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AT&T-specific eSIM activation & usage (US & Intl) experience

AT&T-specific eSIM activation & usage (US & Intl) experience

Old Sep 21, 19, 6:39 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 342
AT&T-specific eSIM activation & usage (US & Intl) experience

Given my experience at my AT&T store today, I thought I would start this topic in hopes of saving others' time and preparing them for what's they might hear at their AT&T store.

There is a broadly-scope topic on eSIMs here.
I have found narrow scoped topics on Flyertalk to be so much more helpful as well as faster & easier to learn from than broadly scoped topics.

=== Specific purpose of this related topic:

1) AT&T-specific eSIM activation experience
Share first-hand experience or educated speculation about AT&T's eSIM activation process

2) When overseas: Physical SIM activation international use combined with simultaneous activation of eSIM for AT&T
i.e., Share first-hand experience or educated speculation about AT&T's eSIM activation process when in an international carrier's store.

Because my local ATT store's Apple Expert said this (2) was a thing... i.e., another way to get the eSIM dedicated and activated for AT&T.

But... would I want to wait to activate the eSIM when overseas? Of course not. I wanted to do it today.
When I'm across the pond I have a million things to do. Last thing I'd want to do is stand in line for at least 30 min or more while this happens.
Moreover, the first time this ATT expert tried it, the activation failed. He had to attempt it twice.
Would an Intl carrier store customer rep know what to do like he did if eSIM failed at first? Too much risk of lots of time wasted.

Am interested in hearing your experiences related to 2):
Specifically: How well does this config work: non-US, non-AT&T physical SIM from country X + ATT eSIM?

What is the activation process like in an international phone / carrier retail store if you go
From: an AT&T physical SIM
To: an international, NON-AT&T carrier SIM + a newly active AT&T eSIM.

=== Today's activation experience with my iPhone 11 Pro Max at my local AT&T store:

It went much differently than expected based on 45 min of reading advice, ATT forums, and others' experiences.

Me: "Hello, I need to activate my new phone's eSIM.
This iPhone 11 is the new phone with no physical SIM.
This old phone has the AT&T SIM with the phone # I want to transfer & activate on the new phone's eSIM."

ATT Apple Expert: "It's not possible to do that."


To make the e-SIM in your new phone active, I need a completely different phone's SIM card with a different phone # to put into the new phone when I activate its eSIM."

In my case, because I already carry 2 phones, this was not a show stopper.

1 line for work, 1 line for play / personal / family
So I simply took my second phone out of my purse and gave him that phone #'s SIM card.

That worked!
He successfully activated the eSIM on my new iPhone 11 to my work phone # when my personal phone #'d physical SIM was in the new phone's SIM slot.
After activation, I removed my personal phone's physical SIM from my new phone.

Tested the new work phone to make sure it showed as dialing from my work phone #. Check.
Tested my old personal phone to make sure it was using my personal phone #. Check.

Net: Based on my experience today, AT&T can't activate an eSIM without the physical SIM from a different phone line in the physical SIM slot. YMMV of course :-).

You need to either have or borrow (from your spouse? a friend? ) a second phone / SIM card and bring it with you bring in to the ATT store for eSIM activation.

FYI: In iTunes just did first backup of new phone. eSIM number showed up as "Phone Number 2"

Work phone on the right with eSIM activated to AT&T. No physical SIM. iPhone 11 Pro Max, midnight green. Reminds me of sea glass
Play phone on the left with AT&T physical SIM. eSIM not activated. iPhone 10 SX Max, in last year's iridescent gold.
MareLuce is offline  
Old Sep 29, 19, 9:45 am
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 22
I had AT&T move my line from a nano SIM to the eSIM on my iPhone 11 Pro Max yesterday. There seems to be a training issue or confusion on the part of the in store staff. One staff member initially said it wasn’t possible, but looked it up and confirmed it should work. The eSIM activation was completed with no physical SIM installed.

it may have been different than your experience since I had the same number already on the phone previously via physical SIM though.
Mellified is offline  

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