Carrier T-Mobile (postpaid) eSIM

nutmac

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 30, 2004
4,565
2,766
T-Mobile might update their app to offer more painless process eventually, but I couldn't wait.

I followed solodogg's awesome instructions to activate eSIM on T-Mobile. I had to make few minor adjustments, but the process is relatively easy.

What you need:
  • iPhone XR, iPhone XS, or iPhone XS Max
  • Upgraded to iOS 12.1.1
  • SIM removal tool from your iPhone packaging or paperclip
  • Connected to Wi-Fi
  • T-Mobile app
  1. Launch the Settings app, then General, then About. Hold onto EID field (probably begins with 8904) for few seconds and select Copy.
  2. Launch the T-Mobile app, then click on the text chat support icon (upper right corner, next to the phone support icon).
  3. When representative welcomes you (wait time was about 10 minutes for me), type "I would like to initiate a SIM swap. My EID is " (hold on to the text chat field then select Paste to fill in the EID number).
  4. T-Mobile rep might ask few minor questions like phone model and phone number.
  5. T-Mobile rep will eventually initiate the SIM swap, then send a confirmation PIN SMS (takes a minute or two).
  6. Type in the confirmation PIN.
  7. After few minutes, you will get a confirmation SMS. Thank the rep.
  8. Remove the physical SIM card (you do not need to shutdown your phone).
  9. Launch the Settings app, then Cellular, Add Cellular Plan, then Enter Details Manually.
  10. Enter the SM-DP+ Address: cust-005-v4-prod-atl2.gdsb.net
  11. Click Next. If it fails, repeat steps 9 and 10.
  12. If asked for Confirmation Code, enter the last 4 digits of your social security number or phone number.
  13. You are done. Verify Cellular, P2 page, making sure all the settings are unchanged and Cellular Plans and Usage are same as before. Your eSIM maybe initially assigned with "Secondary" Cellular Plan Label. Change it to "Primary" or whatever you prefer.
On the physical SIM slot, I am using a SIM card from the promotional voice line, which will be given to my younger kid eventually.
 
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tekkierich

macrumors member
Apr 9, 2008
40
13
T-Mobile might update their app to offer more painless process eventually, but I couldn't wait.

I followed solodogg's awesome instructions to activate eSIM on T-Mobile. I had to make few minor adjustments, but the process is relatively easy.

What you need:
  • iPhone XR, iPhone XS, or iPhone XS Max
  • Upgraded to iOS 12.1.1
  • SIM removal tool from your iPhone packaging or paperclip
  • Connected to Wi-Fi
  • T-Mobile app
  1. Launch the Settings app, then General, then About. Hold onto EID field (probably begins with 8904) for few seconds and select Copy.
  2. Launch the T-Mobile app, then click on the text chat support icon (upper right corner, next to the phone support icon).
  3. When representative welcomes you (wait time was about 10 minutes for me), type "I would like to initiate a SIM swap. My EID is " (hold on to the text chat field then select Paste to fill in the EID number).

I just tried this. T-Mobile rep is expecting a SIM EID to start with 8901. When I gave them 8904 they asked me where I got the SIM from. The gig was up so I told him an eSIM inside a device.

No dice :-(
 

Banglazed

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2017
3,359
3,569
Cupertino, CA
Yup! It works! Just tell the rep you’ll accept the risk if it doesn’t work and they will go ahead with it.

Wait till they confirmed it was successful. Wait till your service is disconnected first to confirm it was successful. Then, you remove the physical SIM card and then you manually add the SM-DP + Address to activate the eSIM.
 
Last edited:

Scotty_T

macrumors newbie
Jun 15, 2016
21
11
Montgomery, IL
I just tried this. T-Mobile rep is expecting a SIM EID to start with 8901. When I gave them 8904 they asked me where I got the SIM from. The gig was up so I told him an eSIM inside a device.

No dice :-(
I went thru chat and made this same mistake.. when I told her it was eSIM she said they were not supported. I asked her to activate it anyway as a normal SIM card and I would handle the rest. She wouldn't do it so I asked if I could be connected to a different rep.

The second rep told me the same thing, I said I understand it isn't officially out yet but that it will work and I just need her to please swap my SIM card. She went ahead and did it for me.

For the Add Cellular plan part I had to leave the confirmation number blank to activate.

So I'm golden.
 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 30, 2004
4,565
2,766
I just tried this. T-Mobile rep is expecting a SIM EID to start with 8901. When I gave them 8904 they asked me where I got the SIM from. The gig was up so I told him an eSIM inside a device.

No dice :-(
If the gig is up, I would say that you are traveling where T-Mobile doesn't have a roaming agreement (e.g., Nepal). So you need to free up the physical SIM slot but want to continue receiving calls and SMS on T-Mobile number.
 

Starship67

Suspended
Oct 28, 2017
958
1,335
LA
What exactly is the point or advantage of going through all of this to get the eSIM to work? Serious question.
 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 30, 2004
4,565
2,766
What exactly is the point or advantage of going through all of this to get the eSIM to work? Serious question.
The most obvious benefit is freeing up your physical SIM slot for whatever your needs are, such as:
  • Inexpensive prepaid international SIM card -- can be much cheaper than T-Mobile's International Pass or Global Plus plan.
  • Combine work and personal phone numbers.
  • AT&T or Verizon prepaid SIM card, or one of many MVNOs that uses their networks -- great for traveling to a place where T-Mobile doesn't have good coverage.
Of course, it's possible to use eSIM for above 3 purposes. But you will have far more options when you migrate your primary carrier to eSIM. Also, mixing different carriers require iPhone to be unlocked.

In theory, eSIM can offer improved security.
  • When you setup your phone as new, eSIM survives and your phone will connect to cellular.
  • It's also far more difficult to compromise an eSIM.
  • eSIM cannot be stolen or easily cloned, preventing two factor authentication (2FA) codes sent over SMS from being compromised.
But I say in theory because iOS has a couple of design flaws that lets thieves bypass Find My iPhone:
  1. When iPhone is restored or setup as new, eSIM survives. That is, eSIM will let iPhone auto connect to cellular. But iPhone does not auto activate when it is setup as new, which prevents Find My iPhone service from running in the background.
  2. Unless you disable Siri and Control Center from the Lock screen, thieves can engage the Airport mode or turn off Wi-Fi or Cellular. iOS should require unlock for turning off Wi-Fi and Cellular.
When carrier offers app-based eSIM, it's pretty easy to activate eSIM. All you need to do is connect your new phone to Wi-Fi, install carrier's app, login and go through eSIM activation, and done. And since iPhone will let you store many eSIMs, you don't have to worry about losing them (only 1 can be active at once, however).
 
Last edited:

0970373

Suspended
Mar 15, 2008
2,727
1,407
I get trying to find work arounds when the eSIMs were still in a beta version of iOS but it's a public release now and both Verizon & AT&T officially support it. It's really unacceptable that you have to get sneaky with TMobile to get this to work. I gave up on them and moved to Verizon for the time being. Once TMO gets their act together, I'll likely come back but it's not worth the hoops people are jumping through. That's IMO anyway.

But hey - John Legere was right!. eSIMs DO make switching carriers so easy! I did it all through the Verizon app.
 
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George Knighton

macrumors 65816
Oct 13, 2010
1,332
307
I can only assume greed is behind T-Mobile dragging their feet.
What they said in one of the support forums is that they encountered a few situations where when the physical SIM went dead, the eSIM would not come on, and this involved laborious troubleshooting that they didn't want to go through with impatient consumers.

I think they're on the verge of releasing either a specific application for moving to eSIM, or an enhancement to the T-Mobile App that will let you move to eSIM.

But I think that too many of them don't "get it" why why people want to do it.

They act in conversations like the usefulness of an eSIM is in its easy availability for people who want a quick roaming number or a data number for use overseas.

I think they've got that wrong.

In my case, I'm using two T-Mobile numbers. One of them is private for when I want to disappear for a while, and it's nice to be able to just push a couple of buttons instead of having to look for the SIM tool, and then look for where you've left the other SIM. :)
 

crawfish963

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
585
437
Texas
Just set up my T-Mobile eSIM today. I had to go through a few reps to get them to do it. Both my lines are T-Mobile lines. Works great. FWIW, I was told the official support for postpaid won’t come until “early 2019 at the earliest”.
 

Mayanja

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2017
223
195
Still bizarre that TMO can't get its act together, and also is unable to just communicate transparently about it. The uncarrier unworthy.
 

George Knighton

macrumors 65816
Oct 13, 2010
1,332
307
Just set up my T-Mobile eSIM today. I had to go through a few reps to get them to do it. Both my lines are T-Mobile lines. Works great. FWIW, I was told the official support for postpaid won’t come until “early 2019 at the earliest”.
Are you finding that you have a unified visual voice mail interface, and it's working predictably and well?

Does visual voice mail work with both lines even if one line is turned off?

(The reason I don't know the answer to this is that I am using Youmail for one line.)
 

michael31986

macrumors 68040
Jul 11, 2008
3,814
459
Y'all need to be patient. I mean it will happen but ****. Give them a minute. The update came.out two weeks ago.
 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 30, 2004
4,565
2,766
Are you finding that you have a unified visual voice mail interface, and it's working predictably and well?

Does visual voice mail work with both lines even if one line is turned off?

(The reason I don't know the answer to this is that I am using Youmail for one line.)
I am using dual SIMs and both lines are getting calls, directing visual voicemails just fine.
 
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powaking

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2008
433
130
One advantage that I can think of where eSim is ideal is being able to retrieve your phone when stolen. Since you can’t physically remove an eSim you should be able to find it via Find My Phone easier instead of having the thief just pop out the sim.
 
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crawfish963

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
585
437
Texas
One advantage that I can think of where eSim is ideal is being able to retrieve your phone when stolen. Since you can’t physically remove an eSim you should be able to find it via Find My Phone easier instead of having the thief just pop out the sim.
Assuming the thief doesn't turn the phone off, which they usually do. But good point.
 

jarman92

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2014
596
1,237
Y'all need to be patient. I mean it will happen but ****. Give them a minute. The update came.out two weeks ago.
And in that time both Verizon and AT&T have rolled out support. T-Mobile also already supports eSIM on the iPad and Watch, so there’s no good excuse for them not being ready for this at launch.
 

Shadow Jolteon

macrumors regular
Feb 1, 2018
165
97
I just got on T-Mobile's support chat, and they're now asking if the transfer request is for an eSIM, so I told them it was to see what'd happen. After checking for a few minutes to see if it's supported, they informed me that it is not.

Judging by how they were checking to see if it's available yet and the information they provided, it sounds as though it might be coming pretty soon. Also, the representative was also really quick to reply and very friendly.
T-Mobile Chat said:
Welcome to T-Mobile messaging! Please turn on app notifications to get updates on the go.



Me: Hi there! I would like to start a SIM swap. My EID is: 8904****************************

T-Mobile: I really appreciate your time and patience staying online despite of the long wait, Andrew and oh wow I can see here that you want to swap your SIM, well no worries, I can definitely check if that is possible now, just to confirm, Andrew, when you say SIM swap did you mean you want to activate your eSIM? By the way, my name is Alyssa, and I will be your #MagentaExpert for today.

Me: Yes, that it correct, thank you.

T-Mobile: Glad to hear it, Andrew! I just need your patience on me.

T-Mobile: By the way, What you need to use dual SIM with an eSIM on iPhone:

1. An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a cellular plan from your service provider without having to use a physical nano-SIM.
2. You will need an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR with iOS 12.1.1 or later to use with T-Mobile. Other service provider may only require iOS 12.1 or later.
3. To use two different service providers, your iPhone must be unlocked. Otherwise, both plans must be from the same service provider.

Me: Got it! I believe everything is in order and updated for my iPhone XR.

T-Mobile: Awesome! Thanks for telling me that, Andrew!

T-Mobile: Thanks for the patience, Andrew, well I'm really afraid to tell you this since this is the first time I will bring a not so good news to my customer, Andrew and I don't want that kind of situation because I do love my customer and if only there's a way, I will do it despite of the policy, but it just so happen that according to my policy eSIM for T-Mobile is not yet available, but no worries, what I can do for you now is to notate here on your account so that once it is available, you will be notified immediately.

Don't you worry, Andrew because T-Mobile is in a hurry now to launch the new service, and I guarantee you that you will receive a notification once it's ready.

T-Mobile: I know that this is not the resolution that you are expecting, Andrew, I assure you that I have provided you the best and recommended solution to your concern. It may not be the same offer, but I hope you feel my sincerity to make amends to what happened.

T-Mobile: But I will make sure to notate here that your device is eliglbe.

Me: No problem, thank you very much for the information! I would definitely like to be notified once eSIM activation is available with T-Mobile.

T-Mobile: Yay! Thank you so much for understanding, Andrew! No worries, I guarantee you that you will be notified right away.

Me: Great, thank you!
 
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crawfish963

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
585
437
Texas
I just got on T-Mobile's support chat, and they're now asking if the transfer request is for an eSIM, so I told them it was to see what'd happen. After checking for a few minutes to see if it's supported, they informed me that it is not.

Judging by how they were checking to see if it's available yet and the information they provided, it sounds as though it might be coming pretty soon. Also, the representative was also really quick to reply and very friendly.
Yeah just be patient and get another rep. Tell them you don't even know what eSIM is. That is how I got mine switched over.
 

michael31986

macrumors 68040
Jul 11, 2008
3,814
459
And in that time both Verizon and AT&T have rolled out support. T-Mobile also already supports eSIM on the iPad and Watch, so there’s no good excuse for them not being ready for this at launch.
Verizon is only for pre paid as well on the app too
 
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