How to SIM swap MTN lost SIM to recover my Line

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Last Updated on February 13, 2023

SIM swap MTN lost SIM

Have you misplaced or lost your MTN sim, and are looking for ways to retrieve your line? This guide is for you. Here we discuss how to SIM swap MTN lost SIM to recover your line.

What is MTN Sim Swap?

MTN Sim swap is a simple, easy and cost effective customer service that allows MTN mobile phone users (Pay as you go) to get and keep their MTN number should in case the SIM card was lost, stolen or damaged.

When you do MTN SIM swap, please know that it takes anything from 4 hours upward for it to be done. In most cases, it is much quicker if the network is not busy. Do not do SIM swap from 7pm because it will not be successful.

The best time to do SIM swap is from 8am-4pm so that your new sim will start working from anytime around 8pm upward. Sometimes if you do it on weekends, it does not work till Monday!!

Why Sim Swap MTN Lost Number

Sometimes, you probably bought a new phone and you now discover that your MTN SIM is too big to enter the sim slot of your new phone. This is common for most people that have been using MTN for more than 5 years. During those times, there was nothing like Macro, Micro or Nano SIM cards.

MTN is the most used telecom sim card in South Africa (partly because of the free daily ‘Please Call me back feature) and at the same time, the most network that is mostly lost because of the high rate of crime, especially in the informal sector.

Most SASSA grants, including the R350 grants are directly linked to your mobile number, so once you lost it, you will not be able to get your grant fund. This makes it important to get your lost MTN number back.

Even though, some people complain of their airtime disappearing, MTN came up with solutions to fix this.

MTN SIM Swap Requirements

How can I get my old MTN number back? This guideline is written to help you get your lost number back. The following are the requirements:

A new MTN starter pack sim card

RICA (register ) the new SIM card in your name ( this is very important). Though the ones not ricad in your name will still work but for future reference, it is advisable it is registered in your name.

Want to know how to self RICA yourself, check this guideline on how to Rica MTN SIM card.

Your ID, proof of address or affidavit ( this is not necessary if you do SIM swap online or using USSD code; you only need it if you go to a physical MTN outlets.

MTN SIM Swap Questions

Before going fully to how you can retrieve and get back your lost MTN number, I think you should be prepared to answer some security questions.

The reason is because if you do self help on the SIM swap by yourself through dialing USSD code *135# or calling 135 and you fail 3 times, you will be blocked for the next 30 days, thereafter you can try again. So it is important you get familiar with these security questions and know how to answer them.

Try as much as possible to only dial *135# and pass because the questions you will be asked will be limited compared to going to their physical office or calling 135

What is your name?

This is a normal protocol that needs to be observed. You will be asked this question if you call 135 or you go to their office physically.

How long have you been using the MTN Number?

This is the most important question if you dial *135#, the same applies if you call. Now, you need to be calm and think very well before you answer.

That is why it is important you read this guideline and be ready before you decide to try the SIM swap by yourself.

Now, options will be given to you in the following format:

  • 0-3 months
  • 0-6 months
  • 6months – 1year
  • 1 year to 3 years
  • 2-4 years
  • More than 5 years

Now, if you have moved or ported other networks e.g. Cell C, Telkom or Vodacom to MTN, the minute or time it started working should be the time you will chose that you have been using it.

So think carefully before you chose the right option. You may think of when you meet you boyfriend, girlfriend or got a job and try to relate it to when you got the number. This trick always works.

Have you done sim swap before on this number and when?

Think before answering, if you have lost the MTN number before and you got it back through SIM swap, say yes and try to remember when, though this is not very important. What is important is to be sure if you have SIM swap the number before.


Are you on any points?

From experience, if you have been using your MTN number for more than 4 years, you are automatically on MTN points (though many people do not know about it). But if you are just less than 1 year, just say NO, unless you are 100 percent sure you are.

Secondly, if the SIM card was registered in your name and ID as a south African, there is 80% high chance you are on MTN points.

How much was the last airtime you recharge?

Try as much as possible to know the answer. If you cannot remember, the trick to use is this; just buy any airtime e.g. R2 or R5 and load it directly on the lost number. So, this will be the last airtime you bought or recharged

When was the last airtime you recharge?

If you follow the trick above, then you should know the time. However, if you follow this trick, you need to wait for about 10 minutes before starting the MTN SIM swap process.

What model of phone were you using?

This question will come if your answers above are not convincing enough. This security question means the last phone or smartphone you last put the lost SIM card. IF you lost the phone with the SIM, then you should know the phone.

Options will be given to you, and you should be able to know your phone nje!!

Now, if you dial *135#, you will not be asked the last three numbers you called, the numbers you used to call regularly etc. Read the guidelines further below.

But if you dial 135 or go to their office expect to get all these questions e.g. last number you called, regular numbers you call etc.

Now, let us get started!!

How To SIM Swap MTN Lost SIM

You can do MTN Sim swap in three ways and they are explained below:

1. Dial *135# using USSD code

Before I explain, there are two things you need to know

Having your existing MTN sim card i.e. which means your number is still active, maybe you need to just change the size

You are not having the existing MTN number; this means the SIM card is lost, stolen or seriously damaged. It means it is not working.

Without Your Existing MTN Number

This method is for you if you do not have your existing MTN number i.e. the number is lost, stolen or damaged.

  • Dialing MTN USSD code is a way to self swap with MTN SIM, follow the instructions with a smile;
  • Insert/put the newly registered MTN SIM i.e. ricad in the phone
  • Wait for the MTN SIM card to be activated and you receive welcome messages from MTN, dial *136# to activate the SIM card
  • Then dial *135#, chose option 5 ( sim swap), you will be asked some questions. After this, you will be sent an SMS and that SMS determines the next step.
  • If the message says, dial 135 or go with affidavit that means this method will not work.
  • If the message says, dial *135# and follow the instructions, then you are almost 40% guaranteed to getting the MTN SIM swap successful.
  • For the second time, dial *135# , MTN will ask you the following questions for the SIM swap;
  • You will be asked if the sim is in the phone, say yes
  • You will be asked how do you want to do the SIM swap, questionnaire etc. chose questionnaire
  • Some questions will be asked e.g. if you have points, the last airtime you recharged, how much was recharged, you will be asked if you have data etc.
  • On any question that you fail, you have 3 options more. IF you fail these questions for the three times, then MTN will block you for 1 month.
  • After the 1 month expiration, then you can start the sim swap again.
  • Once you pass the security questions that will be asked from you, you are going to get two (2) confirmation SMS/messages
  • The first message will come immediately telling you that the SIM swap is successful that it will be ready 2-4 hours time. ( but wait, do not pay the agents now, because the second message is the final and main message)
  • The second message will come, mostly after 5-10 minutes; this message says, SIM swap is successful, wait after 24 hours. My friend, if you get this message, then you are confident that the SIM swap is successful and you will truly get your MTN number back
  • But if this second message comes and says, take your affidavit to police station or call 135, it means the SIM swap is not successful.
  • Please, wait and make sure you get the second message. Many people have paid money to so called MTN agents just to later discovered that the MTN Sim swap was not successful, you must wait and make sure you get and see this second message!!

Having Existing MTN Number

This second MTN SIM swap method by dialing USSD code is for you if you have your existing MTN number; follow the instructions below;

  • SMS SIM swap to 44770 from your existing SIM number.
  • You will receive a one time pin ( OTP) which is valid for 15 minutes.
  • Then, from your new MTN sim cards, SMS the word ‘swap’ and your old number *OTP# to 44770. For example, if your MTN number is 0731112222 and the OTP you received is 1234, then you will need to SMS the following to 44770; swap 0731112222*1234#
  • Once your old SIM card stops working, insert your new MTN sim card into your phone and switch it on.
  • Your new SIM card will be ready and you can start making and receiving calls

Experiencing problem, just call 135!!

2. Doing MTN SIM swap online

Currently, there is no option to do MTN SIM swap online; all you have to do is either call 135 from a newly registered MTN start pack Pay as you go, then follow the prompts, or dial *135# as described above.

3. Going to the MTN office

If every option fails, the last hope will be for you to go to any MTN outlet or office near you. But bear in mind, you will have to go with the following documents to do your SIM swap;

  • Your ID ( South African Identity card) or Passport ( for foreigner) or Asylum that clearly shows your name
  • Verified proof of address or affidavit
  • Answers to some questions that will be asked from you e.g. last airtime purchased, last 2 people called etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are selected frequently asked questions when doing SIM swap for your MTN number:

Can I do MTN sim swap without old sim?

Yes, that is the reason for the SIM swap in the first place. The basic requirement is that you should know the number of your old sim and be able to provide the answer to the questions asked.

But, there will be a problem if you do not know your number i.e. the number of your old lost SIM card.

How can I do MTN SIM swap if phone is stolen?

Yes, you can do MTN SIM swap if phone is stolen. To do this, you will follow the second option of doing SIM swap without your existing number.

Follow this instructions below:

  • Get a new registered ( ricad) MTN sim card; it is advisable it should be registered in your name
  • Insert/put the newly registered MTN SIM i.e. ricad in the phone
  • Wait for the MTN SIM card to be activated and you receive welcome messages from MTN, dial *136# to activate the SIM card
  • Then dial *135#, chose option 5 ( sim swap), you will be asked some questions. After this, you will be sent an SMS and that SMS determines the next step.

I explained all this steps above (scroll up)


How can I do my own SIM swap?

You can do self SIM swap with the help of *135#; to get this, follow and read the guidelines above.

How much does MTN charge for a SIM swap?

MTN used to charge between R87 and R140 for this service before, but now, doing SIM swap is free.

However, if you do not know how to do it or you are too lazy to read this instruction, then agents or people that will read this guideline will charge to help you do it.

The SIM Swap Failed

The SIM swap will fail if you do not know or answer the security questions perfectly. In this case, you will need to wait for 1 full month before you can try again.

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