TAG Mobile is one of the companies you can get free cell phone service without payment. It also has a prepaid phone service, with plans from as low as $10. A full review of the two services will be a topic of another day, though. In this article, we’ll be looking at how to activate TAG Mobile sim card for use.
Of course, not that the TAG Mobile activation is a hassle. It’s a pretty easy process, only not all self-help as we see on other phone carriers.
You Need to Qualify for the TAG Mobile Service First!
TAG Mobile prepaid service isn’t the most budget-friendly. So, most of the subscribers of the cellular provider are on the free phone service. The company offers free phone service through the Lifeline and ACP program.
As you may know by now, the government phone service with Lifeline or ACP program is available to low-income individuals. And as per the FCC policies, you’ll only qualify for the free TAG Mobile phone service with proof of low income or participation in government-funded assistance benefits.
However, TAG Mobile isn’t responsible for verifying your registration. After submitting your enrollment details, the phone provider will forward them to the National Verifier- the USAC database system that determines your eligibility.
Once the National Verifier approves your details, TAG Mobile will start processing your order- i.e. the service plan you selected during enrolment.
You Can Activate TAG Mobile SIM Card with BYOP
When you apply for the TAG Mobile free phone, you’ll have to choose between four plans. Two of the plans are eligible for the free touch screen government phones, and the other pair is on BYOD.
BYOD (bring your own device) is where you get to join with your favorite phone brand. But unlike most carriers that offer a BYOD option, there’s no TAG Mobile phone compatibility check.
What this means is that before proceeding with service activation, you should make sure your phone is compatible with the TAG Mobile service. Otherwise, when your phone isn’t compatible with the operator, it won’t work with the SIM card.
A crucial point on phones compatible with TAG Mobile is that the carrier runs off T-Mobile, Verizon,
and Sprint. So, to be safe, I’d recommend you have a phone that supports network technologies from all these Major Carriers.
After extensive research, only Apple/ iPhone devices seem consistently compatible with all the US carriers. In the case of Android phones, various brands (and models) are only compatible with select carriers.
Note: besides the network compatibility, the software of your BYOD phones must also be compatible with TAG Mobile service. And this means the device should be either locked to TAG Mobile or fully unlocked.
Which TAG Mobile SIM Card Did You Get?
TAG Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which is why the service is using cellular towers of other carriers. The MVNO claims to use all the Major Carriers for its service.
However, the TAG Mobile coverage map shows they no longer offer service on AT&T. The same map also shows that Sprint coverage is still available. But in a recent report, T-Mobile was forcing Sprint SIM retirement, with the disconnection deadline on 1st May 2023.
So, at this point, you can only activate the TAG Mobile SIM card on T-Mobile or Verizon network. The SIM card you should get depends on which works best in your location.
Verizon is the best network coverage in the country- at least on the LTE connection. It has access to both Metropolises and rural areas. Hence, the reason the TAG Mobile coverage map shows areas like Prinesville and Powell Butte has a Verizon signal but zero signal on T-Mobile.
Will the Verizon & T-Mobile Differences Affect TAG Mobile SIM Card Activation?
When you compare Verizon vs T-Mobile side by side, there are several crucial differences. Part of these differences is that the two Major Carriers operate on different network frequencies and protocols.
On network protocols, Verizon is a CDMA phone provider, where they usually configure the service with your device. Then T-Mobile is a GSM phone provider, where you can easily swap your SIM card with a phone. It (GSM protocol) doesn’t require configuring the service with your device.
As per the general rule, MVNOs often adopt both the network frequencies and protocols of their carrier networks. In the case of MVNOs that use multiple Major Carriers, the standard network protocol they adopt is either (CDMA or GSM), or both.
TAG Mobile is an excellent example of a phone carrier that uses multiple Carrier Networks. It primarily adopts the CDMA network protocol.
What this means is that the process to activate a TAG Mobile SIM card will involve configuring it with your phone/ tablet. But, unfortunately, this process isn’t as easy as competitors like SafeLink, as TAG Mobile doesn’t support online activation for now.
Quick Steps On How To Activate TAG Mobile Sim Card
In a nutshell, phone carriers have three main ways you can activate your SIM card: online, by calling a customer, or at the dealers.
Unfortunately, TAG Mobile has no dedicated physical stores you can visit to shop or activate your service. And this is the reason the dedicated TAG Mobile store locator shows no locations.
Nevertheless, the Lifeline company does have traveling sales agents, who you may find camped outside public centers. The drawback is that after these agents sign you up, they won’t be able to verify your details with National Verifier.
So, in this method, there’s a risk your TAG Mobile SIM card activation may be temporary. It’s one of the cases where you hear a subscriber got disconnected from the service after a month or two without notice.
As I’ve mentioned above, TAG Mobile also doesn’t support service activation online at this moment. If it was available, the method would have been the most efficient as you get to do everything yourself without involving customer care.
You Can Only Activate TAG Mobile SIM Card through Customer Care
Well, a call to customer care is the best way how to activate TAG Mobile SIM card. “Best” in this case means the method is the most effective. You won’t have to worry about unsuccessful activation or irregular disconnection.
For the steps to activate the TAG Mobile SIM card through customer Care:
Step 1:Gather Everything You Need to complete the activation. The things you’ll need include your TAG Mobile accounts details, such as the full name, Lifeline/ ACP approval pin, and ZIP code. You’ll also need the phone number and ICCID of the TAG Mobile SIM card you wish to activate. Then make sure you have a working phone that can make calls and the other device (phone/ tablet) you plan to use with your TAG SIM card.
Step 2:Get the TAG Mobile SIM card ready. And this means you carefully remove the SIM card from the large plate. Make sure you pop out the right size of SIM card (Standard/ Micro/ Nano) that will fit on your device.
Step 3: Prepare the phone you’re going to use with your TAG Mobile SIM card. What this just means is to charge the device. Then locate the SIM slot and insert the card.
Step 4:Grab the other working phone and call TAG Mobile customer support at 1-866-959-4918. And once you connect with a representative, say you’d like to activate your SIM card for service.
Step 5: After engaging with a TAG Mobile representative, she/ he will be able to help you activate your SIM card. But before proceeding, you’ll need to provide your account information and other details I mentioned in Step 1.
Step 6: When the customer rep confirms your information, they’ll take you through the next step to activate your SIM card. However, the rep will do most of the work from their end.
Step 7: After completing the SIM card activation successfully, you should receive a text message welcoming you to the TAG Mobile service and network.
Step 8: Finally, confirm your TAG Mobile SIM card indeed works by making a call and text to any of your preferred cell phone numbers. Don’t forget to test the data services as well, including browsing, video calling, streaming, MMS, and others.
Even though it’s the most effective, the process to activate a TAG Mobile SIM card by calling customer support is a little inconvenient. The inconvenience is that when you contact customer support on call, it may take a while to get a hold of a live agent.
Besides calling, you can engage with TAG Mobile customer support on the online chat from the social media pages. The agent will still need to have your details, such as the full name and ZIP code, to proceed.
If lucky and get approved, that’s how to activate TAG Mobile SIM card. It’s not the most friendly process, considering you have to contact the customer support team to initiate the service activation.
However, I just had a quick chat with “Wilson” on the TAG Mobile online chat on this topic. The answer he has given is that I just “need to insert the sim card on any unlocked LTE Enabled GSM phone to start using our service”.
While this method seems straightforward, it doesn’t always work, especially when with the TAG Mobile SIM card on the Verizon network. It only works on the T-Mobile compatible SIM card, albeit still not always.
After all, even with the service on the Major Carriers T-Mobile and Verizon, you can just insert the GSM SIM card on any compatible phone and work instantly. But for the CDMA operator, you have to activate your SIM card together with the phone.