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The SIM card: the unsung hero

That tiny little chip card that slides into your phone, the subscriber identification module or phone SIM card, makes our mobile lives possible and so much easier.

Way back in the day—I’m talking the ‘90s—we called them cellular phones and they were as big as a gas station burrito. Your dad, much to your dismay, wore his clipped to his belt. Back then, the thing that identified your phone on the network was built into the phone itself. This wasn’t always convenient. If you needed to transfer your phone number to another device, you usually had to go to your wireless provider’s store and stand around, waiting for help. The SIM card now makes changing devices and phone numbers much easier and opens a world of possibilities.

Keep an old phone handy

Drop your phone in the toilet? No worries! OK, yeah, worries. But, if you’re willing to fish out your SIM card, and you’ve hung on to an old phone that still works, insert your SIM card, fire up the old phone, and you’re back on track.

Be an international woman of mystery

If you’ve fulfilled your phone contract, you can unlock your phone from your current provider. That means when you travel to foreign lands, you can pick up a pre-paid international SIM card at the airport and use a local number. That means you can do business and interact with the locals like a local. When you come home to your day-to-day life, simply slip your phone’s original SIM card back in, and you’re back to being a mild-mannered reporter … or whatever it is you do.

Show your teenager how in control you are

If you do want a spare phone around, you might want to keep it embarrassingly inexpensive and low tech. What I like to call the Flip Phone of Shame. Maybe your teenager is spending too much time in class texting and snapping and not enough time learning. To get them back on the straight and narrow, you can trade out their iPhone X for that old flip phone you keep in the junk drawer. I can almost guarantee they won’t pull that phone out in class for everyone to see. Plus, they still have a phone for emergencies—and to notify you of improving grades.

BYOD

Bring your own device—this is where the phone SIM card really shines. Our wireless devices are better built than ever before. There used to be a time that when your smartphone slipped out of your hand, you just knew you were going to have to find packing tape to cover your newly shattered screen. Now smartphone glass is really tough, the batteries can handle more charge cycles, and many phones can even survive a dunk in the pool. A device that once barely lasted the length of the contract can now last well beyond it. If you’ve paid for your phone outright, or fulfilled your payment obligation, you can get your phone unlocked from your current provider and go shopping for a better plan. At AT&T, we’re all about the SIM card and BYOD. We even have a simple, online bring-your-own-device tool to get you started. We’ll identify the correct SIM card size for your device and set you up with the best wireless plan for your needs.

Our passport to our mobile world

It’s not as glamorous as the latest smartphone, or as coveted as an inexpensive unlimited plan, but the SIM card is what brings our calls, messages, and data to us. They are the passport to our mobile lives.


This article was written by an AT&T employee. The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.

Brett Barnes

Bitnami