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Thread: Move TF/ATT BYOP SIM from one phone to another

  1. #1
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    Move TF/ATT BYOP SIM from one phone to another

    I have an active TF/ATT BYOP SIM on an old Microsoft Lumia 640XL windows phone for about a year now. The Lumia 640XL is unlocked and on ATT's list of supported phones after 3G shutdown. However the phone is getting old and drains battery fast. So I used some reward points to buy a TCL A3 and moved the TF/ATT BYOP SIM over a couple of days ago. Everything, including VoLTE and WiFi, seemed to be working fine. But yesterday I logged into my TF account and when I tried to get the phone's balance, the system came back with the message "the device can't be found" (or something like that) without the balance information. I tried to send "Balance" to 611611 from the phone a couple of times, nothing ever came back either. But the phone could still make/receive calls or texts as normal. At one time I even remove the TCL A3 from my TF account and then added it back (using the BYOP SIM number). The phone would show up in the account (with the phone's number and a BYOP SIM icon) but a balance query would return the same "device can't be found" message. I got panic, because I didn't want to lose the phone number, and moved the BYOP SIM back to the Lumia 640XL. I then verified that the phone was working first - it did - and checked the balance again. This time the system came back with the message "the balance is currently not available". It wasn't what I expected but at least some improvement. Not until several hours late, I could get the balance information both through my TF account and a "Balance" text to 611611. It seems no harm was done but it was a scary ride though. I wonder if someone can shed some light to what might had happened.

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    As you know, the original SIM of a TF-branded phone is paired with the phone's IMEI in TF system. As such, TF system can refer to it using either the IMEI or the SIM number. I suspect that when you put the BYOP SIM into the TCL A3, TF system auto-paired the BYOP SIM to the TCL and displaced/purged the original SIM. That resulted in the "device not found" error when TF system tried to locate that device using the original SIM number. That used to happen only when putting a BYOP TF/Verizon SIM into a TF-branded phone. But now it appears that Verion (the new owner) is doing that for all BYOP SIMs, regarless of carrier. I think the takeaway is that the days of SIM-swapping are ending if not already ended.

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    Sounds the the balance checking system went down again.

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    It's not right to withhold balance information. Verizon knows the sim number, no excuse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ST Dog View Post
    Sounds the the balance checking system went down again.
    My guess is what hpham said. It happened to me few months back with a BYOP TF/VZW sim, that I was testing the new phone with. TF purged my pre-installed sim along with the 1500 minutes bundle that was on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    It's not right to withhold balance information. Verizon knows the sim number, no excuse.
    Verizon? They only mentioned an AT&T SIM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ST Dog View Post
    Verizon? They only mentioned an AT&T SIM.
    Verizon, as in the boss of the operation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    As you know, the original SIM of a TF-branded phone is paired with the phone's IMEI in TF system. As such, TF system can refer to it using either the IMEI or the SIM number. I suspect that when you put the BYOP SIM into the TCL A3, TF system auto-paired the BYOP SIM to the TCL and displaced/purged the original SIM. That resulted in the "device not found" error when TF system tried to locate that device using the original SIM number. That used to happen only when putting a BYOP TF/Verizon SIM into a TF-branded phone. But now it appears that Verion (the new owner) is doing that for all BYOP SIMs, regarless of carrier. I think the takeaway is that the days of SIM-swapping are ending if not already ended.
    Thanks, your explanation is very convincing. Good thing is everything seems to be still fine today - balance, phone calls and texts. I used to do thing like this before but had not encountered any problem. My other unlock phone is Moto E5, unlocked by Tracfone after a year's service, but unfortunately it isn't on ATT's whitelist. Time for a new unlock phone, I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ST Dog View Post
    Sounds the the balance checking system went down again.
    No, the system wasn't down. I checked the balance of my other phones and there were good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NanaC View Post
    My guess is what hpham said. It happened to me few months back with a BYOP TF/VZW sim, that I was testing the new phone with. TF purged my pre-installed sim along with the 1500 minutes bundle that was on it.
    If I knew about this beforehand, I wouldn't dare to try it. The phone has a healthy balance and service days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick880 View Post
    If I knew about this beforehand, I wouldn't dare to try it. The phone has a healthy balance and service days.
    I knew what could happen, hpham warned me and he was correct.

    If in doubt about anything TracFone related don't hesitate to ask here first. Such good knowledge people here more than willing to help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick880 View Post
    Thanks, your explanation is very convincing. Good thing is everything seems to be still fine today - balance, phone calls and texts. I used to do thing like this before but had not encountered any problem. My other unlock phone is Moto E5, unlocked by Tracfone after a year's service, but unfortunately it isn't on ATT's whitelist. Time for a new unlock phone, I guess.
    Just a data point considering your Tracfone variant unlocked Moto E5: I also have one of those unlocked E5s, and I was able to successfully activate it on another AT&T MVNO just a few days ago. So far I have not received any message that my phone is going to be incompatible in the near future, and I also get LTE data and VOLTE calling on the phone. It was a pleasant surprise because, like you, it was my understanding that it could not run on the AT&T network, and yet it does. Things may change after FEB 1, 2022 or whenever the date is for enforcement of the whitelist requirements.

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    Thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, the phone should work fine with VoLTE. The problem is ATT. What is their strategy about phones not on the whitelist after 3G shutdown. Would they actually do something to disable them outright or just let the phones be but deny future activation activities from phones not on the whitelist. In the latter case, the line will continue working until the SIM moves to another phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick880 View Post
    Thanks, your explanation is very convincing. Good thing is everything seems to be still fine today - balance, phone calls and texts. I used to do thing like this before but had not encountered any problem. My other unlock phone is Moto E5, unlocked by Tracfone after a year's service, but unfortunately it isn't on ATT's whitelist. Time for a new unlock phone, I guess.
    So I couldn't resist the temptation to move the TF/ATT BYOP SIM to the unlocked TF Moto E5 and did it after convincing meself that the experience I had with the TCL A3 might be the worse case scenario and an unlocked TF phone shouldn't fare worse. Well, it seems that way so far. It has been 24 hours now after I moved the BYOP SIM to the Moto E5. I have no trouble getting the balance information whenever I want to and the phone has been working with VoLTE (HD voice and simultaneously web surfing in LTE mode). Don't know if the phone will stay working after Feb. 2022 but by that time I might have an unlocked iPhone SE (2020) if Tracfone/Verizon's new unlocked policy is for real. Fingers cross.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick880 View Post
    Don't know if the phone will stay working after Feb. 2022 but by that time I might have an unlocked iPhone SE (2020) if Tracfone/Verizon's new unlocked policy is for real.
    Unless you plan to use the iPhone SE with another provider, whether it's unlocked or not doesn't change its behavior on TF service. You can still use it (unofficially) with a BYOP TF/AT&T SIM as in the past. If Verizon now requires the IMEI of the phone to activate a BYOP TF/AT&T SIM and you provide the IMEI of the iPhone SE, then their go/nogo decision doesn't depend on whether or not it's unlocked.

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