How to do an MTN SIM Swap or Replacement

Alex Ortiz
By Alex Ortiz 10 Min Read
10 Min Read

Hey there! Are you on the hunt for a way to swap or replace your MTN SIM? You’re in luck because you’ve found the perfect guide. MTN shines as South Africa’s second-largest mobile network, boasting millions of happy customers. Maybe you’re one of them and now find yourself needing a SIM swap. It could be that your old SIM is no longer working right, or perhaps you’ve lost your phone. No worries! I’m here to walk you through the steps for a smooth MTN SIM replacement. Let’s dive in!

MTN SIM replacement steps for lost, deactivated or damaged cards

Lost or damaged your MTN SIM? No problem! Let’s go through the steps to get your MTN SIM replaced. It’s a straightforward process, but make sure you follow each step carefully.

  • Get an MTN Starter Pack: Your first move is to buy a new MTN Starter pack. You can find these at most stores.
  • Register Your New SIM (RICA): Once you have your starter pack, it’s time to register it. This process is called RICA, and it’s super important for activating your new SIM.
  • Insert the New SIM into Your Phone: Now, pop the new SIM into your phone. If you have a second phone, you can use that too.
  • Select ‘Get a New Number’ (For Older SIMs): If you’re dealing with an older SIM and see a menu with options, choose ‘Get a New Number’.
  • Activate Your New SIM: To activate, dial *135# on your phone.
  • Start the SIM Swap Process: Next up, dial 1353#. This is the magic number for SIM swaps in South Africa.
  • Enter Your Old Phone Number: You’ll need to input the phone number of your old SIM—the one you’re replacing.
  • Follow the SMS Instructions: After entering your old number, you’ll get an SMS with further instructions to complete your SIM swap.
  • Answer the Security Questions: You’ll be asked some security questions, and you’ll need to explain why you’re replacing your SIM. Be quick—this needs to be done within 3 minutes.
  • Confirmation Message: If everything checks out and you’re verified as the owner of the number, you’ll receive a message confirming that your MTN SIM has been successfully swapped.

And that’s it! By following these steps, you’ll have your new MTN SIM up and running in no time.

MTN SIM swap procedure for cards that are still active

Got an active MTN SIM but still need to swap it? Maybe you’re upgrading to an LTE SIM, or you need a micro SIM for your new phone. Whatever the reason, here’s how you can smoothly swap your active MTN SIM card:

  • Buy an MTN Starter Pack: Your journey begins with purchasing a new MTN starter pack from a nearby store.
  • Register the New SIM (RICA): Just like with a new phone, you need to register your new SIM through the RICA process.
  • Insert the New SIM into Your Phone: Pop the new SIM into your phone. If you have a spare phone, you can use that one for this process.
  • Choose ‘Get a New Number’ (For Older SIMs): If you’re using an older SIM and see a menu, select ‘Get a New Number’. If this menu doesn’t pop up, just skip to the next step.
  • Activate Your New SIM: To activate your new SIM, simply dial *135#.
  • Reinsert Your Old SIM: Now, switch back to your old SIM. If you’re using two phones, just keep both SIMs in their respective phones.
  • Send a Swap Message: From your old SIM, text the word ‘Swap’ to 44770.
  • Note Down the OTP Pin: You’ll receive a message with an OTP (One-Time Pin). Make sure to write this down.
  • Switch to Your New SIM Again: Place your new SIM back into your phone. If you’re using two phones, just proceed to the next step.
  • Send Swap Message from New SIM: Create a new message from your new SIM. Type ‘Swap’, your old number, and the OTP, like this: Swap 0839876543*3456# (assuming ‘0839876543’ is your old number and ‘3456’ is your OTP).
  • Wait for Old SIM to Deactivate: You’ll need to wait until your old SIM stops working. This is a sign that the swap is in progress.
  • Insert Your New SIM and You’re Done: Once your old SIM is deactivated, put your new SIM back into your phone. Voila! You’re all set with your new SIM.

And there you have it! Follow these steps, and you’ll successfully swap your MTN SIM even if it’s still active.

MTN SIM Swap Number or Code

The key to starting your MTN SIM swap is the code *135#. It’s as simple as dialing this on your phone and selecting the option to swap your SIM, which is usually option 3. This is your first step in the SIM swap process.

Can you do a SIM swap online for MTN?

Wondering if you can swap your MTN SIM online? The answer is no, not really. There are a few physical steps you need to take first. For instance, you’ll need to purchase an MTN Starter Pack, and this means visiting your nearest MTN dealer.

Moreover, you need to RICA your new MTN SIM, which is a mandatory step in South Africa. RICA stands for Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act. It’s a rule that says every SIM must be registered before use. So, a trip to your MTN dealer is necessary for this step. Once you’ve done these, you can proceed with the SIM swap process on your own.

How much does it cost to replace an MTN SIM?

Good news! The actual SIM swap process with MTN won’t cost you anything. However, you do need to buy a new prepaid starter pack to get started. Luckily, these starter packs are quite affordable in South Africa. So, the only cost involved is the price of the starter pack.

Why replace your SIM?

You’ve just learned how to do an MTN SIM swap, and while it might seem a bit complex, it’s actually quite straightforward. But you might be wondering, why would someone need to go through this process? There are several reasons why you might find yourself needing to swap your MTN SIM, and here are a few of them:

  • Lost or Stolen SIM: Let’s face it, South Africa can be a tough place for cell phones. If your phone gets stolen, you’re not just losing your device but also the SIM card inside it. In such a case, you’ll need to replace your SIM.
  • Damaged SIM: Sometimes, SIM cards get damaged. It could be due to wear and tear, exposure to water, or just a technical fault. If your SIM isn’t working properly anymore, a SIM swap is the way to go.
  • New Phone, New SIM Requirements: Got yourself a shiny new phone? That’s great! But what if it requires a different type of SIM, like a micro SIM, and your current one doesn’t fit? In such scenarios, you’ll need to replace your old SIM with one that’s compatible with your new phone.

In these situations, knowing how to perform an MTN SIM swap can be a lifesaver. It’s all about staying connected and making sure your mobile services continue seamlessly, no matter what happens to your SIM card.


And there you have it — your comprehensive guide to performing a SIM swap on MTN! I hope this guide has been helpful to you. Whether you’ve lost your SIM or it’s been damaged, these steps will ensure you can replace your SIM without the hassle of changing your number.

Remember, staying connected is crucial, and understanding how to swap your SIM efficiently can make a big difference. And if you’re considering switching networks, you might be interested in our guides on how to port from Vodacom to MTN and how to port to Telkom from MTN. Check them out for more helpful tips and information!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MTN SIM Swap Code?

The code for initiating an MTN SIM swap is *135#. After dialing, choose the option to swap your SIM, usually option 3.

Can I Perform an MTN SIM Swap Online?

No, an MTN SIM swap cannot be completed entirely online. It requires physical steps like buying an MTN Starter Pack and RICA registration, which necessitates visiting an MTN dealer.

What Are the Main Reasons for Doing an MTN SIM Swap?

Common reasons include losing your SIM, having a damaged SIM, or needing a different SIM size (like a micro SIM) for a new phone.

Is There a Charge for Swapping an MTN SIM?

The SIM swap itself is free, but you need to purchase a new prepaid starter pack, which is the only cost involved in the process.

How Do I Swap My MTN SIM If It's Still Active?

To swap an active SIM, you need to buy a starter pack, RICA register the new SIM, activate it, send a 'Swap' message from your old SIM, and follow the instructions received via SMS.

What Should I Do If My MTN SIM Is Lost or Stolen?

In case of a lost or stolen SIM, you'll need to replace it by performing a SIM swap. This involves purchasing a new starter pack, registering it, and following the SIM swap procedure.

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