How to replace your SIM Card with a Micro SIM or Nano SIM Card
February 17th, 2017
Newer handsets typically require a Micro SIM or Nano SIM. Therefore, if you’re changing handsets, you may also need to change the size of your SIM card at the same time.
If you’ve recently upgraded to a new smartphone, there’s a good chance it’ll require a Micro SIM or Nano SIM. Before you’re able to use your SIM card in the new handset, you’ll first need to make sure it’s of the right size. If not, you can replace your current SIM card with either a smaller Micro SIM or Nano SIM.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can change your current SIM card for a Micro SIM or Nano SIM. We’ll discuss the process on each UK mobile network and also how much you can expect it to cost. We’ll then discuss the option of manually cutting down your SIM card, and how to use a smaller SIM card in an old handset.
- 1 Which Size SIM Card Do I Require?
- 2 Changing to Micro SIM or Nano SIM
- 3 Cutting Your Own SIM Card
- 4 Using Older Handsets
- 5 More Information
Which Size SIM Card Do I Require?
There are currently three different sizes of SIM card in use:
- Standard SIM (25mm x 14mm): Typically used by feature phones and early smartphones.
- Micro SIM (15mm x 12mm): Typically used on mid-range and entry-level smartphones released in the last few years.
- Nano SIM (12.3mm x 8.8mm): Typically used on high-end mobile devices released in the last few years.
If you’re changing handsets (e.g. upgrading to a new model), it’s fairly common that you’ll need to replace your current SIM card with a smaller version.
To find out exactly what type of SIM card is required by your smartphone, please select your handset through the following interactive tool:
|SIM Card Finder|
Alternatively, the following table shows the required SIM card size for some commonly-used handsets:
For more information, please see our in-depth guide on the different sizes of SIM card. This will explain in more detail the differences between Standard SIM, Micro SIM and Nano SIM.
Changing to Micro SIM or Nano SIM
The best way to change the size of your SIM card depends on whether you’re inside or outside the minimum term of your contract.
If you’re inside the minimum term of your contract (e.g. in the first 24 months), you can ask your mobile network to replace your SIM card for you. Depending on your network, there might be a small charge for this but you’ll be able to keep your current mobile contract without any changes.
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, the best thing to do is normally to switch to either a “Micro SIM Only” or “Nano SIM Only” deal. You’ll get a new SIM card with no upfront cost which will be of the right size to fit in your new smartphone. You’ll also potentially save money compared to your current contract (a SIM-only deal could be about £20/month cheaper than your current mobile contract).
The following table shows a sample of some SIM-only deals currently available:
inc. £5 discount
* Customers with BT Broadband get a £5/month discount on BT Mobile tariffs (already shown in the table above).
Through the rest of this section, we’ll discuss in more detail how you can replace your current SIM card on each UK mobile network:
BT Mobile can replace your SIM card for free if you’re still within the minimum term of your contract. To do this, you should visit bt.com/replacesim. Alternatively, you can contact BT Customer Services on 150 (or 0800 800 150 if you’re calling from another network). It can take 3-5 days for your replacement SIM card to arrive through the post.
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, it may be better changing to one of BT Mobile’s new SIM-only deals. You’ll be asked which size of SIM card you require for your new phone when ordering the tariff online:
You may also be able to save money by ordering a BT Family SIM card.
EE (including Orange & T-Mobile)
If you’re still within the minimum term of your contract, it will cost £10.21 to get a replacement Micro SIM or Nano SIM from EE or T-Mobile. This is charged to your next monthly bill if you’re a Pay Monthly customer, or to your airtime balance if you’re a Pay As You Go customer. For customers on Orange, replacement SIM cards are available for free.
The fastest way to get a replacement Micro SIM or Nano SIM is by visiting your nearest EE retail store. An in-store SIM card swap-over will take less than one hour. If you aren’t able to easily visit an EE retail store, you can alternatively order a replacement SIM card online. If you do this, it may take a couple of days for the replacement SIM card to arrive. Upon arrival, you should then follow the instruction here to activate your new SIM card.
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, consider instead moving over to one of EE’s SIM-only deals. You’ll receive a brand new SIM card with no upfront cost, therefore allowing you to bypass the charge of £10.21:
giffgaff doesn’t charge for replacement Micro SIMs or Nano SIMs. Simply order a replacement SIM card from the giffgaff website. It can take up to 5 working days for your replacement SIM card to arrive. You can then use giffgaff’s online SIM swap functionality to get your SIM card changed over. This normally happens in just a couple of minutes, but could take up to 24 hours in certain situations.
If you’re still inside the minimum term of your contract, iD Mobile makes a small charge for providing you with a replacement Micro SIM or Nano SIM. The fastest way to get a replacement SIM card is by visiting your nearest Carphone Warehouse store. Alternatively, if you’re not able to do this, you can contact iD Mobile customer services on 7777 (0333 003 7777 if you’re calling from another network). You can get a quote for the cost of the replacement SIM when calling iD Mobile.
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, you may be able to save money by switching to one of iD Mobile’s SIM-only deals. In this case, iD Mobile will send you a new SIM card and you won’t need to pay anything upfront for it:
O2 will replace your SIM card free of charge in any of their retail stores. This is the quickest way to get a replacement Micro SIM or Nano SIM. If you aren’t able to visit an O2 store in person, you can alternatively call O2 Customer Services to have a SIM card sent out to you in the post (dial 202 if you’re a Pay Monthly customer or 4445 if you’re on Pay As You Go). Customers receiving a SIM card through the post will need to use O2’s SIM swap tool.
For customers who are outside the minimum term of their contract, it may be better value moving over to one of O2’s SIM-only deals. This can save you money on your tariff every month, whilst giving you a smaller SIM card that slots into your new handset:
If you’re a customer of Plusnet Mobile, it will cost £3.50 to get a replacement Micro SIM or Nano SIM (this also applies to anyone who previously signed up for LIFE Mobile). You can request a replacement SIM card by calling Plusnet Mobile customer services on 500 (or 0800 079 1133 if you’re calling from another mobile network).
A more cost-effective option could be upgrading to one of Plusnet Mobile’s new 4G-enabled SIM cards. With this, you’ll get a new SIM card free of charge. You’ll also be able to access 4G (something that’s not currently available if you originally signed up for LIFE Mobile).
If you’re still within the minimum term of your contract, Tesco Mobile can provide you with a replacement SIM card free of charge. You can get one from your nearest Tesco Mobile Phone Store or you can call Tesco Mobile Customer Services on 4455 (0345 301 4455 if you’re calling from another mobile network). You can follow the instructions here to get your new SIM card activated.
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, you can possibly save money by switching to one of Tesco Mobile’s SIM-only deals. You’ll get a brand new SIM card that’s designed to slot into your new smartphone:
If you’re inside the minimum term of your contract, Three will provide you with a replacement Micro SIM or Nano SIM free of charge. To qualify for a free replacement, you should order the replacement SIM card online (it can take 3-5 working days for it to arrive). You can also obtain a replacement SIM card for £5.11 at your nearest Three retail store (though the staff will often waive this charge if you tell them you’re changing to a smaller-size SIM card).
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, switching to one of Three’s SIM-only deals can save you some money. You can choose a new Standard SIM, Micro SIM or Nano SIM which is provided to you with no upfront charge:
If you’re still inside the minimum term of your contract, Virgin Mobile can send you a replacement Micro SIM or Nano SIM. This will cost £2.99 with Royal Mail first class delivery or £7.99 with priority next-day delivery. You can order a replacement SIM card by calling Virgin Mobile Customer Services on 789 (0345 6000 789 if you’re calling from another network). It’s not possible to get a replacement SIM card from Virgin Media stores.
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, you should instead consider switching to one of Virgin’s SIM-only deals. With this, you’ll get some great allowances at a low monthly cost along with 4G coverage and a new SIM card with no upfront cost:
If you’re still within the minimum term of your contract, Vodafone can send you a replacement Micro SIM or Nano SIM totally free of charge. The quickest way to get a replacement is at your nearest Vodafone retail store (they can change your SIM card over in less than 15 minutes). Alternatively, you can call Vodafone Customer Services on 191 (or 03333 040 191 from any other network) and they’ll send you a replacement SIM card through the post.
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, consider switching to one of Vodafone’s SIM-only deals. This will give you a new SIM card of the right size to fit in your handset and can save you money on your phone bill every month:
For a complete round-up of “Micro SIM Only” and “Nano SIM Only” deals available in the UK, please see our full guide to the UK’s best value SIM-only deals.
Cutting Your Own SIM Card
If you’re switching from Standard SIM to Micro SIM, the only difference is the amount of plastic surrounding the metallic chip on your SIM card. For this reason, it’s sometimes possible to cut down the SIM card yourself into Micro SIM dimensions. The easiest way to do this is by purchasing a specialist Micro SIM Cutter (available on Amazon for about £5).
If you’re slightly more daring, you can also follow DIY instructions to cut your own Micro SIM with a ruler and a pair of scissors. In general, however, we’d strongly recommend against doing this as a broken or badly-cut Micro SIM can cause damage to your handset.
If you’re switching to a nano-sized SIM card, please be aware that it isn’t possible to cut your regulation Nano SIM. This is because Nano SIMs are slightly thinner than Standard SIM and Micro SIM. Therefore, a Nano SIM that you’ve cut yourself will be slightly too thick and carries the potential to damage your handset (e.g. it could get jammed in the Nano SIM slot).
|SIM Type||Length (mm)||Width (mm)||Height (mm)|
The dimensions of a standard SIM card, micro SIM card and nano SIM card. For more information, see our comparison of the different SIM card types.
Using Older Handsets
After changing to a smaller-size SIM card, it should normally still be possible to use the SIM card on older handsets. You can achieve this by using a relatively inexpensive SIM card adapter (e.g. Nano-to-Micro, Nano-to-Standard or Micro-to-Standard).
Once you’ve received an adapter, do please take additional care. For instance, you shouldn’t place the adapter in a smartphone unless a SIM card has first been placed in the adapter. This is because an inserted adapter without a SIM card inside could cause damage to your handset (e.g. breaking the SIM card reader pins).
Finally, you should also be warned that certain handsets are incompatible with SIM card adapters. You should exercise caution particularly on devices that have a push-in SIM card slot (the delicate metal pins that connect to the SIM card can easily be damaged through the use of an adapter). The All About Symbian website has a great report on the different types of SIM card slots and the potential damage from adapters.
If you’re not sure which size of SIM card your handset requires, please see our list of smartphones and the required SIM card for each one. For customers who are outside the minimum term of their contract, we recommend switching to a new SIM-only deal.
My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.
Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.