Do I Need a New SIM Card for 5G? All Your Questions Answered

5G is rapidly rolling out all over the world, with India being the latest region to auction the 5G spectrum. As 5G is becoming commonplace, we have compiled some crucial resources for you. You can now learn how to check the 5G bands supported on your phone. Apart from that, you can check out a list of all 5G bands supported in India. And in this article, we answer if you need a new SIM card for 5G services or will your 4G SIM work in a 5G phone? Well, to find all the answers, let’s dive right in.

Do You Need a New SIM Card for 5G? Find the Answer Here (2022)

Whether you need a new SIM card to use 5Gnetwork or not, we have answered this much-requested question in this article. We have also added information based on regions and mobile carriers, so expand the table below to learn about 5G SIM cards.

Do I Need to Switch My SIM Card to Use 5G Services?

The straightforward answer to this question is no. You don’t need to buy a new SIM card for 5G services. However, there are some tricky points that you need to keep in mind.

Earlier in the 2G era, the smart card that we call SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) was based on an older mobile communication standard. Going forward, the term changed to USIM (Universal Subscriber Identity Module) with 3G roll out, and the new smart cards were based on 3GPP’s new standard. Technically, these newer SIM cards are also called Rel 99+ USIM cards, and they are forward and backward compatible with 2G, 3G, 4G, and even 5G networks.

So if you have a SIM card that works well with 4G/ LTE networks, then it will also work with 5G whenever it goes live in your country. You should be able to connect a 5G network to use mobile data and make calls using your existing 4G SIM. That said, some mobile carriers are requesting users to change their SIM cards for enhanced 5G services. So what is that about?

Well, to access Standalone 5G (SA 5G) services, a few carriers want users to get a new 5G SIM for better coverage and speed. SA 5G is a top-tier service where all the network infrastructure is built on the 5G architecture. This network offers almost zero latency, unparalleled speed, and enhanced network coverage indoors.

Having said that, SA 5G is an expensive technology, and it will take many years for carriers to implement it around the world. So for the foreseeable future, you will not need a new SIM card for 5G. For now, let’s not generalize the notion and take a look at what mobile carriers in the US and UK say about getting new 5G SIM cards.

T-Mobile (US)

5G services will work well on 4G SIM cards, but if you want to take advantage of T-Mobile’s SA 5G services, you need to get a 5G SIM from T-Mobile. The company is requesting 5G users to stop by its store to get an instant replacement without any fee.

Verizon (US)

You can use your 4G SIM to access Verizon’s 5G services, assuming you already have a 5G phone. You don’t need a new SIM card for 5G on the Verizon network.


You don’t need a new 5G SIM card to access 5G services on AT&T’s network in the US. However, you need to move to a 5G data plan.


You don’t need a 5G SIM to access 5G services on EE’s network in the UK.

O2 (UK)

O2 is asking its customers to get a 5G SIM to access its 5G services. However, if you got a SIM card after 2019 from O2, you don’t need a 5G SIM. The newer SIMs are already compatible with the 5G network. If you have an older one, you need to get a 5G SIM card.

Three (UK)

The 4G SIM cards from Three are already compatible with the telco’s 5G network in the UK. You don’t need a new 5G SIM.

Vodafone (UK)

You don’t need to switch to a 5G SIM to access faster 5G services on Vodafone’s network in the UK.

Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea (Vi): Do You Need New 5G SIM in India?

In India, none of the telecom companies have said that you will need to get a new 5G SIM to access 5G services. As we mentioned in our 5G development in India article, India is not implementing SA 5G and going for an indigenous solution called “5Gi”, which is essentially a Non-Standalone 5G infrastructure.

So yeah, you will not need a 5G SIM in India for either Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vi, or the new entrant, i.e. Adani Data Network. However, in the future, if one of the Indian telcos decides to roll out SA 5G services, you may have to ditch your 4G SIM and get a new 5G SIM.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I need a new SIM for 5G?

Most probably, you don’t need a 5G SIM. However, if your mobile carrier is asking you to get a 5G SIM, you should go for it. To access SA 5G services, which offers better coverage and network speeds, you require a new 5G SIM card.

Do I need to change my SIM card from 4G to 5G?

No, 4G SIM cards are forward compatible with 5G networks. You can use 5G services with your existing 4G SIM. That said, if your mobile carrier requests you to get a 5G SIM, you should switch to a new SIM as it will improve speed and indoor coverage.

Will my 4G SIM work in a 5G phone?

Yeah, your 4G SIM will work with a 5G phone. And if your country hasn’t rolled out 5G services yet, you can access 4G/ LTE services until then. Once 5G services roll out in your country, you simply need to head to “Settings -> Mobile network -> select the carrier“, and switch the preferred network type to “5G/4G/3G/2G” or “Only 5G”. This way, you will be able to enjoy 5G services with a 4G SIM on your phone.

Can you get 5G without a 5G SIM card?

Yes, you can get 5G services without a 5G SIM. 4G SIM cards are forward-compatible with 5G networks.

Use 5G Service Using a 4G SIM Card on Your Phone

So as I mentioned above, you certainly don’t need a 5G SIM to access 5G services in most cases. You will be able to use data and make calls with 5G network services using a 4G SIM. However, if your telecom operator asks you to buy a new 5G SIM, go ahead and make a switch. It will definitely improve the download speed and coverage in dense areas. Anyway, that is all from us. To find a list of 5G bands in the US for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, go through our curated list linked here. And if you have any questions about 5G services, 5G SIMs, or phones, let us know in the comment section below.

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