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New SIM activation terrible instructions!

You sent me a new SIM card to replace my old one. The instructions say:

'Had your new SIM set up for you? You're good to go! Follow the steps on the card to pop in your new SIM..........'

You didn't tell me whether or not my new SIM was set up for me, but as the 'steps on the card' are simply 'make sure you push out the right (size) SIM card', That's what I did, and 'popped' it in, as instructed. I had no phone service, so thought maybe you hadn't already set it up for me. Perhaps I needed to set it up myself? The next column says: 

'Activating your new SIM yourself? Here's what to do next: If you've still got your old SIM, text READY to 789678 and we'll send you a message to let you know it's all done'.

I tried that but still had no phone service, so it wouldn't send the text. The next paragraph said:

'If you don't have your old SIM, head to and follow the easy steps'.

Even though I do have my old SIM, I thought this was worth a try. However, that webpage no longer exists. Instead it forwards you to the main 'Help & Support' webpage for the whole of Virgin Media, from where it seems to be impossible to find a page where you can activate your SIM at all, (let alone by following 'easy steps'!).

The next paragraph says:

'You might need to turn off your phone and restart it for the change to go through'. 

I couldn't see how that could help when you hadn't received my text but tried it anyway! (I suppose just in the hope that the SIM card might have already been set up and that it might work after switching it off and on again!). Next it says:

'After that it usually takes about 10 minutes to get you active on our network (but please bear in mind it can sometimes take 24 hours)'.

As none of the above instructions had been any help in activating my SIM, I googled 'virgin new sim activation', and found that loads of other people had been confused by these instructions and that actually, you are supposed to send the 'READY' text using your old working SIM. It suddenly made sense that obviously the old SIM could send a text whereas the new SIM could not until it was activated. I was annoyed with myself for misunderstanding the instructions but after re-reading them, realised why so many people had had the same problem: the instructions are simply misleading, (not helped by the out of date website url for activating online and really not helped by the unnecessary use of the word 'next' before telling you to text READY to 789678, which reinforces the assumption that this is a second step, presumably after fitting the new SIM). If it had simply added the word 'in', it would have made more sense: 'If you've still got your old SIM in, text READY to 789678 and we'll send you a message to let you know it's all done'. / 'If you don't have your old SIM in, head to and follow the easy steps'. By not using the word 'in'', it's just asking you whether you have an old SIM or not, which I took to possibly be referring to existing or new customers: existing customers having an old Virgin SIM and new customers not. maybe that's a stupid assumption but I don't know how Virgins different systems work. (Although I do know that doesn't work, so if you don't have an old SIM it's impossible to activate a new one).

Anyway, now I understood what I needed to do!:

I refitted the old SIM and texted 'READY' to 789678. I waited for my reply. Nothing happened. I still waited. Still nothing happened. I phoned Virgin customer services using my landline, in case I had to do things with my mobile during the conversation. They told me it could take up to 24 hours. I said that although I had ready that at the very end of the instructions, I had assumed, (as the very first line on activating your own SIM simply says: '..... text READY to 789678 and we'll send you a message to let you know it's all done', that I would at least get a confirmation message, so that I at least know that the possible 24 hour process was underway! No. Virgin don't do that. I was told that I had to wait (up to 24 hours) until I got the message that it's all done.

The customer service person then looked on the system to see if the process was going through and asked if I still had me old SIM in my phone (which I did) and whether I could make phone calls. I tried it. I couldn't. He said that the old SIM is therefore now deactivated and repeated that I would get a message when the new one was set up. I complained that I now had no phone service at all: my old SIM was deactivated and my new one may not work for up to 24 hours. Then I suddenly realised that I could not possibly get the text message from them to confirm when it was 'all done' while I had no phone service. I immediately re-fitted my new SIM again and got the confirmation message!

I complained about the instructions that so many people have had problems with and was told that they are under review! I asked: If you know that there is a problem with them that is affecting your customers, why are you still sending them out? Why not simply include an explanatory note until you have updated your instructions? How long does it take to re-write simple instructions?

I've got a couple of minutes. I'll do it for you now:

If you've still got your old SIM, before you remove it from your phone text READY to 789678. This will start the activation process. Now remove your old SIM and fit your new one. Once the activation process is complete, we will send you a message to let you know it's all done'. this usually takes about 10 minutes (but please bear in mind it can sometimes take 24 hours).

If you have any problems, just give our team a call on 0345 6000 789 and we will get things sorted. (There's no point in trying to sort it out via our website because we have removed the page that was set up for this purpose).


There. Done. You're welcome.

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Message 2 of 2
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Re: New SIM activation terrible instructions!

You are absolutely right, it took me all day to get the new sim card to work in the new phone. Eventually sorted by calling Virgin 0345 6000 789 and getting them to activate it on the spot The only problem now is that very little of the original data, photos etc have transferred to the new phone and none of the apps. Did everything have to be backed up before the switch. There are no instructions as to how to keep all the info on the old phone. I did tell it to back up everything on the cloud, it took about 12 hours but I still don't know if it worked. If it did how do I extract it from the ether??

Well done for giving clear instructions for (older?) people who have little knowledge of how these new fangled devices work!!! :-) 

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