What to Do When Your SIM Card on Your BlackBerry Phone Is Rejected

by Aaron Wardell

A rejected SIM card means no cell signal, and therefore no network functionality. And there's nothing more frustrating than not being able to check your email or make a call on your BlackBerry. When replacing a SIM card or activating a new one, it's important to understand how they work and how to get in touch with your phone company in order to solve any problems that may arise.

SIM Cards Explained

SIM stands for "Subscriber Identity Module" and is your phone's "identity" on the cellular network. It can be swapped between other GSM-compatible phones for easier use with multiple phones. SIM cards must be compatible with the network they are trying to communicate with or the phone will not work. For example, a T-Mobile SIM can only communicate with T-Mobile's network. Similarly, phones can be locked to specific carriers, so a T-Mobile SIM will not work in a phone locked to AT&T. In addition, SIM cards can be remotely activated and deactivated by the cell phone company.

SIM Rejection

A SIM card is rejected when the phone refuses to work with it. This could be due to a number of factors. Either the SIM is not activated to use with the network or the phone is locked to a different network. When using a BlackBerry with a rejected SIM, the phone may return an "Invalid SIM" or similar message when it is inserted. Some of the phone's functions will still work, but it won't be able to make calls or connect to the cellular data network.

Dirty SIMs

If you're getting a SIM error message, the easiest solution may be to simply clean the metal contacts on the SIM card. It's usually located behind the battery once the back cover is removed. Flip up the SIM holder, pull out the SIM and carefully clean it. Use a clean cotton swab and a bit of alcohol. Once it's dry, re-insert it. A pencil eraser can also work to clean the debris off of the SIM contacts--just don't rub too hard or you may damage the card!


If the cleaning method doesn't work, there could be something wrong with your phone. Visit your phone company's local store where they'll have a better understanding of how to solve your particular problem. At best, your SIM will need replacing which is a quick fix. At worst, your phone may need replacing. Either way, a knowledgeable customer service representative can offer you the best and most cost-effective solution.

About the Author

Aaron Wardell is a freelance writer, professional musician, audiophile, cell phone nut and computer geek. He holds a master's degree in vocal music performance from the University of Cincinnati. His true passions include anything related to classical vocal music and it's performance, including opera, oratorio and choral music.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images