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Old Phone Works After Activating Sim on New Phone

February 18th, 2022 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
This is really infuriating and @FCC or @FTC really needs to look at this. I just bought a new phone because supposedly my old phone no longer works on AT&T after the 3G sunset (despite being a 4G phone), but shortly after activating a new sim card on the new phone, I simply moved the new sim card to my old phone and it worked fine like before - 4G and everything.  What made it worse was right before I bought the phone, customer support insisted the old sim card was still activated and that my phone simply was not up to spec, which was clearly a lie.  They had disabled the old sim card and just needed to turn it back on or give me a new one, which they didn't do until I bought a new phone.  If you do too many switches as a result of this trick, your data may stop working due to a block by AT&T and you'll have to dial 611 to ask them to remove the block on your data service - again something they want you to think is your phone's problem when they literally have an intentional block on your phone service.  You can read more on this from other people here as well: 4G Capable Phones Disabled By 3G Shutdown.  This comment here has my exact same experience of getting the phone working, having it auto-blocked again by IMEI check, and having to call to ask it unblocked again.

Before buying the new phone earlier, I also went to T-Mobile as well on the same day to see if my old phone would work on their network, and it was the same story so it's not just AT&T at fault here.  I had bought prepaid a sim card, put it in my old phone, nothing happened.  Out of curiosity and because I kept the extra sim card, I tried the trick and it worked as well.  As soon as I put it in the new phone, it registered and switching it back to my old phone got me connected with 4G again.

It probably is all carriers pulling this trick - disabling the sim card until a new phone is detected.  

This is just really messed up.  I'm happy to be able to keep my old phone that still works, but it's such a scam.  I'm not saying all old phones will continue to work but that they are taking advantage of the transition to arbitrarily disable all old phones without checking case by case if it still works (or just letting them all work without artificially disabling the sim and letting the chips fall where they may).


Photos and video as proof... Hard part about making the video is I already activated the new sim card with the new phone, so I can't show that it didn't work on the old phone previously (it didn't) - can only show that the old phone with its old sim clearly disabled and no 4G but works as soon as the new sim is swapped in.

YouTube Video

Screenshot: Old phone was disabled Feb.15, but it is now Feb.18 and phone clearly works with a new sim.

175 unique view(s)


  1. pftq said,
    Feb-23-2022, 10:02am

    Had some people (including the store) claim that the phone will still die by Feb.22, but it's now Feb.23 and the old Moto X phone still works. So a lot of people are throwing out their old phones and being forced to buy new ones if they don't know this workaround.

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