Do I need a new SIM card for 5G?

13 June 2022

5G sim

If you’re considering an upgrade to 5G then you probably already know that you’ll need a 5G phone and a 5G plan to make use of it, but do you also need a new 5G SIM card?

This guide will answer that question, so you’ll have all the information you need to get started with 5G.

Do I need a new SIM card to connect to a 5G network?

The short answer to that question is that is depends. In most cases you won’t – you can just keep using your old SIM card and it will connect to a 5G network if paired with a 5G plan and device, but there are exceptions to that.

Every SIM card on EE, Three and Vodafone is 5G-ready, which means that even if you’ve had a SIM card on one of those networks for a long time you shouldn’t need to switch it out for a new 5G one – and any SIM card you get from those networks now will support 5G as standard.

However, oddly this isn’t true of O2, with the network claiming that you will need a new 5G SIM card to access 5G on its network.

The good news is that O2 has been providing 5G SIM cards with its 5G phones as standard since October 17th, 2019, but if you have an older SIM card from the network then it might be a 4G one.

When ordering a SIM card for SIM-only, you can let the network know that you have a 5G device, and this will ensure that your new card also supports 5G.

SIM Only Deals

Triple SIM

Micro SIM card
30GB Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£10.00 a month
1 month contract
£10.00 a month

Triple SIM

Micro SIM card
100GB Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£12.00 a month
12 month contract
£12.00 a month

Triple SIM

Micro SIM card
Unlimited Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£17.00 a month
12 month contract
£17.00 a month

What about MVNOs?

On BT Mobile, all SIM cards sold since September 1st, 2020, are 5G ready.

All other 5G MVNOs appear to support 5G as standard on their SIM cards.

How can I tell if my SIM card supports 5G?

As noted above, all SIM cards from Three, EE and Vodafone - along with most MVNOs - should support 5G, so if you’re on one of those networks your SIM card almost certainly will.

If in doubt and you have access to a 5G phone and plan, just put the SIM card in, make sure you’re in a 5G area (you can check a network’s 5G coverage to confirm this) and then see if the word ‘5G’ appears in the status bar. If so then your SIM card supports 5G, if not then it probably doesn’t – though it’s worth walking around a bit to be sure, in case you’re just in a 5G blackspot.

If you’re still unsure or don’t have the means to test, give your network a call and they can advise you.

James Rogerson
About James Rogerson

Editorial Manager

James has been writing for us for over 10 years. Currently, he is Editorial Manager for our group of companies ( 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk) and sub-editor at TechRadar. He specialises in smartphones, mobile networks/ technology, tablets, and wearables.

In the past, James has also written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media, Smart TV Radar, and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV. He has a film studies degree from the University of Kent, Canterbury, and has over a decade’s worth of professional writing experience.

View more posts by James Rogerson >

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