AT&T Says SIM Contract Fiasco a Mistake


A day after we pointed out that AT&T’s new wireless offer, which tacked on a two-year contract to a SIM card (sans handset), was just plain “goofy,” the largest U.S. wireless carrier is saying it was a “mistake” — that the “two-year contract” term wasn’t part of the original language that was supposed to be published on the company’s web site. Well…someone should be transfered to Nowhereville for this error, don’t you think? Here are the updated terms of AT&T’s SIM card-only plan.

  • A customer can bring their own compatible device to us, and we will sell them a SIM for $25 or sometimes less.
  • The customer can purchase prepaid service, which requires no term commitment and no ETF.
  • In most cases, the customer can also purchase postpaid service with no term commitment and no ETF.
  • The exception is that we may require a commitment with a promotional rate plan.
  • In any case, the bottom line is that we give customers the option to bring their own device to us and purchase service on a month-to-month basis.


Donald Noble

This is all well and good, IF it works. It sounds like it is hit or miss with people visiting stores and calling. Can anyone produce an email, website or anything concrete from AT&T to back this up?

Jack Hugo

From looking around it seems that ATT is the only one offering ‘SIM card only’ for $25, ONLY with 2 yrs contract?

All over Asia one can buy a SIM card only, for as little as $5 with minutes SMART or GLOBE – Philippines -$1.50 without minutes- Cellcom/Malaysia – $10 with minutes – HKTEL/Macau, amongst others (INDIA/SINGAPORE etc) consumers benefit because of healthy competition. Why are the US carriers allowed to charge 1)high fees and 2)shove contracts on consumers’ faces and on top of that 3)charge money when you get incoming phone calls?


Just tried this at a store tonight, they said absolutely no way can you get postpaid service without a contract.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but does anyone have an actual link to anything by ATT actually saying this? I keep seeing websites talking about it, but as of now, its all just made up crap.


Not sure why this is news. AT&T’s been doing this for a while and without a 2 year contract. Just did it for 2 of my own phones in the last 3 months. Walked out with a SIM card with my number transferred from Sprint and only a 1 year contract.

I’m glad they are making it public that they are doing this. Maybe we are finally seeing the floodgate starting to open to carriers lessening their grip on device OEMs. About time.

Om Malik


thanks for the kind words. not sure, if i am the best reporter, but i am one for sure.

@ rest of the guys – I did check with AT&T folks and this is what they reaffirmed. If this doesn’t get to their sales force, well, we all will be keeping them honest.

Dave Burstein


Good to see the best reporter in this business back to work.


Also the fact that ATT will snoop on all of your activity for the FEDS and potentially block any pirated content as well just for kicks! This is all freely bundled with your account :)

Ewan MacLeod

As KMY points out, the critical element is communicating this news to the AT&T sales team in the field who’re busy telling everyone that such a deal is impossible.



Just called an ATT store to see what plan is available without a 2-yr contract if you only need to get a new SIM card. The reply was none…all plans require a 2-yr. You might want to call ATT to get more clarification because nothing really had changed.


AT&T the most “open” network for old GSM phones from other carriers….but NOT for the iPhone!


In this country, we get excited by such announcements whereas in countries like India, it is norm rather than exception. The wireless industry in this country is a matter of shame and a perfect case for the strong arm of the govt. to break open the industry so that it becomes consumer friendly.

Libran Lover

Agree with Scott above! What’s the bet that most of their typical rates are going to be “promotional rates” and they will the only ones which make some kind of economical sense for the average consumer?

While charging a premium for month-to-month service makes sense (even apartment rentals charge a premium for month-to-month contract), the question is if the premium in AT&T’s case will be too high!


I was an ATT customer back when they where cingular. I had my own phone that I purchased elsewhere, in order to switch from Old ATT to a Cingular SIM I had to sign a 2 year contract. The reason almost all of there plans are promotional and therefore require a contract. Really, there should just be a law – if you get a subsidy that is all you are contractually obligate to pay back.

Fazal Majid

It would be interesting to know if the prepaid plan also covers mobile data. The iPhone doesn’t allow you to use it as a Bluetooth modem for your laptop unlike Nokias (in fact, the iPhone’s Bluetooth is so crippled, it’s surprising it’s not a Verizon phone).

I wouldn’t mind paying $25 and per usage fees for mobile data when I need it, e.g. in airports.

Emanuele Vulcano

… which is how most EU carriers do it. (I prefer it this way. Carriers can sometimes be too much of a burden, technology-wise.)

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