In order to use the phone parts of FONA you will need a SIM card. Luckily, there's a phone store in every town in America! You can get a pre-paid or post-paid SIM but we kinda like the pre-paid kind.

A 2G Mini SIM card is required to use the module. Nearly any cell phone shop can sell you a SIM card. It must be a 2G GSM card. AT&T in the US does not sell these anymore! They are shutting down their GSM network, and only T-mobile sells and supports a GSM network. If you are in another country, chances are you can just ask for a GSM 2G card.

MicroSIMs won't fit - so make sure its a "Mini" SIM. Sometimes these are just called plain "SIM" cards since the huge-size SIMs are rarely used. Mini SIMs are 1" x 0.6" / 25mm x 15mm. these are by far the most common size.

The only thing to watch for is you need to have a 2G GSM-compatible SIM

In the US, AT&T no longer sells 2G SIMs! We suggest T-Mobile or T-Mobile "distributors"
If you have an older AT&T SIM it may work. AT&T announced in 2012 that they would shut down their 2G network January 1, 2017. The vast majority of M2M (machine-to-machine) cellular devices use GSM, so the 5 year lead time was to give people plenty of time to migrate from AT&T.

You can read an interesting whitepaper from Aeris about this below:

T-Mobile & TING

T-Mobile does not have any announcement that they will sunset GSM. We can't speak for them but we expect at least 5 years warning as well, probably they will never fully sunset since there's millions of machines with GSM connectivity.

Adafruit now sells the TING SIM card, a 2G GSM SIM that works great with all FONAs, and has a great billing system as well, where you only pay what you use!

If you don't want to use TING, there are dozens of T-Mobile resellers such as Walmart, SIMPLEMOBILE, etc! Just ask the seller if its AT&T or T-Mobile network. If they get cagey just say your apartment has no AT&T coverage.

You do not need to bring in or show your FONA to the Cell Phone store. Just tell them you need a Mini SIM for a GSM phone and it's at home.

Some suggestions from FONA users!

We haven't tried all of these SIMs so you may need to try it out. For other countries, GSM is very common so you should be able to buy a SIM from any cell phone store.

This guide was first published on May 29, 2015. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Obtaining a SIM) was last updated on Jul 02, 2014.

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