Connected Devices FAQs

How do I activate my connected device?   

This can be done in three ways:

  • At a Microsoft Store location, our retail associates will help you complete the process for AT&T and Verizon.
  • At the retail location of a cellular carrier, their retail associates will help you complete the process for that carrier.
  • You can activate the device yourself online. To do so, you will need your new device and SIM card*. First, turn on your new connected device and follow the steps in the out-of-box setup process provided with the device. Next, visit your cellular carrier’s website using the link below to complete activation:

AT&T –

Verizon –

Sprint –

When activating online, you will be asked to enter your device IMEI number and SIM card number*. Input your IMEI number in the appropriate field on the website and follow the on-screen directions to complete the activation process. If you are activating your device at a Microsoft Store or a carrier’s retail location, retail associates will do this for you.

*Note: Sprint does not require a physical SIM card to activate Surface Pro X. The device can be activated through Sprint’s website (at above link) using eSIM. When activating in this manner, you will only need to enter the IMEI of the device.

If you have a problem activating your device or are looking to activate your line as part of a business plan, please contact your carrier.

Which carriers support my connected device?

It depends whether your device is locked or unlocked. A “locked” device is restricted to a single carrier network. An “unlocked” device can be used on more than one network.

For unlocked devices, you can find carrier compatibility information on the product pages on in Tech specs or contact your carrier or the Microsoft Store location for information about compatibility with your preferred carrier.

What is a SIM card, what kind does my connected device use, and why do I need one?

A SIM (subscriber identity module) card is a microchip that is inserted into a connected device that uniquely identifies that device and connects it to a mobile cellular network.

You can get a SIM card for AT&T or Verizon, (for compatible devices) for free during the online checkout process or when purchasing at a Microsoft Store location. You can also get a SIM card from the carrier directly (purchase may be required).

What is eSIM and will it work instead of a physical SIM Card?

Some connected devices enable use of eSIM. eSIM allows you to activate your device without a physical SIM card. If you would like to activate through eSIM, contact your carrier to see if that is an option for you.

After activating my connected device, when can I access the web with it?

Typically, you'll be able to access the network, and the internet from there, within a few minutes. However, it may take up to 24 hours. For data connections (not calling), remember you can access the web anytime by connecting to WiFi.

How much will a carrier plan cost?

Carriers offer a variety of plans at different price points based in part on usage. For plan options for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, visit their sites here or contact your carrier directly with questions about business plans:

AT&T –

Verizon –

Sprint –

Do I need to provide any personal information to activate my connected device?

Yes. Because you’ll be creating/activating an account with a carrier of your choice, you’ll need to provide certain information to that carrier. That information might include, but is not limited to, your name, address, email, and phone number. In addition, your carrier might also require a credit check in advance of activating your account. Visit the webpages listed under the previous question to see the specific information required, or visit a Microsoft Store location for assistance activating your connected device with AT&T or Verizon.

Can I switch from my current network carrier to a new carrier?

If your device is unlocked, you have the option to switch carriers. You should contact your current carrier to understand if there are any fees associated with switching carriers. The process for switching varies, so contact your preferred carrier for assistance.

Can I add my new connected device to my existing carrier plan?

Contact your current carrier for more details and plan options.

If I bring my unlocked device to AT&T, do I need to change my data connection settings?

To use data services on the AT&T network, you may need to program the data settings. If you are using an AT&T branded device, it should already be programmed with the correct settings. For a step-by-step guide to changing your data connection settings, please visit the programming non-AT&T devices article.

What is LTE?  

Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a cellular standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile devices.