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CENTRAL U.S. -- Using old at&t sim on family plan

Discussion in 'AT&T Wireless Forum' started by Patsy, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Patsy

    Patsy New Member

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    We have a family plan with AT&T -- four phones. Our phones all have the old sim cards from when AT&T existed, before the merge with cingular and before the name change to "The New AT&T". I would like to get one of the newer sim cards to be sure that the service I am getting is as effective as possible. As I recall in a conversation I had a year or two ago with one of their salespeople that if one person got one of the new cards we all had to, otherwise our 'family plan' wouldn't work properly (ie the other three phones wouldn't work.) I'm not sure if I believe this, as every time I talk to someone at AT&T about anything, they always insist I need to buy a new phone, or get a new card, or do somethign which would allow them to make more money. I want to get one of the new sim cards for myself on ebay (as AT&T will not give me one, even though I pay the full cost of it, but will charge me $25 to get one.) Does anyone know if getting a new sim card for one phone will invalidate the other three?::confused:
     
  2. dmapr

    dmapr Silver Senior Member
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    As long as you're getting an AT&T Wireless card (the one that starts with 89310380), not a New AT&T or Cingular card (the one that starts with 89310410) you don't have to worry about invalidating anything. What they're referring to is that you can't switch one of the lines to a New AT&T account without having to break your old family plan apart.

    Hope this clears it up a bit.
     
  3. Patsy

    Patsy New Member

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    I'm still confused. Are you saying that I cannot get a new sim card for "the new at&T?" That if I get another sim card it has to be one of the cards for the at&T of 5 years ago, like the card i already have? What I'm trying to accomplish is to improve my service -- ie the number of towers etc that will connect with my phone. Using another old at&t card would give me the same service I already have.

    Also, do you know why the four of us have to have the same type of cards to be on the family plan? Is this an arbitrary rule, or is there a functional reason?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  4. dmapr

    dmapr Silver Senior Member
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    Basically you can not have the same old plan and use the new SIM cards, you have to migrate to a current plan. If you have a family plan, all lines have to be migrated to keep it as a family plan. Whether or not it's a system limitation or a rule specifically imposed by Cingular/AT&T, I don't know.

    The phones you have are most likely locked to the old SIM and will not accept a new one without unlocking, that's why they tell you to get all new phones & SIM cards.

    It's hard to tell exactly what determines the poor quality of the service you're getting — is it on all the lines? Or just on one that you want a new SIM for?
     
  5. Patsy

    Patsy New Member

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    Actually, all phones are unlocked, and we have a current family plan. We tried to keep our old plan but they wouldn't let us. So we have the current family plan and four unlocked phones. Given this, do you think I could get a new at&t sim card without causing problems for the others?
    Also, my service is fine as is. But I want to take my phone with me to Mexico, and I will add the $4.95 international plan to my own phone for one month. But I"m concerned that the old blue card will not work as well as the new one. I have no information to go on, I'm just a bit concerned, as I don't want to get there and have the old card not work well.
     
  6. dmapr

    dmapr Silver Senior Member
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    If you have already migrated to a current plan you must have SIM cards that start with 89310410. If you have such a card, you can exchange it for a new one at any corporate AT&T store without any harm to any other lines. I am not familiar with roaming arrangements in Mexico but most likely an old card will work just as well as a new one.

    The number printed on the SIM card is the key — can you check and post the first 8 digits of that number?
     
  7. Patsy

    Patsy New Member

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    Yes, the first 8 digits on the card are for the Blue AT&T (per your info), not the new one. But at the time I last spoke to AT&T about our family plan, they automatically 'upgraded' us to the New AT&T family plan -- that is, they increased our monthly charges to be in line with their new pricing structure. I called to protest because we did not have "the new AT&T" sim cards, and didn't want them (preferred to keep old cards in order to maintain the old rate). Basically, they told me we did not have a choice -- we had to use the new rate structure. They also wanted us to purchase the new sim cards and new equipment, which I refused to do (why pay even more money for something that would functionally make no difference to us?) So, the bottom line is that we are paying for a family plan in the new at&t rate structure with the old sim cards. When I called at&t yesterday, I spoke with a sales person, and then I went 2 levels up. Each person insisted that in order to get a new sim card I would have to pay $25 because (this is classic at&t that I have heard for years) the system was set up in such a way that they could not order a new sim card for me without charging me the $25. I gave up, because it was taking way too much time (they are set up to penalize you this way) and I knew I could buy the sim card on Ebay for a few bucks.
    So... I can order the new sim card on ebay, to ensure that it will work in Mexico. Don't know if I need to or not, and dont' want to mess up the existing family plan with the other three phones....
    As you can see I am waging a personal crusade against cell phone companies, which I feel are organized to disgorge money from their customers in any way they possibly can. Most people don't understand the technology enough to see what's happening; I have just enough of a grasp to know that they are taking us for a ride, but not enough on my own to deal with it as best as could be. Perhaps it's a losing battle?
     
  8. dmapr

    dmapr Silver Senior Member
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    Wow! I've never heard of anyone being "upgraded" the way you were. As a matter of fact, I'd say you were screwed, not upgraded. Sorry to hear that :(

    It's hard to tell whether a new SIM will help you since you don't have any problems yet. Make sure you do have international roaming enabled on your line. BTW, if you really have an unlocked phone, perhaps you could buy a prepaid SIM when in Mexico, so you won't have to pay really steep AT&T roaming rates, although it may not be necessarily dirt cheap to call back home.

    Anyway, to the best of my knowledge you can not get the current AT&T SIM card activated on your account without migrating and once you move one line, the rest have to follow.
     

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