Go back

Can I use an eSIM on a blacklisted phone?

With tips on how to avoid getting a blacklisted phone

· 2 min read

As we see prices of mobile phones and devices increase with each release, consumers are turning to resale markets to get their hands on second-hand devices at an affordable price. However, getting resale phones come with its own set of risks. If in the unfortunate event you purchased a second-hand device that happened to be blacklisted, you might want find out if it is possible to still install an eSIM in the phone.

phone components

What is a blacklisted phone?

A blacklisted phone is a device that has been reported as lost, stolen, or involved in fraudulent activity. When a phone is blacklisted, its unique identification number, known as the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity), is added to a global database of blacklisted devices.

Carriers and authorities use this database to prevent blacklisted phones from being used on their networks. However, it should be worth noting that although this database serves as a reference for carriers, not all operators honour this list of blacklisted devices. Nevertheless, in the event where you lost your phone or it got stolen, it is recommended that you contact your carrier and ask them to add your IMEI to the list of blacklisted devices.

Can an eSIM work in a blacklisted phone?

If a phone is blacklisted, it usually no longer supports cellular services. So while you are able to use the phone for other activities like playing mobile games, listening to music, or streaming via Wi-Fi, you will probably not be able to use your phone for activities that require you to connect to a network operator.

So, even if you do manage to install an eSIM in your phone, chances are that you will not be able to connect to the network operator, essentially deeming your eSIM 'unworkable'. This applies not only to eSIMs, but also physical SIMs.

However, there could be some cases where you could actually still use eSIMs on a blacklisted phone. The ability to use eSIM on a blacklisted phone depends on several factors, including the policies of the carrier or mobile network provider and the reason the phone was blacklisted in the first place.

  1. Carrier Policies: Some mobile carriers may refuse to activate eSIM service on a blacklisted phone due to security concerns. They may want to prevent the device from accessing their network, regardless of whether it uses eSIM or a physical SIM card. However, as we mentioned previously, not all carriers respect this global list of blacklist phones — so if your carrier happens to be one that disregards this list, then it is possible that you can still get connected.
  2. Reason for Blacklisting: The reason for blacklisting the phone matters. If the phone was blacklisted because it was lost or stolen, or if it was simply incorrectly blacklisted, it might be possible to work with the carrier or authorities to have it removed from the blacklist. It is recommended that you contact your carrier to check if they are able to assist with removing your device from the blacklist.
  3. Unofficial Methods: It's worth noting that some individuals may attempt to use eSIM on a blacklisted phone through unofficial means, such as unlocking or jailbreaking the device. There are also some third-party services that claim to be able to remove your device from the blacklist. However, such actions may violate the terms of service of both the carrier and the device manufacturer and may carry its own risks.

How do I know if my phone is blacklisted?

If you are planning to purchase a second-hand device, it is recommended to first check that the device is not on the blacklist. Get the seller to let you know the IMEI number of the device (or check that number yourself), and call your carrier to double-check that the IMEI number has not been blacklisted.

While this process might be a little more cumbersome and tedious, and even if there are ways that you could actually use your blacklisted device for cellular services, we recommend that you check that the device is clean before purchasing it. This will give you a peace of mind and help ensure that the device you purchase is not a blacklisted phone and can be used as intended.