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rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

1 recommendation

ATT iPhone to Straight Talk

I have an iPhone 4 and my contract was complete last September. A few weeks ago I started the unlock process on ATT which only took a few days. Of course I wasn't very happy about the process because I cannot believe they made me backup and completely restore the phone. (Reload iOS). Several have said there are alternatives but too late for that now.

On Saturday I purchased a Straight Talk SIM from my local Wal-Mart. When I asked the clerk if there is a specific SIM for the iPhone, he said the kit includes multiple SIMs. I was a bit puzzled by that but I went ahead and purchased it anyway. I think it set me back a bit over $60 with tax and it included the first month of unlimited talk, text and data.

Tonight, Monday, I finally got around to activating the SIM and transferring my number. That went without a problem and I could immediately make phone calls with the new SIM. However, I had no data.

After an hour or so of reading various information about what a royal pain in the ass it is to change the APN settings on an iPhone, I came across a site that allows you to choose your country and provider and it will install a signed APN profile. That made data work but I still could not use MMS (text pictures).

Several more hours of reading (started this process at ~4:30pm today and it's now almost 9pm!), I read about a "SIM Swap" method. Apparently the Straight Talk SIM for ATT's network does not allow you to set the APN settings. However, a T-Mobile SIM does. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off at this point. Repeated calls to Straight Talk Customer Support resulted in "we're too busy right now, try again later". So I popped the ATT SIM back in the phone and NO SERVICE. Crap. For better or worse I was now a Straight Talk customer without MMS. What ticks me off is they advertise to bring your unlocked iPhone, buy a SIM and change the APN -- it's just that simple.... What a load of crap!

Almost gave up and did without MMS (I don't text pictures that much anyway) or figure out a way to cheaply acquire a T-Mobile SIM. Apparently they can be had for $5 on eBay but what a PITA!.

Then it dawned on me -- the Straight Talk kit I bought included three SIMS. On regular size SIM for ATT, one regular size SIM for T-Mobile and one micro-SIM for ATT. I had read about SIM cutters that trimmed standard SIMs to micro SIMs. I thought, what the hell. I have a pair of scissors and what do I have to lose? I didn't need the T-Mobile standard SIM and if I destroy it, so be it. I positioned the ATT micro SIM over the top of the T-Mobile standard SIM and made sure the contact grids were aligned. Then I gripped it firmly and carefully trimmed the standard SIM using my ATT Micro SIM as a guide. Of course this isn't a simple trim where you remove a bit of material from one side. It's a blasted complete trim on all four edges!

After about 60 seconds, I finished the trim, popped the SIM card into the iPhone SIM tray and shoved it in the phone. Within 30 seconds I had access to the APN settings menu. I changed the configurations, popped the old SIM back in the phone and what? FAIL. The SIM settings flipped back to non-working entries. No data, no text, no MMS. Crapola.

Then I read about the fact that it takes a bit before a new SIM is recognized. Further, if you stick the T-Mobile SIM in the phone, wait for the APN setting button to appear, swap the other SIM back, the APN setting button will remain until the new SIM is recognized. I was then able to go into the APN settings and remain there (don't exit until finished!) for several minutes until I was able to add the necessary settings and verify they were correct. This is a one shot deal. Once you leave the menu, you cannot go back into the screen. Of course you can always swap SIMs again and repeat but it's best to triple or quadruple check the settings before you leave the screen.

SUCCESS! Using the SIM swap technique and the fact that Straight Talk includes several SIMs in their SIM kit, I was able to get talk, data, text and MMS on my iPhone. My divorce from ATT has been completed!

My hope is this post will get indexed so others with iPhones can get on Straight Talk without wasting the frustrating hours and hours of farting around I had to do.

Of course the world will never know why Straight Talk cannot make this easier. All they would have to do is engineer the SIM so that you have access to the APN menu in iOS.

That said, perhaps the old saying is true -- you get what you pay for. For $45/month I have unlimited everything on the same network I formerly paid ... (well, it's too embarrassing to reveal because this is my second iPhone and I've been paying it for over four years!) Considering the thousands I fed ATT, four hours of hassle to save a boatload over the next few years is worth it.


WiFiguru
To infinity... and beyond
Premium
join:2005-06-21
Irvine, CA
Reviews:
·DSL EXTREME
Nicely written!

The site you are talking about (profile wise) is Unlockit.co.nz (for all of the readers wondering what the OP is talking about.)

Here is the 3 sim kit unboxing on HoFo: »www.howardforums.com/showthread.···Unboxing

Enjoy the Straight Talk service! It's nice paying much less for the same quality of service.


Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to rradina
Nice write-up and I admire your endurance to make it work, I took the jailbroken path to APN settings.

The blame that it is hard to change APN is 80% at AT&T for not wanting you to be able to change APN and 20% for Straighttalk that they do not advice you of that fact upfront. iPhone is common enough that they should.

I agree with you summary at the end. I should have switch away from AT&T earlier.

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to WiFiguru
Thanks for posting the site. If folks don't care about MMS, this approach is even easier than farting around with scissors and SIMs. However, if you go the "swap SIM" route, you don't need the profile from Unlockit.co.nz. After I had everything working, I remembered the profile, deleted it and that fouled the settings again. I had to do the SIM swap one last time.


Homefree77

@mycingular.net
I need you to fix mine. I'd mess it up.
This is great news!
Homefree77


ztmike
Mark for moderation
Premium
join:2001-08-02
Michigan City, IN
reply to rradina
said by rradina:

I have an iPhone 4 and my contract was complete last September. A few weeks ago I started the unlock process on ATT which only took a few days. Of course I wasn't very happy about the process because I cannot believe they made me backup and completely restore the phone. (Reload iOS). Several have said there are alternatives but too late for that now.

On Saturday I purchased a Straight Talk SIM from my local Wal-Mart. When I asked the clerk if there is a specific SIM for the iPhone, he said the kit includes multiple SIMs. I was a bit puzzled by that but I went ahead and purchased it anyway. I think it set me back a bit over $60 with tax and it included the first month of unlimited talk, text and data.

Tonight, Monday, I finally got around to activating the SIM and transferring my number. That went without a problem and I could immediately make phone calls with the new SIM. However, I had no data.

After an hour or so of reading various information about what a royal pain in the ass it is to change the APN settings on an iPhone, I came across a site that allows you to choose your country and provider and it will install a signed APN profile. That made data work but I still could not use MMS (text pictures).

Several more hours of reading (started this process at ~4:30pm today and it's now almost 9pm!), I read about a "SIM Swap" method. Apparently the Straight Talk SIM for ATT's network does not allow you to set the APN settings. However, a T-Mobile SIM does. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off at this point. Repeated calls to Straight Talk Customer Support resulted in "we're too busy right now, try again later". So I popped the ATT SIM back in the phone and NO SERVICE. Crap. For better or worse I was now a Straight Talk customer without MMS. What ticks me off is they advertise to bring your unlocked iPhone, buy a SIM and change the APN -- it's just that simple.... What a load of crap!

Almost gave up and did without MMS (I don't text pictures that much anyway) or figure out a way to cheaply acquire a T-Mobile SIM. Apparently they can be had for $5 on eBay but what a PITA!.

Then it dawned on me -- the Straight Talk kit I bought included three SIMS. On regular size SIM for ATT, one regular size SIM for T-Mobile and one micro-SIM for ATT. I had read about SIM cutters that trimmed standard SIMs to micro SIMs. I thought, what the hell. I have a pair of scissors and what do I have to lose? I didn't need the T-Mobile standard SIM and if I destroy it, so be it. I positioned the ATT micro SIM over the top of the T-Mobile standard SIM and made sure the contact grids were aligned. Then I gripped it firmly and carefully trimmed the standard SIM using my ATT Micro SIM as a guide. Of course this isn't a simple trim where you remove a bit of material from one side. It's a blasted complete trim on all four edges!

After about 60 seconds, I finished the trim, popped the SIM card into the iPhone SIM tray and shoved it in the phone. Within 30 seconds I had access to the APN settings menu. I changed the configurations, popped the old SIM back in the phone and what? FAIL. The SIM settings flipped back to non-working entries. No data, no text, no MMS. Crapola.

Then I read about the fact that it takes a bit before a new SIM is recognized. Further, if you stick the T-Mobile SIM in the phone, wait for the APN setting button to appear, swap the other SIM back, the APN setting button will remain until the new SIM is recognized. I was then able to go into the APN settings and remain there (don't exit until finished!) for several minutes until I was able to add the necessary settings and verify they were correct. This is a one shot deal. Once you leave the menu, you cannot go back into the screen. Of course you can always swap SIMs again and repeat but it's best to triple or quadruple check the settings before you leave the screen.

SUCCESS! Using the SIM swap technique and the fact that Straight Talk includes several SIMs in their SIM kit, I was able to get talk, data, text and MMS on my iPhone. My divorce from ATT has been completed!

My hope is this post will get indexed so others with iPhones can get on Straight Talk without wasting the frustrating hours and hours of farting around I had to do.

Of course the world will never know why Straight Talk cannot make this easier. All they would have to do is engineer the SIM so that you have access to the APN menu in iOS.

That said, perhaps the old saying is true -- you get what you pay for. For $45/month I have unlimited everything on the same network I formerly paid ... (well, it's too embarrassing to reveal because this is my second iPhone and I've been paying it for over four years!) Considering the thousands I fed ATT, four hours of hassle to save a boatload over the next few years is worth it.

Honestly..you made this sound alot more harder than it actually is..

If you were that lost you could of just Googled your problems and you probably would of found a forum by the name of "Howardforums.com" where they have a Straight Talk forum and people discuss how-tos and everything else.

As far as Straight Talk making it easier to get MMS they can't..that's Apples closed system, which you need to jailbreak the iOS device to get on Straight Talk.

And yes to get data working you could of just looked at the directions that Straight Talk had in the starter kit..or you could of yet..Googled again and you would of found the Unlock.co.nz or whatever website that is that does it for you while your on wifi and using Safari web browser.


Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to rradina
As noted on Howard Forums, Straight Talk has been added to the officially supported list of iPhones carriers in the past day or so:

»support.apple.com/kb/HT1937

Perhaps in the future (post-AT&T negotiations), the SIM-swapping exercise will become unnecessary.
--
If you can't open it, you don't own it.

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to rradina
Update: I upgraded from iOS 6.01 to 6.1 late yesterday afternoon and it wiped out my APN settings. However, the SIM swap method still works on iOS 6.1.

I put the T-Mobile SIM in the phone, waited for the APN menu option to appear, entered the screen, put the ST SIM back in the phone, entered the correct settings and all is well.

However, the loss of settings (and thus data) caught me by surprise. When I updated iOS, I was on my office's BYOD WiFi network. Everything appeared to work fine after the update but I didn't verify cellular data. At 7:30 I went to a local watering hole to meet friends. I was the first to arrive and that's when I discovered I had no data! Voice was OK but no data. When I figured out what happened, my gears were grinding.

If a Straight Talk tech is reading this, please fix this issue. I don't mind if the APN settings get wiped when I upgrade and I have to enter them again but let me do so without swapping SIMs. It also makes me want to try a different MVNO. Perhaps Net10? I believe they offer the same deal on ATT's network ($45/month). Of course the Net10 SIM could be just as brain dead as the ST SIM!

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to ztmike
The directions in the starter kit said modify the APN settings. The ST SIM does not allow that on an iPhone. The only way to get data is to use the signed profile (which doesn't provide MMS) from the unlock-it site or swap SIMs.

The kits instructions don't mention any of this. Relentless searching of the ST web site doesn't mention this. I repeatedly tried to contact customer support and they were not accepting calls (ST was too busy).

This isn't Apple's closed ecosystem because the T-Mobile SIM allows setting the APN. This is ATT's closed ecosystem because SIMs for their network don't allow access to the APN menu setting. Clearly Apple doesn't care if you get into the APN menu since T-Mobile SIMs allow it. This is an ATT thing.

In closing, do you own an iPhone? Have you done this? If so, how did you do it? If you don't own an iPhone and you haven't done it with the ST SIM kit, perhaps you shouldn't comment on others being "lost" and having a "difficult" time.


RobNyc
Premium
join:2002-03-06
New York, NY
reply to rradina
You don't need sim swap if you jb