Activate AT&T Prepaid SIM or eSIM

Activating a new AT&T Prepaid wireless plan requires proper installation and initialization of the associated SIM card or eSIM profile that pairs with your compatible unlocked phone. Successful activation connects your device to the AT&T network for calling, texting, and data usage aligned to your selected prepaid plan’s allotments and term length. This guide covers best practices for activating physical nano-SIM cards and eSIM profiles on supported devices across AT&T’s Prepaid plans to ensure proper account setup.

AT&T Prepaid

Activate Prepaid SIM Card

If starting a new prepaid service using an AT&T Prepaid SIM card kit purchased at retail, first check that your unlocked phone has a nano-SIM slot compatible with the included SIM. Insert the SIM card securely into the tray aligned properly and reinsert into the device. Power the phone on and proceed through the initial prompts to detect the SIM and attempt automatic activation on the network, including acknowledging number transfer consents.

The activation process for the line and included phone number can take up to 15 minutes as the SIM initializes with AT&T’s back-end systems. Typically staying connected to Wi-Fi assists the setup. If automatic activation does not occur or errors display on-screen, contact AT&T support for the next steps before attempting normal phone usage.

Activate eSIM Profile

If you want to activate wireless service with eSIM instead of physical SIM card support on a compatible iPhone or Android smartphone, purchase the appropriate eSIM QR activation code online for your desired AT&T Prepaid plan amount and term. With the eSIM code purchase confirmation displayed on your phone, use the device camera to scan the QR code and trigger downloading of the unique digital SIM profile that starts the activation process.

AT&T Prepaid SIM or eSIM

Follow any additional activation prompts until receiving the confirmation that cellular plan activation succeeded and the eSIM profile is active allowing full phone, text and data usage aligned to the AT&T Prepaid plan details. Notify support immediately if any activation issues occur when scanning the prepaid eSIM QR code to identify the next troubleshooting steps before retrying.

Transfer Existing Phone Number

If you want to transfer over an existing phone number currently active with another carrier instead of getting assigned a new number, provide AT&T Prepaid with the appropriate account details to request the number change. Start the standard prepaid plan activation steps using a SIM card or eSIM profile first. Then contact customer support once the new line is provisioned to provide the prior account, transfer the PIN code if the existing carrier requires, and formally submit the phone number changeover request.


Clarifying key activation requirements helps ensure successful account starts on AT&T Prepaid wireless plans using the correct SIM or eSIM schemas. Review the additional details below:

What phone models support eSIM activation?

eSIM digital profiles allow plan activation without physical SIM cards on newer model iPhone and Android devices with integrated eSIM hardware. Always cross-reference your specific device make/model for confirmation of eSIM capabilities before purchasing prepaid refill codes.

Why does my new SIM card not fit the tray slot?

AT&T provides nano-SIM cards for compatibility with the smaller SIM trays found in most modern unlocked phones. If issues properly seating the included SIM card occur, ensure you are aligning the card cut-off corner correctly in the tray and no debris blocks full insertion. Contact support if hardware alignment problems prevent activation.

How long does it take to transfer my phone number?

Standard phone number changeovers when activating a new line of AT&T Prepaid service or moving your number from a different carrier to AT&T usually complete in under 2 hours assuming you have account PIN codes handy to validate the transfer if requested during authentication by the releasing carrier. Notify AT&T if port delays exceed 24 hours.

What account info is needed to activate AT&T Prepaid service?

To initiate the AT&T Prepaid SIM card or eSIM activation process with or without phone number transfer requests in the queue, have your target phone readily available along with the SIM/eSIM kit details and any relevant existing carrier account numbers. No extended personal info is required.

If activation fails, did I lose my plan balance?

No, prepaid account balances only draw down as monthly service allotments are used after successful activation when the SIM or eSIM profile connects properly to the AT&T network. Failed activations when starting service never impact budgets. Notify support to receive activation assistance without financial impacts.


Activating an AT&T Prepaid wireless plan with the right-sized SIM card or eSIM profile is required to connect your unlocked phone to coverage aligned with your desired prepaid service term and usage allotments. Completing activations properly also ensures that requested number transfers or issuances of new numbers are provisioned correctly across supported devices. Reaching out to customer support can resolve most activation issues if automatic SIM initialization fails.

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