized retailer
  2. Ask if they charge an activation fee and how much
  3. Ask if programming the APN is part of the activation
  4. If applicable, ask if you must purchase a SIM card from them because most retailers only activate SIM cards registered under their name

Programming your Simple Mobile APN settings

Programming your Access Point Name (APN) settings enables your phone to access the internet.

To program your Simple Mobile APN, navigate the phone's settings screen and locate the APN settings tap.

Depending on your device, the APN settings are usually under Network settings. Under the APN settings tab, create a new Access Point Name and fill out the input fields.

The input information you need depends on your phone's make and model. You can get the correct information by visiting the APN settings page and entering your SIM card number in the input field.