How to do a SIM swap on MTN

A SIM swap is the process of replacing your current SIM card with a new one. It is a common practice when you want to keep your phone number but change your SIM card or when your SIM card is lost or stolen. In South Africa, MTN is one of the largest network providers, and they offer SIM swap self-service. In this article, we’ll go through the process of doing a SIM swap on MTN in South Africa

What you need to know before doing a SIM swap on MTN

One of the most convenient ways to do a SIM swap on MTN in South Africa is by using the USSD shortcode *135#. To do a SIM swap using *135#, you first need to be aware of the questions you’ll encounter, because if you fail the questions 3 times in a row, you’ll be blocked from carrying out a SIM swap for 30 days.

What is your legal name?

This question is to ensure that you are the rightful owner of the SIM card and that the swap is being carried out legitimately. 

What is your MTN cellphone number?

This is likely to be the first question you are asked when initiating a SIM swap. You will need to provide your current MTN cellphone number to confirm that you are the rightful owner of the SIM card.

How long have you been using the SIM?

Here you’ll need to provide the timeframe of when the number has been in active use. 

If you had used the SIM on a different network before moving to MTN, the date on which you migrated is the starting point of your active use. 

You’ll find the following date ranges in the USSD prompts:

0-3 months

0-6 months

6months – 1year

1 year to 3 years

2-4 years

More than 5 years

What is your ID number?

You may also need to provide your South African ID number as an additional layer of verification.

What is the reason for the SIM swap?

MTN may ask you to provide a reason for the SIM swap. The options you’ll likely see include loss, theft or damage to the SIM card, or simply wanting to upgrade to a new SIM card.

Are you on the MTN points program?

Customers who have had their MTN numbers for more than four years are automatically enrolled in the MTN Points program in South Africa.  However, if you’ve had your SIM for less than a year, it’s best to select ‘No’. 

How much was your last recharge?

If you have forgotten the amount or your SIM is lost,  simply purchase some airtime through someone’s phone to yours. That recharge will serve as the last amount you loaded. 

Date of last airtime recharge

If you use the method described above, you should be able to determine the date. But if you want to use this method to swap MTN SIM cards, you’ll need to wait roughly 10 minutes after recharging your airtime before you start the SIM swap process. 

Your last phone model

If your previous answers were not satisfactory, this question will be asked. The answer to this security question is the device into which you most recently inserted your SIM card before losing it. You should be familiar with the phone even if you’ve misplaced the SIM card.

You’ll be provided with a few choices, so it’s important you know your phone type.

How to do a SIM swap to the new MTN SIM

If you have lost your SIM card, or it was stolen or damaged, this first process will show you how to swap your MTN SIM:

  • First, get a new RICA-ed MTN SIM
  • After receiving welcome messages from MTN and waiting for the SIM card to be activated, you can begin using it by dialling *136#.
  • Follow this by dialling *135# and selecting option 5 (SIM swap). Following this, you will receive an SMS, which will instruct you on what to do next.
  • If you get a notice instructing you to call 135 or use an affidavit, you’ll need to visit an MTN service center. Your line may have been blacklisted.
  • If you receive a message instructing you to change your MTN SIM card by dialling *135#, you have a great chance of SIM swap success.
  • When you dial *135# again, MTN will verify your identity before allowing you to swap SIM cards.
  • If asked whether or not the SIM card is present in the phone, reply “yes.”
  • You will be given a few options for how you would like to do the SIM switch. Select “questionnaire”.
  • Questions like “Do you have points?” “When was the last time you loaded airtime?” “How much did you recharge?” “Do you have any data?” will be asked as explained above.
  • If you get a question wrong, you can try it again with three other answers. If you get any of these questions wrong three times, MTN will disable your account for a month.
  • You will receive two (2) confirmation SMS/messages once you have successfully answered the security questions.
  • A message confirming the successful SIM swap and providing an estimated completion time of two to four hours will arrive instantly. The second message will arrive usually after 5-10 minutes, and it will read: “SIM swap is successful, wait for 24 hours.” 
  • If the SIM swap process fails,  you will receive a second SMS  asking you to take an affidavit to the police station or contact 135 via phone call.

If you still have your old MTN SIM and want to upgrade to a new one, here’s how to do it: 

  • Ensure both your old and new SIM cards are in working phones.
  • Send the message “SIM swap” to 44770 from your current SIM number.
  • A one-time password (OTP) will be issued to you and will expire in 15 minutes.
  • Send the message “swap” plus your old number with the format *OTP# to 44770 from your new MTN SIM card. If your MTN number is 0731112222 and your OTP is 9876, you would send the following message to 44770: “swap 0731112222*9876#”.
  • After some minutes, your old MTN Sim should stop working and the new one will receive the baton.
  • When your new SIM card is activated, you can make and receive calls immediately.

Final thoughts on how to do a SIM swap on MTN SIM

That’s how to do a SIM swap on MTN in South Africa. It’s advisable to save all contact or messages from your old SIM to avoid data or information loss during your SIM swap.

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