Why would same SIM card access mobile network on phone but not on a tablet?

Drsunil V November 1, 2013

Why would same SIM card access the mobile network on phone but not on a tablet?

Why would the SIM card show no network when put on SIM card slot of the tablet but the same SIM card would easily access the network when installed on a mobile phone?

  1. Dalsan M
    November 2, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Not only is what Kannon and Oron say true, but there are different SIM cards for different generations of devices. This is similar to what Oron states, but some older devices do not work with newer SIM cards, and vice versa. I'd like to also add that some mobile data companies activate SIM cards for specific devices that it was activated on, such as cell phones only, which typically would have a voice attached to the service, and tablets or portable hotspot/3g dongles that require only data. The most common issue would be improper APN settings that tell the device where to look for the data carrier's network.

    • Drsunil V
      November 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks. I have read your answer with care. By new and old sim cards, do you mean sim cards of smaller size for the same purpose as used in windows phone 8, like used in nokia lumia 720?

    • Dalsan M
      November 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      The size wasn't what I was talking about, it was the edition of the card to support newer technology. Newer technology doesn't necessarily mean from 2G/EDGE to 3G, 3G to 4G/LTE, but could be how updates to software, hardware, or cell tower technology changes.

      T-Mobile USA changed their SIM cards about three times in the past two or three years, and only a couple changes were for 4G compatibility. The others, I think, were to keep up with updated hardware and/or embedded SIM firmware. I cannot find any information to confirm this, but this was my experience with T-Mobile.

      More information about the differences on SIM cards, and how the SIM circuit contacts changed here (with images): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subscriber_identity_module

  2. Oron J
    November 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    It's may be that the phone is 2G and the tablet is 3G (or vice versa). The SIM would work with one but not the other.

    • Sunil
      November 2, 2013 at 8:26 am

      Both devices are 3G

    • Sunil
      November 2, 2013 at 8:29 am

      On tab , the network comes on at times , but then it fails to access the network at other times and places. But no such discrepancy when using same sim on 3G phone instead of 3G tab

  3. Kannon Y
    November 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Hello Sunil!

    It's possible that the APN settings for mobile data on the tablet differ from the APN settings for the phone. Have you tried Googling the correct APN settings for the tablet?

    I wrote an article on the subject of APN settings for Android. Settings differ from region to region, as well. Canadian APN settings are different from US settings and so on.

    • Sunil
      November 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

      hi. Yes I have tried to Google and tried various permatations and combinations but to no avail.

      Not that the network is absent full time. At times and at places , the network comes on then it fails to access the network at other times and places

      But no such discrepancy when using same sim on 3G phone instead of 3G tab

    • Kannon Y
      November 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      I would think that Dalsan's answer is the most appropriate. I didn't know that differing generations of SIM cards were not reverse compatible with each other.

      Another potential issue could be that of antenna quality. You can measure this yourself by going to Settings -> About Tablet -> Status (I think). You can also install an app that will measure signal quality:


      You may notice that the tablet has a poorly made antenna.

    • Drsunil V
      November 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks. There sounds a lot of sincerity in your response.

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