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chadam's profile
Employee

Employee

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3 Messages

Thursday, August 24th, 2023 4:28 PM

Activating E-sim when outside of the United States

Question from an AT&T corporate store employee: Can you activate an E-sim with your American number when you are outside of the USA? My sister is in Turkey and currently has her American number on a physical sim card inside of an iPhone 11, but she just got an unlocked iphone 14 and wants to activate her American number on that phone now using the built in E-sim (EID) inside of the phone. In the past, I have been told by customers that you can't activate a phone with an E-sim when you are outside of the United States, but i'm not sure if that has changed or if that was ever the case because I have never tested it myself. I don't want to update the E-sim without knowing if it will work for sure because if it doesn't work, then her physical sim will be deactivated and i'm not sure if we would be able to reactivate the physical sim.

*I am an AT&T employee, and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

ACE - Sage

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118.3K Messages

10 months ago

Unfortunately no. She can convert from physical sim to ESIM on a phone that has both. But she cannot transfer service and activate AT&T service on the iPhone 14 outside of the USA and AT&t's coverage zone.

It's not possible to activate any AT&T SIM card or service outside the United States whether it's a physical sim or an ESIM. And you are correct if she tries to do this and fails, she winds up with no service because the SIM on her iPhone 11 will be deactivated. Unfortunately she's going to have to leave it alone till she comes back to the USA

(edited)

Accepted Solution

ACE - Expert

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35.9K Messages

10 months ago

Customer experiences from those who have tried and failed and have reported same.  AT&T will only activate a phone while it is talking to an actual AT&T cell, not while roaming, definitely not internationally, and I'm fairly sure not even domestically.  I don't know if an AT&T femtocell counts as a tower for the purpose of this, but it's not going to activate over Wi-Fi either.

It's a very technical requirement of the sort of thing AT&T doesn't feel the need to officially disclose.  "Activation" is a bit of a weasel word that means different things to different people within AT&T.  You can "activate" a line, meaning to associate that line with a SIM, but not technically complete the pairing of the SIM and the phone, so that AT&T can start billing you, yet not be able to complete the process, which is what we mean by activating a line, such that you can use that phone on that line.  If they were to clearly document the technical requirement that we just mentioned, they may get in trouble with the fact that they can start billing even if that hasn't happened.

Employee

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3 Messages

10 months ago

Thank you for the quick response! How do you know this is the case? Are you an AT&T employee or you jyst know someone personally that attempted to do this? Because I am an AT&T employee and none of our internal departments could give me a concrete answer.

ACE - Sage

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118.3K Messages

10 months ago

Thanks to Jeffery for stepping in.  No I'm not an employee, never have, could not pay me enough 🤣.  

Employee

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3 Messages

10 months ago

Thank you both!

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