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Some models of Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 7+, Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro 9, Surface Go 2, and Surface Go 3 can connect to a cellular data network. If you can’t connect to a cellular network or can’t stay connected, here are some things to try based on the problem you’re having. 

If you can’t connect to cellular data or share your cellular data connection, first try to install the latest drivers from Windows Update by using a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. Sharing your cellular data connection requires updated Wi-Fi drivers.

You can check for updates. Here’s how:

  1. Connect your Surface to Wi-Fi or Ethernet if it's not already connected. For more info, see Connect Surface to a wireless network.

  2. Go to Start  > Settings  > Windows Update .

  3. Select Check for updates.
    Open Windows Update

If updates are available, they'll be installed automatically. You might need to restart your Surface after the updates are installed. To ensure that all updates are installed, follow the instructions in Download drivers and firmware for Surface.

If you’re still having problems, check out one or more of the following sections.

If you just inserted the SIM card, wait at least 30 seconds to see if your Surface recognizes the SIM card. If you still see the message, remove the SIM card tray, and make sure the SIM card is placed correctly in the SIM card tray. To learn how to insert a SIM for your Surface, see Insert a SIM card into your Surface

If your SIM card still isn't recognized, work with your mobile operator to check your account or replace your SIM card.

It could be one or more of the following: 

  • Confirm with your mobile operator that you have an active data plan and make sure you’re in a place where you have cellular coverage.

  • Work with your mobile operator to ensure the access point name (APN) is appropriate. To learn how to add or change an APN, see Cellular settings in Windows.

  • If Let Windows keep me connected is turned on, cellular data isn't used when you're connected to a Wi-Fi network or using a wired Ethernet connection. To check if you've selected this option, select Start  >Settings  > Network & internet  > Cellular.
    Open Cellular settings
    To connect to a cellular network and use cellular data, you’ll need to disconnect from any other networks first.

If Cellular isn’t listed when you go to Settings > Network & internet , your Surface cellular data (LTE or 5G) modem might be disabled.

First, make sure you’ve installed all the latest Windows updates. If Cellular still isn't listed, shut down your Surface, remove the SIM card tray, then insert it again.

If you still don’t see Cellular in Settings > Network & internet , use Device Manager to check the status of the cellular modem in your Surface. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Start , type device manager, and select it from the results.

  2. Select the arrow next to Network adapters to expand the adapters list, and check to see if a Surface cellular device is listed, such as Snapdragon x24 LTE modem mobile broadband device on Surface Pro X, Surface Mobile Broadband on Surface Pro 7+, or Surface Pro 8.

  3. If the cellular device has a red or yellow exclamation point next to it, right click on it > choose Properties > select the Driver tab > select Disable Device > select Enable Device

    Note: Please don’t try the next recommended step on a Surface Pro X device. 

  4. If the cellular connection is not restored, select Uninstall Device and then, from the top menu, select Action > select Scan for hardware changes

If you’re setting up a Surface for the first time and don’t see a mobile operator listed in Cellular settings, connect to a Wi-Fi or Ethernet network to complete the setup. For more info about how to connect to Wi-Fi, see Connect to Wi-Fi in Windows.

If you've already set up your Surface and don’t see a mobile operator listed, go to Start  > Settings  > Network & internet  Cellular, then see if Cellular data is turned off. If cellular data on your Surface won’t turn on, see the Can’t turn on cellular data section.

If you still don’t see the option, try to remove the SIM card, then reinsert it. To learn how, see Insert a SIM card into your Surface.

If you still don’t see your mobile operator under Cellular, you should contact your mobile operator for options, including replacing your SIM card.

If you can’t turn on cellular data, check to see if you're in airplane mode. To do this:

  1. Go to Start , and select Settings  > Network & internet  > Airplane mode.
    Open Airplane mode settings

  2. Make sure Airplane mode is Off.

If airplane mode is off and you still can’t turn cellular data on, remove your SIM card, check it for damage, reinsert it, and then try to turn on Cellular data in Cellular settings again. For more info about inserting a SIM, see Insert a SIM card into your Surface.

If the SIM card is damaged, contact your mobile operator for a replacement.

If you have limited or no connectivity, you might be out of your mobile operator’s network range. To find out, check the Cellular data icon in the taskbar ( or ) and see how many bars you have. If you have only one bar or don't have any, try using a Wi-Fi connection or find a location with better reception.

If you're traveling outside of your mobile operator’s network coverage area and want to use a cellular data connection, you may need to turn on data roaming.

Note: Some operators may charge extra for roaming or have a different data plan for roaming. Check the data plan you have with your mobile operator for more info about roaming and additional charges that might apply.

To set your Surface so roaming turns on by default when you are out of your mobile operator’s range:

  1. Go to Start , and select Settings  > Network & internet  > Cellular.
    Open Cellular settings

  2. Select the name of your mobile operator.

  3. For Data roaming options, select Roam.

Related topics

Some models of Surface Pro X, Surface Pro (5th Gen), Surface Go, Surface Go 2, Surface 2, and Surface 3 can connect to a cellular data network. If you can’t connect to a cellular network or can’t stay connected, here are some things to try based on the problem you’re having. 

If you can’t connect to cellular data or share your cellular data connection, first try to install the latest drivers from Windows Update by using a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. Sharing your cellular data connection requires updated Wi-Fi drivers.

When updates become available, they’re installed automatically on your Surface when it’s connected to Wi-Fi. Only high-priority updates are installed over metered connections like a cellular data connection.

You can check for updates. Here’s how:

  1. Connect your Surface to Wi-Fi or Ethernet if it's not already connected. For more info, see Connect Surface to a wireless network.

  2. Go to Start  > Settings  > Update & Security   > Windows Update .

  3. Select Check for updates.
    Open Windows Update

If updates are available, they'll be installed automatically. You might need to restart your Surface after the updates are installed. To ensure that all updates are installed, follow the instructions in Download drivers and firmware for Surface.

If you’re still having problems, check out one or more of the following sections.

If you just inserted the SIM card, wait at least 30 seconds to see if your Surface recognizes the SIM card. If you still see the message, remove the SIM card tray and make sure the SIM card is placed correctly in the SIM card tray. To learn how to insert a SIM for your Surface, see Insert a SIM card into your Surface

If you’re using a dongle to access cellular data, shut down your Surface, remove and replace the dongle, and restart your Surface.

If your SIM card still isn't recognized, work with your mobile operator to check your account or replace your SIM card.

It could be one or more of the following: 

  • Confirm with your mobile operator that you have an active data plan and make sure you’re in a place where you have cellular coverage.

  • Work with your mobile operator to ensure the access point name (APN) is appropriate. To learn how to add or change an APN, see Cellular settings in Windows.

  • If Let Windows keep me connected is turned on, cellular data isn't used when you're connected to a Wi-Fi network or using a wired Ethernet connection. To check if you've selected this option, select Start  >Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular.
    Open Cellular settings
    To connect to a cellular network and use cellular data, you’ll need to disconnect from any other networks first.

If Cellular isn’t listed as an option when you select wireless network  in the taskbar, your Surface cellular data (LTE) modem might be disabled, or your Surface may not recognize your dongle.

First, make sure you’ve installed all the latest Windows updates. If Cellular still isn't listed, shut down your Surface, remove the SIM card tray or dongle, then insert it again and replace it.

If you still don’t see Cellular when you select wireless network , use Device Manager to check the status of the cellular modem in your Surface. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Start , type device manager, and select it from the results.

  2. Select the arrow next to Network adapters to expand the adapters list, and check to see if Surface 3 Modem Device is listed.
    If Surface 3 Modem Device is listed:

    1. Double tap or double click it to open the properties.

    2. Under Driver, select Disable Device.

    3. Select Yes in the warning box.

    4. Select Enable Device to restart the modem.

If you’re setting up a Surface for the first time and don’t see a mobile operator listed in Cellular settings, connect to a Wi-Fi or Ethernet network to complete the setup. For more info about how to connect to Wi-Fi, see Connect to Wi-Fi in Windows.

Here’s how to connect to a Wi-Fi network:

  1. On the Wireless screen, under Wi-Fi, select a wireless network name.

  2. If prompted, enter your wireless network password and select Connect. If you don’t know your password, see Find your Wi-Fi network password in Windows.

If you have already set up your Surface and don’t see a mobile operator listed as an option when you go to Start  > Settings  > Network & Internet > Cellular , check to see if the cellular data connection option is turned off.

Here’s how:

  1. Select wireless network  in the taskbar.

  2. Check to make sure Cellular is undimmed.

    • If Cellular is dimmed, select the tile to turn on cellular data.

    • If Cellular is undimmed, select the tile to turn off cellular data. Then select the tile again to turn cellular data back on.

    If the cellular data on your Surface won’t turn on, see the Can’t turn on cellular data section.

If you still don’t see the option, try to remove the SIM card and reinsert it. To learn how, see Insert a SIM card into your Surface.

If you still don’t see your mobile operator under Cellular, you should contact your mobile operator for options, including replacing your SIM card.

If you can’t turn on cellular data, check to see if you're in airplane mode. To do this:

  1. Go to Start , and select Settings  > Airplane mode .
    Open Airplane mode settings

  2. Make sure Airplane mode is Off.

If airplane mode is off and you still can’t turn cellular data on, remove your SIM card, check it for damage, reinsert it, and then try to turn on Cellular data in Cellular settings again. For more info about inserting a SIM, see Insert a SIM card into your Surface

If the SIM card is damaged, contact your mobile operator for a replacement.

If you have limited or no connectivity, you might be out of your mobile operator’s network range. To find out, check your data signal:

  1. In the taskbar, select wireless network .

  2. Check to see how many bars you have in the Cellular icon ( or ).
    If you have only one bar, or don't have any, try using a Wi-Fi connection or find a location with better reception.

If you're traveling outside of your mobile operator’s network coverage area and want to use a cellular data connection, you may need to turn on data roaming.

Note: Some operators may charge extra for roaming or have a different data plan for roaming. Check the data plan you have with your mobile operator for more info about roaming and additional charges that might apply.

To set your Surface so roaming turns on by default when you are out of your mobile operator’s range:

  1. Go to Start , and select Settings  > Network & Internet  > Cellular .
    Open Cellular settings

  2. Select the name of your mobile operator.

  3. Select Connect automatically.

  4. Select Allow roaming.

Related topics

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