what does sim not provisioned means

What Does SIM Not Provisioned Mean and How to Fix

What does SIM not provisioned means? If you’ve ever owned a mobile phone, you’ve definitely asked this question at least once.  

But what does it mean? What can and can’t you do with your mobile phone when you receive this error message? Would you still be able to recover this?

In case you’re one of the victims of this infamous error, don’t fret!

In this guide, we’ll not only discuss what SIM not provisioned means, but we will also help you fix and put a permanent solution to it!

What Can’t You Do with Your Mobile Phone If You Receive This Error?

Many people get alarmed whenever they get this error on their mobile devices without them knowing what they can or can’t do with it.

Our mobile phones, to be able to send outgoing calls and text messages, have SIMs.

A SIM, short for Subscriber Identity Module, is what’s responsible for all the text messages, calls, and mobile data we have.

If you’re currently under this error, basically, you wouldn’t be able to send or receive text messages, receive incoming calls and make outgoing calls, and activate mobile data.

Moreover, you can think of it as your chip being disabled for some reason.

Emergency Calls Option

More often than not, when you get this message, you’ll see an Emergency Calls button accompanying this error.

Emergency Calls mean that you wouldn’t be able to make normal calls as well as receive and send normal text messages. While on emergency calls, you will only be able to call 911.

The term “emergency” is the keyword; and when it comes to an emergency, you’d have to stick with law enforcement.

So, what’s the deal with provisioning? What does SIM card not provisioned mean?

Reasons Why You Receive the SIM Not Provisioned Error?

sim not provisioned reasons

Before we get into it further, let’s first try understanding what’s causing the error.

Some of the most common reasons why you might get this are:

Misplacement of the Card in the Tray

There are instances when our SIM cards would be misplaced and misaligned with the reader.

While our mobile phones have protection and covers, the internal structure of our mobile phones isn’t at all solid.

There might be some movement that caused it to move and be misdirected; this is what disables the capabilities of our chips.

Suspension of Your SIM Card from the Network

Another reason why you might be receiving that error is that the network might have suspended your identification chip.

One good reason why it might have been suspended is because of non-payment. However, some providers suspend or cut the connection even if the payment is just late.

Usage of an Old SIM Card with a New Phone

If you purchased a new phone, not from your telecommunications company and you decided that you’ll use your old SIM card on that phone, chances are, you’ll experience the error.

This is because the network might not know that you’ve changed phones. Alternatively, it might be a problem with the provider to distinguish the new phone.

Replacement of a New SIM Card with a New One

Have you ever experienced purchasing or changing new SIMs and using it on an old phone?

Doing so can actually result in you receiving the SIM card not provisioned error.

Since your SIM card is registered to a provider, they’ll distinguish the mobile phone with the SIM card; changing SIM cards can cause the provider to not recognize your phone to be part of the network.

Transfer of Services

Another plausible reason is that you might’ve forgotten that you’ve transferred services from one microchip card to another.

The old SIM where you’ve got the information you have on your new SIM card will have this error if it got deactivated.

These are some of the reasons why you’re seeing and receiving the SIM card not provisioned error.

What Does SIM Not Provisioned Means?

In the most basic terms, getting the SIM not provisioned means that there is something wrong between the distinction of your cellular service provider and your microchip.

Because our SIM cards are the only mode of distinction our network providers have with us, getting this error technically means that your provider does not recognize yours.

Thus, you will be unable to make or receive text messages and phone calls.

But is this error fixable and workable? If yes, what steps can you take?

Would You Be Able to Recover from This Error?

Probably the main reason why you’re reading this right now is because you’re looking for a fix.

While you’ll see a lot of guides and fixes online, those aren’t accurate. More often than not, those are general fixes for all types of mobile phones.

In this guide, we will be detailing how you can fix it in both an iPhone and an Android phone.

Fixing SIM Not Provisioned on an iPhone

fix sim not provisioned iphone

Here are the steps you can take to be able to fix this particular error on any version of the iPhone.

Step 1: Toggle Airplane Mode (ON/OFF)

The first step is to toggle your iPhone’s airplane mode.

This functionality switches your mobile phone’s connection to the cellular network. You can think of it as power cycling or refreshing the network.

Step 2: Power Cycle Your iPhone

After you toggle your iPhone’s airplane mode on and off, what you need to do is power cycle your device.

Power cycling means turning your iPhone for about 1 to 2 minutes, not just pressing on the “restart” option to reboot it.

Step 3: Carrier Settings Update

The next step you can do is to check if your service provider released any updates.

You can do so by going into Settings > General > About Phone > Carrier Settings Update. Hit on that category and there will be a prompt telling you that you could update your carrier settings.

If there’s none, you wouldn’t see a prompt.

Step 4: Update to the Latest iOS Version

After checking the update, check and see if there’s a software update on your iOS. You can do this by going into Settings > General.

Scroll down to the bottom part and tap on the option that says Software Update. Click on that and see if you can perform an iOS update.

Step 5: Remove and Reinsert the Microchip Card Properly

Locate the tray that holds it and remove it. Wipe it with a clean cloth and make sure that the chip is clean and free from any dirt and dust.

Insert it back again properly by following the shape that’s indicated on the tray.

These are the steps you can do to try and remove the not provisioned error on an iPhone.

However, if you’ve religiously followed all these steps and you still get the error, the best next thing to do is to contact your service provider.

Prepare the IMEI or the serial number of your mobile device because they might need it for verification purposes.

Tell them what the situation is, and they’ll gladly assist you.

Fixing SIM Not Provisioned on an Android Device

fix sim not provisioned android

While the error is the same, there’s a different approach on how you can try fixing the chip card not provisioned error on an Android device.

You can try following these steps to be able to do so.

Step 1: Remove the SIM Card from the Tray

The first step on how you can fix it is to remove the chip from the tray.

You can do so by locating it on the bevels or the edges of your mobile phone.

Step 2: Clean the SIM Card and Reinsert it

After the first step, carefully clean the SIM card using a clean fabric to rid it off of any dust or dirt.

Do this carefully as you may be able to scratch the chip of the SIM card, it can cause more errors and problems.

Step 3: Power Cycle Your Android Device

Once you’ve finished cleaning and reinserting the card, power cycle your device.

Turn it off for about 1 to 2 minutes and turn it back on.

By now, you should already have solved the problem. But, if the problem persists, proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Test the SIM Card in Other Phones

If it still doesn’t work, try and see if it will work on another Android device. If it works, then the problem is with your mobile phone.

Step 5: Try Other SIM Cards in the Phone

Should it have the same error, you might want to change the SIM card and try it out on the same mobile phone.

These are the steps on how you can put an end to the SIM card not provisioned error you’re receiving.

If it’s still giving you an error, contact your service provider immediately. Tell them about your dilemma.

Similar to iPhones, you’d also need the IMEI of your Android device so that your service provider can verify that the device you’re reporting is really yours.


Now, you’re not just aware of how to answer the question: what does SIM not provisioned mean, you’re now also able to solve it in either an iPhone or an Android device with ease!

Read Next: What is SIM only? Learn more.

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