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Thread: How/Why Does Total Wireless Want Customers To Get A New SIM Card When You Switch Phones?

  1. #1
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    How/Why Does Total Wireless Want Customers To Get A New SIM Card When You Switch Phones?

    I have been a Total Wireless customer for a few years now. I came from post paid/contract Verizon and all of my smartphones were compatible with Total Wireless. I recall reading that Total Wireless wants users to get a new SIM card each time they switch phone. However, I have also read that people have activated a SIM card in a phone and installed it in a different smartphone and everything works fine.

    So, I am just wondering why Total Wireless wants customers to do this each time? I gather that they have no way of enforcing it, since swapping SIM cards has worked for some customers in the past.

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    For whatever reason, their system gives a "SIM already activated" error when you try to activate a new phone with an existing SIM. Luckily you can reuse SIM's, so I always have a couple extra lying around whenever I want to swap phones. You can just insert a SIM into a compatible phone anytime you want, but things like WiFi Calling and Mobile hotspot may not work unless you register the appropriate IMEI with them.

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    Of course if the sims "active" you wouldn't be "activating" it in another phone with a new number etc. But you can pop it in the other phone and use it like many do. If TW doesn't auto update the imei/sim pairing like PP does you may (or may not) have some issue down the line. But not a problem. Just contact TW and have them re-pair the sim with the new phones imei. It's not a new sim activation, it's just changing phones.

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    I have bought a bunch of them, a while back, from Amazon, at $0.99 each. Next day delivery. Problem solved.
    https://www.amazon.com/eGift-Promoti...dp/B072FTW1MB/

    PS: Note that, when upgrading a phone online, the old phone+SIM pair are moved to a "deactivated" state, but still connected to the account, ready to be reactivated immediately if a line becomes free. So maybe that's why Tracfone insists in marrying the SIM to the phones.

  5. #5
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    I know Sprint locks SIMs to the device that is activated with it, so I did a little research.

    From what I've been reading, CDMA carriers have to have an "activated pair" of phone and SIM, so the sim is supposed to be locked to the device and vice versa.

    Since Total Wireless uses Verizon, another CDMA legacy carrier, this could be why they have this requirement.
    Drako Swiftclaw

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    I think this may be an issue since TW is a MVNO. I've had to give the IMEI with my iPhones to get VoLTE, etc, in the past on Verizon MVNOs. But when I was directly on Verizon, I could just swap SIMs between compatible phones.
    iPhone 11 is my current primary phone. But I have more phones than lines. Back to only Prepaid with the changes in the economy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevink1 View Post
    But when I was directly on Verizon, I could just swap SIMs between compatible phones.
    But then you only had LTE and VoLTE. No CDMA fall back if needed. Verizon started to accept CDMA-less phones on their system a while back, but they didn't give that option to MVNO's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
    But then you only had LTE and VoLTE. No CDMA fall back if needed. Verizon started to accept CDMA-less phones on their system a while back, but they didn't give that option to MVNO's.
    I'm pretty sure that the last time I was directly with Verizon, and swapped SIMs between phones, that Verizon still supported CDMA. And the phones I was using was Verizon compatible phones with CDMA support. I've never tried to use a Verizon based carrier yet with a phone that didn't have CDMA support.

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    since Verizon launch of LTE the CDMA credentials have been stored in the SIM card, which actually has its own MEID number separate from the one in the phone. From the start Verizon SIMs could be swapped between devices. Now for certain features like visual voicemail they may need a correct IMEI in the system to know how to provision but basic calling and data should work by simply moving the SIM. Sprint on the other hand early on had LTE data authenticated from the SIM but CDMA programmed into the handset. It was actually possible to pull the LTE SIM card an use the device 3G only.

    than things got really weird with sprint and they had a bunch of different SIM cards depending on the handset model. i believe sometimes the CDMA was authenticated from the phone and sometimes from the SIM but no matter what the phone IMEI and SIM ICCID were always tied together and SIM swapping between device not possible without updates on the back end.

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