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Thread: Why are eSIM Activation Cards so difficult to get from AT&T stores?

  1. #1
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    Why are eSIM Activation Cards so difficult to get from AT&T stores?

    I run dual SIMs in my iPhone 11, an AT&T eSIM, and a Verizon physical SIM.

    Recently some problems with my iPhone led to needing to delete the eSIM and re-install it as part of the diagnostic process. Doing this at the Apple store was a breeze, they went out back, got an Activation Card, and added a new eSIM to my phone and updated the ICCID on my account.

    Ultimately, Apple shipped me a replacement phone. Because it's so hard to get into an Apple store right now I went to a local ATT store Saturday and asked for an eSIM activation card. You would have thought I asked them for all their money and keys to their houses! After 20+ minutes of different reps asking me the same line of stupid questions, I finally gave up and left. I tried a different store on Sunday (and they were dead) and had essentially the same experience. I was even willing to pay for the silly thing and/or let the rep do the work while I waited.

    Today I finally surrendered and stood in line at the Apple store for over an hour to get another activation card (plus a spare) without the slightest hiccup. They seemed genuinely happy to do it.

    Anyone know what the big deal is getting them from corporate stores? I've probably gone in dozens of times over the years for physical SIMs and never once got the response like I did asking for an eSIM activation card. Doing some reading online it seems like this is a common problem.

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    the employees are not educated on eSIM and they are naturally wary of any customer who knows anything technical and threatens their ego

  3. #3
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    I called customer support when I signed up for service a couple weeks ago and the rep took care of everything. I received a pop up on my phone that at&t cellular plan was ready to activate and was up and running in minutes. I have a business account so maybe that is why it went smoothly. I tend to avoid carrier stores like the plague. Always online chat or phone support.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by geekboy1984 View Post
    the employees are not educated on eSIM and they are naturally wary of any customer who knows anything technical and threatens their ego
    And the funniest thing about this is that you don’t even need the QR cards anymore. Haha.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtludwig View Post
    And the funniest thing about this is that you don’t even need the QR cards anymore.
    How do you activate without the QR card?

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    Quote Originally Posted by geekboy1984 View Post
    the employees are not educated on eSIM and they are naturally wary of any customer who knows anything technical and threatens their ego
    I have definitely noticed!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    iPhone 7+ on the Verizon Network
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    Quote Originally Posted by wp3gi View Post
    How do you activate without the QR card?
    AT&T can use EID to activate without a QR code or having a physical SIM card with a QR code printed. Most reps are either resistant to having you take the easy way out or will flat out claim ignorance and thus most will give up and make you drive your fists through a wall after dealing with certain reps. If you are persistent you can get the right person in tech support to do it and it's a breeze. They take your EID number over the phone, enter it, and then presto: your phone activates in seconds.

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    I had the same experiences when esim. I have an unlocked SE. Wanted to use AT&T on the esim and Verizon in the sim slot. Called customer service and was constantly bounced around. Was literally on the phone for hours then the last lady sends me to the porting department even though I explained numerous times I didn't want to port out. The thing that was confusing everyone was the fact that I wanted to move my service from the sim card to the esim. I called back the next day and the guy acted like he knew what I was talking about. Gave me a bogus order number and everything. Card never came of course.

    So I finally went to a physical store and they all looked at me like I was crazy when I told them I wanted to move service from the physical sim to the esim. They told me it couldn't be done because the primary slot had to be active too. They also said it only worked if both services were the same. So after 10 mins of explaining and back and forth the guy said he would try it. He did a sim swap in the system and it worked! I scanned the QR code and a couple of mins later i had service. All of the reps were amazed and wanted to play around with it and see what the status bar said..it blew them away seeing AT&T AND Verizon up there at the same time. They admitted that I was the FIRST customer to ask for that. They had only done 2 esims EVER and both times the person was adding a line to their account. They weren't using a totally different carrier.

    Unfortunately until more people start using esim AT&T reps are going to remain lost. Even if they are trained they may forget if I user needing it doesn't come in until a year later lol. Not to mention I've seen plenty of people say the same as the OP. They prefer going to the apple store so unfortunately even the few people that use esim avoid the AT&T stores. Nonetheless I'm happy I was able to teach the reps something new that day but it is a shame how hard they make it to use esim

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    Wow, I had the complete opposite experience at an AT&T Corporate store.

    I walked in, and the place was packed, there were about 15 people waiting around. After about 5 minutes, the manager came over and asked what I needed. I had already called CS and they said to go to the store and pick one up and they would activate it by phone for me.

    I told the manager I needed an eSIM card. He said they were busy but would get to me ASAP. I told him I just needed the card and was going to activate by phone, so he went in the back and grabbed one and I left on my way. In and out in under 10 minutes.

    This was over a year ago, too.


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    This is enlightening. I've been skeptical about eSIM for a while, and the way AT&T requires a physical eSIM card to be obtained from a retail store instead of an electronic activation has been the dealbreaker for me. Today, if my phone stops working, gets dropped, damaged, etc.; I can pop that SIM out and into a backup phone and be up and running in a minute.

    Having to drive 35 minutes out to the nearest retail store in the midst of limited hours and this pandemic (assuming it's daytime and they're even open) or wait days for a SIM to show up in the slowed-down mail makes no sense. I really don't understand why I can't log into myAT&T on my computer, have them present a one-time use QR code on screen, and scan that with the phone to activate.


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    Quote Originally Posted by blkballoon925 View Post
    This is enlightening. I've been skeptical about eSIM for a while, and the way AT&T requires a physical eSIM card to be obtained from a retail store instead of an electronic activation has been the dealbreaker for me. Today, if my phone stops working, gets dropped, damaged, etc.; I can pop that SIM out and into a backup phone and be up and running in a minute.

    Having to drive 35 minutes out to the nearest retail store in the midst of limited hours and this pandemic (assuming it's daytime and they're even open) or wait days for a SIM to show up in the slowed-down mail makes no sense. I really don't understand why I can't log into myAT&T on my computer, have them present a one-time use QR code on screen, and scan that with the phone to activate.
    The good thing is if you have an iPhone you can do the esim swap yourself to another iPhone that has esim. It's an Apple feature but of course the old phone has to be working because you have to confirm the transfer on the old device but at least we do somewhat have the option to transfer esims on our own. I'm not sure if you can do the same on Android based phones.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjennings2510 View Post
    The good thing is if you have an iPhone you can do the esim swap yourself to another iPhone that has esim. It's an Apple feature but of course the old phone has to be working because you have to confirm the transfer on the old device but at least we do somewhat have the option to transfer esims on our own. I'm not sure if you can do the same on Android based phones.
    I wasn't aware this can be done with iPhones. Thanks for letting me know.

    I'm waiting on the iPhone 12 announcement, but I may try out the eSIM so I can put a prepaid SIM in it as secondary. Are there any known issues/limitations with 5G NR when using eSIM on Android?

  13. #13
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    Why are eSIM Activation Cards so difficult to get from AT&T stores?

    Quote Originally Posted by jjennings2510 View Post
    The good thing is if you have an iPhone you can do the esim swap yourself to another iPhone that has esim. It's an Apple feature but of course the old phone has to be working because you have to confirm the transfer on the old device but at least we do somewhat have the option to transfer esims on our own. I'm not sure if you can do the same on Android based phones.
    Can you provide more info on this? I wasn’t aware this was possible.

    Actually some info here:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210655

    Actually, this article is amazing. With iOS 13 you can transfer an eSIM from one phone to another.

    With iOS 14 you can CONVERT a physical SIM to an eSIM!

    Wow!


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    Quote Originally Posted by blkballoon925 View Post
    I wasn't aware this can be done with iPhones. Thanks for letting me know.

    I'm waiting on the iPhone 12 announcement, but I may try out the eSIM so I can put a prepaid SIM in it as secondary. Are there any known issues/limitations with 5G NR when using eSIM on Android?
    No problem! And no I haven't seen any issues dealing with the esim and 5g on Android yet

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSchnee21 View Post
    Can you provide more info on this? I wasn’t aware this was possible.

    Actually some info here:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210655

    Actually, this article is amazing. With iOS 13 you can transfer an eSIM from one phone to another.

    With iOS 14 you can CONVERT a physical SIM to an eSIM!

    Wow!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Sorry! I don't get on here daily but I'm glad you found the article AND just taught me something! I didn't know about the feature to convert the physical sim to an esim! That's great news in case I ever have to do it again because it was a hassle dealing with AT&T

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