Error “Could not activate cellular data network” Fix – iPhone, Android

I have spent a lot of time this morning trying to figure out on how to fix “could not activate cellular data network” error. I called many times to the network provider and searched online. I guess it is worth sharing it, so you can save some time.

“Could not activate cellular data network.  Turn on cellular data or use Wi-Fi to access data”.

I use an iPhone and tried the below fixes, which were mentioned by other websites and Apple. The funny thing is, it may not be a technical issue at all with the iOS and something to do with your plan. I will share that as how to fix option number 4, which solved my issue.

How to fix – Option 1  – Carrier settings update  : Make sure your network settings are up to date. On iPhone 6 or later you can go to General and about. you will get a carrier settings update, if there is any update to settings.

How to fix error – Option 2 – Reset Network Settings   : This option is to make sure your network settings are clear. You can go to General >> Reset >> Reset Network Settings and then restart the phone. This will fix the issue, if it is really network related.

How to fix error – Option 3  – Remove Sim Card and re-insert :  This sounds silly, but sometimes there could be issues with the hardware settings and carrier may have some specifics. You can turn off and on the phone. This can fix it.  If not, you can try removing the sim card and reinserting it. You need to restart the phone. This should fix the issue.  Also, sometimes, the sim card could be damaged

Last option 4 – Call the Carrier – Roaming Disabled or Data Disabled  : This may sound weird, but for me this was the issue. I have full data subscription with the carrier and roaming also enabled. For some reason, the Roaming settings were changed in the backend and it did not work.  The carrier customer service ( SingTel in Singapore for my case) told that the roaming of data was disabled for some reason. The funny thing is ” I could see 3G icon on the status bar ” and I was under the impression that it was due the issue in the device and was really frustrated.  Anyways, once they activated roaming on the backend, it worked.  Also, if this does not solve, then it could be a damaged sim and replacing sim should fix it.

Lesson is that, sometimes, it could be that something changed from your carrier side and you might be mislead by that status.   All of the above applies to the Android devices as well.

What was your experience ?

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