Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Carrier Do I need a new '5G SIM card" for AT&T?

Steviejobz

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 19, 2010
2,107
343
SoCal
I want to swap the SIM card from my current iPhone 11 Pro Max into the iPhone 12 Pro I just ordered. However will the SIM cards be compatible? Does AT&T need to "tell" that the device is a 5G compatible phone and not being used in a 4G LTE phone?

I use AT&T.
 

Paco II

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2009
2,216
679
I want to swap the SIM card from my current iPhone 11 Pro Max into the iPhone 12 Pro I just ordered. However will the SIM cards be compatible? Does AT&T need to "tell" that the device is a 5G compatible phone and not being used in a 4G LTE phone?

I use AT&T.

5G access on AT&T is associated with your plan, not your SIM. Your current SIM should work fine unless it happens to be really really old. But main thing is that your plan may not offer 5G. You'll want to check with AT&T.
 
Comment

donawalt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2015
559
246
5G access on AT&T is associated with your plan, not your SIM. Your current SIM should work fine unless it happens to be really really old. But main thing is that your plan may not offer 5G. You'll want to check with AT&T.

From what I have been reading, there is in fact a reason to use the new 5G SIM card. Security and privacy features in 5G may not be fully compatible with a 4G SIM card. This is one of the articles I have seen, it seems to explain why 4G SIM cards will "work" but not completely. I have also seen some carriers who basically explain it that a 4G SIM will work on the 5G networks that are in a compatibility mode of 4G/5G, but a true 5G network there will be issues; I have also seen it's an issue of whether it's a new account (where the security kicks in) or an existing account - which also may be why it works for many. I am no expert and much of this is over my head, so read and comment if you like!

 
Comment

Paco II

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2009
2,216
679
Do we even know if the carriers have the special 5G SIM card discussed in this article (Rel 99+ USIM)?

From what I have been reading, there is in fact a reason to use the new 5G SIM card. Security and privacy features in 5G may not be fully compatible with a 4G SIM card. This is one of the articles I have seen, it seems to explain why 4G SIM cards will "work" but not completely. I have also seen some carriers who basically explain it that a 4G SIM will work on the 5G networks that are in a compatibility mode of 4G/5G, but a true 5G network there will be issues; I have also seen it's an issue of whether it's a new account (where the security kicks in) or an existing account - which also may be why it works for many. I am no expert and much of this is over my head, so read and comment if you like!

 
  • Like
Reactions: donawalt
Comment

Omega V

macrumors member
Sep 23, 2016
64
35
Las Vegas, Nevada
5G access on AT&T is associated with your plan, not your SIM. Your current SIM should work fine unless it happens to be really really old. But main thing is that your plan may not offer 5G. You'll want to check with AT&T.

There is a 5G SIM Card from AT&T so having the correct plan and SIM Card is the best option to use all the 5G bands, even standalone 5G (no LTE/4G area) with no issues.

Some people have been issues without the 5G SIM Card in their iPhone 12 devices but not everyone. I went to my Corporate AT&T Store today and asked for the "5G SIM Card" and the lady no problem. She went in the back and came out with a blue and white SIM Card holder and it said 5G in huge letters on it. She popped out the nano SIM Card and put it in my phone, did her stuff in the system and I was done.

She said that AT&T uses 3 different SIM Cards and the 5G SIM Card is the latest...interesting.

The SIM Card I got inside my iPhone 11 Pro Max last year was orange and blue, the new 5G SIM Card is white with a blue AT&T globe. I attached the photo (just blocked out my SIM Card number). The SIM Card is $5 (SIM Cards used to be free at Corporate stores) but the rep didn't charge me.


My receipt showed:

Item ID: 6818B (I assume this is the 5G SIM Card SKU)

Description: SIM VAR UICC-H CONSUM



Now I'm ready to order my iPhone 12 Pro Max on Friday.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_7771.jpg
    IMG_7771.jpg
    112.2 KB · Views: 66
Last edited:
Comment

tekchic

macrumors 68000
Apr 19, 2010
1,650
976
Phoenix, AZ
Not AT&T but Verizon -- I was going to buy unlocked and just sim swap but saw issues with others not getting 5G doing a sim swap, so I sucked it up for the preorder (this Friday) and am going to do the Verizon version so I get a 5G sim. Not thrilled about their BS activation fees, but I figure it's worth the hopefully non-hassle.

My area doesn't have mmWave 5G but I'm hoping to get some better speeds on the "other" 5G like I've seen reports of from others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: compwiz1202
Comment

Paco II

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2009
2,216
679
I have yet to see any validation that a new "5G" SIM is required. In almost every case the issues came down to provisioning. 5G is working for most people without the need for a new SIM card.
 
Comment

Renho

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2014
2,710
1,334
SR, CA
Do we even know if the carriers have the special 5G SIM card discussed in this article (Rel 99+ USIM)?
So i took out my daughters iphone 12 sim and it was just white, didnt look any different except color.

op-ATT says you just need to call them up so they can provision your old sim to make it work with 5G.
 
Comment

Omega V

macrumors member
Sep 23, 2016
64
35
Las Vegas, Nevada
I have yet to see any validation that a new "5G" SIM is required. In almost every case the issues came down to provisioning. 5G is working for most people without the need for a new SIM card.

No one ever said it was required...it was just posted on other websites that some people had issues without the new SIM Card with 5G (at least on AT&T) so it may not be an issue for all carriers.

I decided what the hell, if they have a 5G SIM Card and I can get one, especially for free, then why not. Plus I would rather have the newest SIM Card since I'm sure it was created for a reason (better 5G connection, security, who knows) and I have a 5G plan.



"My colleague Chance used his iPhone 11 Pro Max AT&T SIM in a new iPhone 12 Pro and AT&T said he needs an updated SIM to get 5G service"
 
  • Like
Reactions: ScottC7
Comment

Pipper99

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2010
3,333
2,405
Fort Worth, TX
I got the 5g sim from the AT&T store by my house for free, and I was inquiring about 5g plans since it’s not available on my grandfathered unlimited plan. The manager was adamant that 5g is not available in our area even though the AT&T map indicates that it is available. He said that’s only the 5Ge (which, of course, is their marketing term for LTE) and that midband isn’t here, either. He dissuaded me from changing my plan for the time being. Refreshing that he was honest with me. I am glad to be seeing 2x to 3x data speed improvements on LTE with the 12 Pro modem.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Apple_Robert
Comment

ScottC7

macrumors 6502
Apr 20, 2008
268
326
Orbiting Planet Apple
No one ever said it was required...it was just posted on other websites that some people had issues without the new SIM Card with 5G (at least on AT&T) so it may not be an issue for all carriers.

I decided what the hell, if they have a 5G SIM Card and I can get one, especially for free, then why not. Plus I would rather have the newest SIM Card since I'm sure it was created for a reason (better 5G connection, security, who knows) and I have a 5G plan.



"My colleague Chance used his iPhone 11 Pro Max AT&T SIM in a new iPhone 12 Pro and AT&T said he needs an updated SIM to get 5G service"
I went to my AT&T store this afternoon to pick up the 6818B 5G SIM card, figuring just like @Omega V that it couldn’t hurt to have the latest one (I haven’t gotten a new SIM in a few years, and my 5G plan is set to start in about a week). At first mention of my request, the associate looked at me like I was from Mars. She appeared confused about my request, and said something about all their SIM cards being the same - they are all 5G cards. Then she said they don’t have that card in their store. Finally (and this all happened in the first two minutes of the discussion), she said that no store in our market carries that card.

I persisted, and asked her if she was sure they didn’t carry the 5G SIM card. I reiterated the SKU, and to her credit, she pulled up an inventory of in-store items on her tablet. After a few minutes, she was able to determine that their store did, in fact, have just a few of them left. She seemed doubtful they actually had them, however, and before going into the back to check, she mentioned that another AT&T store at the other end of the mall has them in stock should she be unable to find them in her store. A few minutes later, she emerged with one card...the only one she could find. She provisioned it to my account, and I was off and running. She mentioned that there is normally a $5 charge for the SIM, but without me asking, she waived it.

In the final analysis, I concluded that the associate, who could not have been nicer, simply didn’t have alot of info on this new SIM card. To her credit, she was open-minded enough to check store inventory...that saved me from having to run around to other stores to try to find one.

If anyone else runs into similar difficulties, I’d recommend asking the associate to double-check their store’s inventory (give him or her the 6818B SKU) to confirm none of these cards are in stock. I was very grateful my associate did that.
 
Comment

Drababan

macrumors member
Sep 22, 2016
40
19
Apple willingly gave me AT&T 5g sim cards with my new "sim free" iPhone 12 pro Max phones. I'm still restoring so i haven't messed with sims yet but you can just get them from Apple if need be.
 
Comment

blairh

macrumors 601
Dec 11, 2007
4,451
1,906
Apple willingly gave me AT&T 5g sim cards with my new "sim free" iPhone 12 pro Max phones. I'm still restoring so i haven't messed with sims yet but you can just get them from Apple if need be.
Yup. They gave me a 5G AT&T SIM at the Apple store this morning. I had to call AT&T to have them activate it.
 
Comment

CoachRHD

macrumors newbie
Apr 24, 2011
19
6
I walked into my local AT&T store last night with my sim-free iPhone 12 Pro Max... they installed the new 5G sim card, and activated it for no charge.
 
Comment

SisterBlue22

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2015
943
946
Arizona
I did NOT swap my SIM from my 11 PM into my 12 PM - I activated the 12 PM with the SIM that came in it. I have all the 5G options in the cellular menu. I also upgraded to a 5G plan a few weeks ago.
 
Comment

webbuzz

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2010
1,884
6,391
Just an FYI, my 12 Pro Max came with a 6817B not a 6818B. Not sure what the difference is.
Just form factor

6818B is a 3-in-1 (Standard/Micro/Nano), you cut the form factor that fits your device.
6817B is a Nano-SIM
 
  • Like
Reactions: kycophpd
Comment

enduro0125

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2012
261
151
I got the 5g sim from the AT&T store by my house for free, and I was inquiring about 5g plans since it’s not available on my grandfathered unlimited plan. The manager was adamant that 5g is not available in our area even though the AT&T map indicates that it is available. He said that’s only the 5Ge (which, of course, is their marketing term for LTE) and that midband isn’t here, either. He dissuaded me from changing my plan for the time being. Refreshing that he was honest with me. I am glad to be seeing 2x to 3x data speed improvements on LTE with the 12 Pro modem.

I have 5G in my area.

Should I finally get rid of my old unlimited plan?
 
Comment

JR17358

macrumors newbie
Oct 14, 2019
8
3
Florida
After a LONG struggle I finally found a 5G SIM (6818B) at my local ST&T store and got them to put it in (for free). Initially it gave me the 5G, 5G-Auto and LTE options but soon went back to only showing 4G and LTE as I DON'T have a 5G plan, and in my area there is not real 5G - only the 5Ge option. But I do notice two differences - one is that my upload speed is 2.9 times as fast as it was with the old SIM, and I have one more bar of signal strength at my house than I used to have. So - for me - it's a worthwhile improvement. Of course the SIM I had put in the 12 Pro was at least 4 years old ...
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.