Knowledge - Details

Activating an iPad's eSim after it has been used with AT&T
Date Added: 9/9/2021

AT&T does an ugly behavior where they both "lock" the iPad to AT&T until you pay it off and request they "unlock" it, and they disable "Carrier Visibility" on the internal eSim, which apparently has the safe effect at preventing other carriers from activating that eSim on their own network.  If you call Apple, they can see that the iPad is "locked to AT&T" even though it's technically not "locked," it just doesn't have "Carrier Visibility" enabled.  Verizon will just give confused guesses about why they are getting error messages when trying to activate the eSim because the error message they get from their system is super vague.

If you go to Settings > Cellular on your iPad, and it only shows AT&T on the list, then it probably has this Carrier Visibility problem.

The fix:
Call AT&T and tell them to send a request to their back-end team to "enable Carrier Visibility" on the iPad.  It may also be called "Carrier Reveal."  Do not let the AT&T person get confused and try to "unlock" the device because that will not work - that's a totally different process than enabling Carrier Visibility.  Once they submit the backend request, you should receive an email within 48 hours telling you that it was successful, and then your iPad should show a list of all the carriers on Settings > Cellular.

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