T-Mobile reminding some customers to use newer SIM card to access standalone 5G


Did you get a text message from T-Mobile telling you that you should swap your SIM card to get the best 5G experience? If so, you’re not alone.

T-Mobile is sending texts to some customers this week to remind them that it’s a good idea to upgrade to the new SIM card that’s included when they buy a new device. The text includes a link to this web page explaining why you might need to upgrade to a new SIM.

To access T-Mobile’s standalone 5G coverage, your SIM card will need to be compatible with it. You can check to see if your SIM is compatible now by pulling it out of your device and checking to see if it says “R15”. If it does, you’re good to go.


If you see “TM” followed by four numbers on your SIM, you’ll need to switch to the new SIM card that came with your device.

If you’ve got a 5G device, it should’ve come with a new SIM that you could use with it. If you didn’t start using the new SIM and for some reason you no longer have it, you should contact customer support and get a free replacement.

T-Mobile activated its standalone 5G last month, and when it did T-Mo increased its overall 5G footprint by 30 percent. Standalone 5G also enables lower latency.

Currently there are only a handful of T-Mobile phones that’ve been updated to support standalone 5G, with the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G receiving an update to enable it today. T-Mo is planning to update more of its 5G phones to support standalone 5G, though, so even if your device doesn’t support the feature yet, it’s definitely worth taking a minute now to check your SIM card and ensure that you’re ready for standalone 5G when it comes to your phone.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • Glenn Gore

    Great, when I got my McLaren phone, the rep said I didn’t need to switch to using the SIM card that came with it, just keep using my old SIM. Now I have to figure out what I did with that card and see if it qualifies for SA 5G. I know there is some SA 5G not too far from here, so I would like to see if there is any difference in coverage reach and usability.

    • marque2

      They don’t charge you if you need a new one.

      • Glenn Gore

        Yep, I stopped by the store today and picked one up

  • Jeremiah

    Whoops, I haven’t gotten a text message yet, but I guess I’ll finally switch over to the SIM that came with my Note20 Ultra…

    • Jeremiah

      I just switched to the R15 SIM, and now my Note20 Ultra won’t latch onto 5G. Thanks, T-Mobile.

  • bluemoon737

    Supposedly my “TM” version sim card is good to go. I just got off the phone with TM and they said my sims card is good to go for SA 5G (the checked it in their system). My sim does not have the R15 marking and has the TM xxxx marking but it is the card that came with my initial release S20+.

    • Nate

      Interesting… they replaced 2 of mine. I have two Galaxy S20+ devices that they just changed the SIM card on 3 weeks ago due to issues. I called and they are sending me these updated SIM cards to replace those.

    • Atrus

      Just got through the hassles of this…..
      I was also told the same thing on TMo chat. I have a One Plus 8 5G, Note 10+ 5G and Note 20 Ultra 5G.
      The rep insisted that only the One Plus needed an R15, I was not sold on her response.
      I called in and initial rep had no clue so she transferred me to Technical Support (this is who you want).
      Tech support checked each line and confirmed that all 3 currently have Universal sims and need the new R15 version to get the full SA 5G benefit. Ask the rep what version sim their tool says you have, if it’s R08 or R12 then you need a new R15. They ordered 3 R15 sims for free in the mail.
      Hope this helps others.

      • Bailey

        You are correct. I have the LG V60 and was told I need the new R15 sim. which is on the way.

      • bluemoon737

        Thanks Atrus! When they pulled up my sim, they said I had a R8/R12 and that I was “good to go”. They guy even supposedly checked with tech support and that they are the ones who said I was good to go. Go figure!

      • marque2

        I went to a store and they knew what to do right away and swapped Sims while I checked out the new phones. Of course they didn’t give me the new Sims when I bought the phone.

    • dboyrusky

      they wrong, you need R15 card

  • Angel T

    Is eSim affected?

    • I need to know this as well because I plan to use the iPhone 12 with esim

  • mreveryphone

    Sunday my Note 20 Ultra would not catch a signal and I remembered that the sim card may need to be switched out with a newer one. I went to the store and got those new black labeled sim card and I had service again. I probably hadn’t changed sim cards in 2 years…

  • Jay Holm

    Without having to use that stupid tool, that I hate using (I still miss when we had user friendly phones, with removable backs), how am I supposed to know if I have a SA 5G SIM card? And no, I am not going to a store, where my ability to breathe OXYGEN is restricted.

    • Shaun Michalak

      Either the back is removable, you just have to look for the edge of it on the bottom of the phone and use something like a blade or something to pry it up a little and continue all the way around until you get it off. If you phone does not have a back that comes off, then there is probably some kind of a door on the side or bottom edge somewhere, that you can pop open and the card should be in there.. the only other option is you have a phone with an electronic sim, which is not replaceable.. Without knowing what kind of a phone you have, it is hard to say which method to use..

      • Jay Holm


        • Shaun Michalak

          The samsung s20, on the top of the phone, on the left side, there is a little door there.. You will see a small hole on the right side of that door. Make sure you use the hole on the left side of the phone, because the one on the right side on the top is a microphone.. If you still have the original box, in the top, there is a manual. Take that manual out, and attached to the other side of it, there will be a little pin. Take that pin, and push it down into the hole on the top of the phone on the left side, where the door is, and the slot will just pop out.. That is where your MicroSD card and your SIM card both are at.. Then just pull it out with your fingers once it pops out just a little..

          If you do not have the key to open it any more, or can not find it, you can use a small thin wire or something like that inplace of the key. All the key is, is a thin straight piece of metal, almost like a paper clip.. I believe that a paper clip most likely will be too thick to push in there though.. But anything that will fit in that hole will be fine.. It only needs to be something like 1/2″ long..

          Hope that helps

    • Probablynot

      where my ability to breathe OXYGEN is restricted.

      Sounds like that ship has already sailed. Just go get the sim, they didn’t even charge for it when I dropped by.

    • DaveNLR

      Yea, must be a bitch to be a doctor or nurse treating people who like to breathe oxygen and then get sick and have to force THEM to wear those pesky oxygen blockers.

  • MisterListerSir

    Great. New Oneplus 8, used the old SIM (but at least kept the new one in the box). But… Forgot my passcode. Whoops. No place to change it online from the looks of it, and 611 isn’t allowing me to talk to anyone. Looks like I am going in to the store tonight…

  • JG

    A little bummed the only way to get the new SIM card is to interact with someone — either in store or to call…

    Where’s the web form that I just click a button & the SIM is ordered?

    • SparklingCyanide

      ummm…… our society is already far disconnected, it won’t hurt you to interact with somebody for two minutes.

      • bluemoon737

        You haven’t dealt with customer service much have you? ;)

        • SparklingCyanide

          many times before actually, always a pleasant experience for the last twenty years. i honestly think, it has more to do with the lazy entitled people who are rude and demanding about everything.

        • bluemoon737

          That was a joke…

      • Tale 85

        Absolutely. I had four Store people excited to learn about this. Didn’t even know about the R15 Sim. Great bunch of people. We should do this more often.

  • Probablynot

    Just popped an R15 version in my Unlocked Note 20 and now it doesn’t switch to LTE when I make a call. Not sure what else it will affects like maybe battery life. Like since the 5g radio is a separate chip, if its running SA does the 4g radio still spool up?

  • Bodycount

    Talked to Tmobile through facebook chat about the new sim for my note 20 ultra. Lady said she can get me one (R15 model) for $10 and she’ll remove the shipping charge. I told her people are going in the stores and getting one for free and she said she can’t give out the new R15 sim for free but she can give out older ones for free. So I told her to forget about it that I’m not paying money for something that should be standard. She thanked me and wished me luck.

    • Trevnerdio

      Yep, can confirm. Rushed into a (corporate) store a little bit before it closed today, reps were very friendly, swapped my SIM out for an R15 in no time, got it activated right away. No fuss. Sorry about the Facebook T-Mo rep! I’ve also got the Note 20 Ultra (unlocked) and idk where exactly SA 5G is available, but I’ll keep an eye out for it and try to update here.

      In other news, where I was (just south of Denver), it was like impossible to switch over to Sprint manually, but that’s been iffy regardless.

    • kanakamaoli

      Hmm… I used the online chat on the T-Mobile’s website. They will send out the R15 card free of charge and free 2 day shipping

    • dtam

      yeah, try again

    • SparklingCyanide

      i visited a store in person yesterday. they were very polite, and saw i had been with them for 20 years since it’s VoiceStream days. they gave me the card for free, great experience.

      • marque2

        They are suppose to give it for free – especially because, like me, we bought our phones in store and ended up with old Sims, or it wasn’t explained we should not just swap the old one.

    • Jon

      My Note 20 Ultra came with one. Yours didn’t?

      • Bodycount

        No I bought direct from Samsung and it wasn’t in the box.

        • Jon

          Hmm… Did you get unlocked? I got directly with Samsung too, but I chose T-Mobile as my carrier.

        • Bodycount

          Got the Tmobile version

  • Todd N.

    FYI – Free line promotion has started today 9/18. Just got a confirmation from Tmobile via Facebook.

  • Tale 85

    Just stopped by my local store. Explained the situation and showed them this article. They were actually excited to learn about it. Great bunch at the Callaway Florida Store.
    New Sim is in and happy.

  • Bodycount

    Update on my post below. This time I used the Tmobile app on my phone and then used the talk to an expert option. Hate chatting on my phone because the keyboard is so small but I had to try. Well I got connected to an expert called Micah. She told me the same thing. She can’t give the R15 sim for free but she can give free 2 day shipping. I told her I’m reading a bunch of people going in the store getting it for free. She said if I go in the store and they charge me, she can credit my account back basically making it free. I told her because of COVID19 I really don’t want to step foot in a store and can they just ship it out to me. She gave in and said sure.

    Their system doesn’t allow the R15 to process as free so she had to charge me ($21.50 for two cards, one for me one for my wife’s phone) then credit me back. After she did it I checked my tmobile account online and saw my account had a negative $21.70 balance. I told her she might have credited me twice but she said on her end it looks correct so I went with it. So I got two R15 sims for free. Chose ground shipping which was free as well since I was in no rush for it.

    Then we went ahead and processed the free line since I had her. I didn’t have a spare sim card so she said she has to charge me $20 for the assistance fee and $10 for the sim card which I agreed to. They did this for the last free line offer but I had a spare sim laying around so I just got charged $20 back then. So she added the free line on my account and I had to pay $30 for it.

    Now I have five lines. Three being totally unlimited and two being 6 gigs a month with the 20 gig data stash. Hopefully they go through one more round of turning simple choice accounts into unlimited data so all five lines can be unlimited. I pay after taxes around $103 a month. Tmobile is making it so I never want to leave my simple choice plan.

  • Mike

    Anyone else have an issue with the new sim card not fitting properly? I have the OnePlus 8 and the old one sat nicely in the holders and slid right in. I can’t get the new card to stay in and as soon as I push it in it slides out so it takes a while to close the tray.

    Also not sure if it’s related but since I put the new sim in my service is worse. Started dropping calls in areas I never have before.

  • Philip

    What a surprise. I got a new S20 from Samsung last week and its the old SIM card and it begins with TM + 4 numbers.

  • DaHawk

    My Galaxy S20+ Also came with the TM sim card. While I haven’t gone and switched it out yet, when I dial in *#0011# into my phone, If I am at a tower where it can do stand alone 5G, My phone does indeed connect to stand alone 5G. Odd.

    • BlackAce15

      What info tells you that I put the number in but I have no clue what I’m looking for?

  • Anthony Robertson Junior

    Thank you for this great bit of information as I always just use my old SIM card when I get a new phone. The R15 SIM did come in the box of my Note20 Ultra so I pulled it out and called TMo. To my surprise I actually just did everything via the automated system.

  • ASolzhenitsyn

    Are applicable eSIM profiles updated to be 5G SA compatible?

  • BlackAce15

    Messaged T-Mobile today on the chat feature on the app and I was able to get the R15 sim free of charge for my Note 20 Ultra and last week I got the free line.

    • Changes Made

      Omg me too I got a TM card smh…. They are so lost right now. They have customer service reps in the Philippines and India now to save money because of Corona your whole service was based on customer service being number one if you take that away because of this merger did I should go to Verizon

      • BlackAce15

        I did message them and let them know but was charged $10 for the R15 card which I did get with free 2 day shipping…they did see it was the wrong sim card by the way.

  • Ron Kinsey

    I was on chat tonight, and they wanted 10 dollars up front. I told them that my sim started with tm####, but was told some sims can be updated over the air but needed the whole some number. I didn’t have it, so I said forget it.

    • alissa914

      Yeah, going into the settings menu and getting the SIM # is just so hard.

  • Vince

    they will send out free via Tmobile chat in app. I choose going to the store and getting the r15 and Tmobile credited account $10

  • Ken Buchinski

    Just checked, My S21 Ultra has the R15, and my wife’s Iphone 12 has it also.
    Both sims came with the phones when purchased.

  • mrlaw711

    Don’t give T-Mobile or Sprint any money. This is their change, not the customer’s. Simply tell them to get it right or you are leaving for another carrier. They can threaten you with any contract terms you may still have but they are legally invalid once the carrier makes these changes.