Your SIM card tells the cellular company the basic information it needs to know to supply your service, including your phone number. Being able to swap SIM cards between phones without effort will depend on the size of the SIM card and on whether the phone is locked to a specific carrier.
Can You Swap SIM Cards from Sprint to T-Mobile?
While Sprint phones may be locked to the carrier, you can switch to the T-Mobile network with the help of Sprint. Back in 2020, T-Mobile merged with Sprint in what has been described as a takeover of the latter. A streamlined swapping process has helped T-Mobile move most of Sprint’s customers onto its services, but for now they exist as slightly separate entities.
Reading Sprint’s FAQ about the swapping process will provide more details on the process and answer common questions in detail. For the short version, you’ll receive a kit with SIM cards that you punch out to fit your devices. From each device, access this Sprint website and follow the instructions.
Should You Swap SIM Cards from Sprint to T-Mobile?
Since T-Mobile acquired Sprint, they have been steadily encouraging customers to move to a T-Mobile SIM card. Sprint’s 3G services are shut down past March 31st of 2022, and the LTE network is slated to shut down on June 30th. The 5G network was quickly rolled into T-Mobile’s service after the merger to expand the company’s nationwide coverage.
If you have a 4G phone in an area without great T-Mobile coverage, the Sprint network will work better than the T-Mobile service within that specific area for now. In that case, you may want to stick with the Sprint carrier service while shopping for alternatives to T-Mobile.
Can You Swap SIM Cards from T-Mobile to Sprint?
Existing Sprint customers can ask to switch to the Sprint carrier service if they are currently using a T-Mobile SIM card. Contact Sprint’s customer service, and try to find your old SIM card if you still have it. You can wait for a new one in the mail or swing by a Sprint store to pick up a new one if you misplaced it.
Should You Swap SIM Cards from T-Mobile to Sprint?
Overall, the T-Mobile network is more robust, and the company has no plans to continue maintaining the Sprint network. Eventually, all Sprint customers will be moved to the other service, so any benefit from the swap will be temporary at best. Swapping early will be beneficial in most cases.
SIM Card Basics:
SIM Card Sizes
SIM cards come in one of four sizes, or form factors, with both a casual name and a designation. Three are removable and replaceable, while one is integrated into the device’s electronics.
- Mini SIM (2FF) is often called the standard size since the phasing out of full-sized SIM cards (1FF) that were as big as a debit card. At 25mm x 15mm x 0.76mm, it’s still substantially bigger than newer forms for minimal benefit, so it’s typically found on older phones.
- Micro SIM (3FF) cards are substantially shorter at 15 mm, and the width was trimmed by 3mm from the Mini SIM. The total volume is reduced by over half without adjusting the thickness.
- Nano SIM (4FF) cards lose more width and length, but they’re also roughly 0.1 mm thinner than the larger cards.
- eSIM (MFF2), short for embedded SIM, is the newest form of SIM card, and it’s built into the hardware of the device. While Nano SIM cards are small, these are even tinier (2.5mm x 2.3mm x 0.2mm) for more engineering wiggle room.
Swapping a SIM Card into a New Phone
Switching your SIM card to a new phone is a quick swap that works immediately. SIM cards are delicate, but they shouldn’t break as long as you don’t force them into position. The position of the SIM card slot will vary with the device’s model, so look up the two models you’re working with to find the right spot.
Be sure to turn off both devices before swapping the SIM cards. A small pin tool may be necessary to push the card out of its slot. Your phone number, contacts, and messages will work as soon as you boot up the phone with the SIM card – as long as that device isn’t locked.
If the destination phone is locked to a specific subscriber, you will need to unlock it to get a SIM card from another carrier to work. Companies may help you unlock a phone that you purchased from them, but they won’t help if your bill is in bad standing.
Unlocking your phone in other ways is referred to as jailbreaking the device, which is legal to do in most places but carries more personal responsibility for your online privacy and any actions you take with the device. Lost safety features may dramatically increase your risk of suffering from a malware attack, so research your options fully before continuing.
Can You Change Your SIM Card Size?
It’s possible to cut away the excess portions of Mini and Micro SIM cards to reduce their size. If you do mess up, replacing a SIM card is usually free from a contracted provider or otherwise inexpensive.
You can’t put a smaller SIM card right into the larger slots, but it’s not hard to upsize. Slipping a SIM card into an adapter will let you use it in a larger form factor’s spot then remove it later to swap it to a phone with a smaller slot. Most adapters are sold as inexpensive punch cards with all available upsizing options plus a SIM pin tool.
You can’t switch out an eSIM card due to it being embedded deeper within the phone, but it might be possible to switch back and forth if it also has a SIM slot. For an Android device, you can disable the eSIM’s service in the Connection submenu of the Settings.