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How to activate your Telstra SIM card

Everything you need to know about activating your Telstra SIM card.

Nathan Lawrence
Nov 25, 2021
Icon Time To Read3 min read

Assuming you’ve hung onto your SIM ejector tool, putting in a new SIM card is a relatively painless process that you shouldn’t have to play around with unless you shift providers or handsets. Once the SIM is in, though, you do need to make sure it’s activated so you can make and receive calls, send SMS and MMS texts and use the internet.

And if that SIM card happens to be from Telstra, here’s how to activate it.

Telstra Prepaid or SIM only

If you’ve signed up for a Telstra mobile plan, you’ll either be using a Telstra SIM Only plan (also called Telstra Upfront) or a Telstra Prepaid plan. While both plan types are paid in advance and they have identical-looking SIM cards, there are slightly different SIM activation steps.

Info Box
What is a Telstra eSIM?
Telcos like Telstra don’t just offer physical SIM cards, they also offer a digital eSIM. Because an eSIM is digital, it removes the need to physically insert a SIM card. If you have a compatible handset, all you need is a WiFi connection initially to configure a Telstra eSIM. You can read more about Telstra’s eSIM service here.

How to activate a Telstra Upfront SIM service

Make sure you’ve inserted your SIM card or used your camera to scan a QR code for eSIM. The activation steps for a Telstra Upfront plan are the same as for a data plan, both of which involve using the My Telstra app (compatible with iPhone and Android phones). Once installed, open the My Telstra app, choose the ‘Track my orders’ option, then select your order and hit ‘Activate’.

You can also follow the step provided at this Telstra activation link that prompts you to enter your mobile number to activate.

If you have a new Telstra Upfront service with a new number or you’re upgrading your service, your SIM card should already be activated. For those who are upgrading their service and need a new SIM or are transferring from another telco, activation is required.

Telstra notes that it can take up to two business days to activate a Telstra Upfront service, but it should be sooner. Keep an eye out for an email from Telstra saying your service has been activated and is good to go. If you haven’t activated your SIM, Telstra will send you a reminder and then, 48 hours later, will automatically activate your service if you haven’t activated it manually.

Telstra Upfront plans

Below is a daily updating list of popular Telstra SIM Only plans from our comparison engine.

For comparison, you can see a daily updating list of popular SIM Only plans from our database below.

How to activate a Telstra Prepaid SIM service

Be sure to hang onto the packaging from your Telstra SIM kit when you’re activating your Telstra Prepaid SIM service. On the back of the packaging is the 13-digit SIM serial, which you enter at this Telstra Prepaid activation page. This starts the Telstra Prepaid activation process, where you’ll confirm service details, input ID and contact information, then confirm your recharge options before reviewing and submitting. Be sure to have a valid form of ID to verify your identification during this process.

Telstra notes that you can either opt for a new Telstra mobile number or choose to transfer your existing number. If you want to transfer your number, keep the SIM from that soon-to-be-former telco in your handset until your service is disconnected. Note that mobile number transfers can only be done within Telstra’s operating hours. All in, it should take around four hours for your Telstra Prepaid service to be up and running.

You’ll know your Telstra service is ready to use when you see ‘Telstra’ next to the mobile coverage bars. Restart your device and check for this if you can’t see it after four hours.

Telstra Prepaid plans

If you’re in the market for a Telstra Prepaid plan, you can see a daily updating list of popular picks from our comparison engine below.

Alternatively, below are the popular Prepaid picks from all the plans in our comparison engine.

SIM cards for travelling

ICYMI: Hey, are you travelling around Australia looking for the perfect SIM for your trip? Check out our guide to the Best SIM cards for travelling around Astralia.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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