Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by James McAllister

By: James McAllister


1Do you have a new SIM card, and want to check whether or not the SIM card has already been activated?

In order for SIM cards to work correctly and to actually allow you to receive calls, it first has to be activated with your cellular provider.

So, how do you know whether service has been turned on or not?

In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!

How To Check The Activation Status Of A SIM Card

SIM Card

The easiest way to check whether a SIM card is activated is to place it inside of a phone, and try calling the number associated with the SIM card.

If the SIM card is activated, the phone will ring.

If the phone doesn’t ring however, stay on the line! You may get an automated message stating what is going on – for example, if the number has been deactivated, or the reason the call could not be completed.

This can provide useful information that can help you pinpoint the problem.

But what if you don’t have a phone to use, or the SIM card should be working? What should you do in these instances?

Read on to find out!

Note: SIM cards typically come in three different sizes – standard, micro, and nano. Not all SIM cards will work with all phones, at least not without an adapter. Therefore, make sure that you use a phone that accepts the SIM you’re looking to test!

Is There Any Way To Check Without Putting It In A Phone?

While putting the SIM card inside of your phone is the simplest and most straightforward way, what should you do if you don’t have a phone available to use?

Unfortunately, there are not a whole lot of options.

Some carriers may allow you to check the activation status of your SIM card by logging into your account, either on their website or through their mobile app.

However, this option isn’t available for all providers. For example a representative from AT&T has confirmed with us that there is no way to check on your own without putting it in a phone to test it.

That being said, your carrier should be able to check this on your behalf if you get in touch with them.

Here are the customer support numbers for the four largest carriers in the U.S:

AT&T: 1-800-331-0500

Verizon: 1-800-837-4966

T-Mobile: 1-800-937-8997

Sprint: 1-888-211-4727

What If The SIM Card Isn’t Working?

Let’s say that you placed your SIM card in your phone, called it, and it didn’t work – despite the fact that it’s supposed to.

What gives? And more importantly, what should you do now?

First, you should check to make sure that the SIM card isn’t broken. As small as they are, SIM cards are actually quite fragile – which is why its best to handle them as little as possible.

To learn how to care for your SIM card properly (and check for damages), click here.

If your SIM card is broken, you should be able to order a new one from your cellular provider.

If there doesn’t appear to be any damages however and the SIM card still isn’t working, it would be best to contact your carrier’s customer service.

Alternatively, if you have a retail location in your area, you can always stop by the store and get help from the people there. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile stores are located all throughout the U.S!

Can You Check When The SIM Card Was Activated?

We now know how to check whether or not your SIM card is activated, and what to do if it does not appear to be working.

But if it is already activated, is there any way to tell when it was activated?

It is hard to know for sure.

The carrier is likely to know this information, and should be able to see the first time the SIM card was connected to their network.

However, there is currently no way to find out this information on your own. While you may be able to view the first call made if you have physical access to the phone the SIM card is being used with, this information isn’t necessarily reliable. This is because a different SIM card may have been used with the phone previously.


Generally speaking, the easiest way to check whether or not a SIM card is activated is to put it into a phone, and try calling it.

If it doesn’t appear to be working when it’s supposed to, get in contact with your carrier’s customer service department or visit your cellular provider’s local store.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about SIM cards are activating cell service, please ask them using the comment form below.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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