I Updated My iPhone to Net10 & Straight Talk Carrier Update TFW 15.7 and Now My 4G Is Only 3G!


UPDATE: May 20 2015
You can no longer update the carrier profile. Current versions of iOS no longer support this feature

UPDATE: December 9 2014
I have created a guide that explains how to downgrade from TFW 15.7 to TFW 15.6. See How To Change Your iPhone’s Carrier from TFW 15.7 back to TFW 15.6 for Straight Talk and Net10 Customers If you decide to try it please leave a comment on that page and share how it went for you.


Don’t install the carrier update: Some iPhone 4 and 4s users are reporting real problems. Speeds slower than 3G. I’m not seeing it on my iPhone 5. Most of the time I have an LTE connection.

So yesterday I reported that I updated my iPhone 5 to carrier update TFW 15.7 and my phone was working fine. Today I am seeing a 3G network speed indicator in my status bar, when I used to see 4G. Readers are commenting that they are seeing this too.

I have an iPhone 5 and I have been getting LTE since October when I upgraded my Net10 & Straight Talk SIM cards. With TFW 15.6 my iPhone would indicate 4G when I made a phone call, went to voice mail, or a was sending / receiving an MMS. Otherwise most of the time, it shows LTE.

Now, my iPhone shows 3G where it used to be 4G in the cases I just mentioned.  If you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, your 4G is gone and you only have 3G. Don’t Panic.

Photo Dec 05, 4 35 02 PM What matters is the actual speed of your data connection, not the indicator on top.  The iPhone 4s supports HSPA+. This technology is technically just fast enough to label as 4G. Back in 2012, if you had an ATT iPhone 4s, your network speed indicator magically changed from 3G to 4G.  After 4G LTE became available for AT&T and Verizon, Apple didn’t have an LTE iPhone. Samsung and others did. This was a marketing problem for AT&T and Apple. The iPhone was their best selling smartphone and it didn’t use their fastest network available. The solution was to label HPSA+ as 4G. If I remember correctly, it was an AT&T carrier update that made this change

Not convinced? See Chris Zielger’s article over on The Verge,  iOS 5.1 shows ‘4G’ indicator in iPhone 4S status bar for AT&T

If you have ever used another type of smartphone, you’ll sometimes see a network indicator of H or 3.5G when the phone has a HSPA+ connection. I wish they would have just used H.

Photo Dec 05, 4 30 27 PM


So ask yourself, did my iPhone really get slower?Install Speedtest.net Mobile Speed Test from the App Store and Run a test to see. Before I updated to LTE, I was getting between 2 to 4 Mbps up and 0.8 to 1.08 Mbps up.
What speeds are you getting? Leave a comment with your test results.

157 comments on “I Updated My iPhone to Net10 & Straight Talk Carrier Update TFW 15.7 and Now My 4G Is Only 3G!
  1. james says:

    How do I get 4g hspa+ on my att iPhone 5 I don’t like the tfw lte update if anyone can help let me know please.

  2. Kay says:

    Hi Bob, I met a similar problem with my iphone5. I lost my LTE signal with straight talk. I used their att sim card and only 3G showed up with slow speed. I tested with friends sim card (ATT contract) and at least 4G does show up. Any suggestions on how to bring LTE back? Thanks! PS, I’m using TFW 17.0 and iOS 8.0.2 now

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Kay,
      What is the model number on the back of your iPhone 5? Did you lose LTE when you switched to Straight Talk, or did you have LTE with Straight Talk and it suddenly went away?

      • Kay says:

        Dear Bob,
        It’s A1429. I had LTE signal using StraightTalk last year and earlier this year. But since later April (or maybe even earlier) I noticed I lost LTE. Spent many hours over the phone talking with their associates since then but nothing helped so far.

        • Bob Thompson says:

          Hi Kay,
          Did your phone display 4G in the status bar or LTE in the past? Your A129 iPhone is the Verizon model which isn’t compatible with Straight Talk’s ATT LTE network. Not sure how you could have been getting 4G LTE with Straight Talk in the past. ATT’s network uses LTE bands(radio frequencies) 4 & 7. Your phone supports band 1,3 and 5. Were you a Verizon customer in the past? Where did you get this phone.


          • Kay says:

            Hi Bob,
            I used to get LTE in past with straight talk. I brought the unlocked phone from Asian to the states. Just to clarify that the model is A1429 (not sure whether it’s just a typo in your message). Hope this could give more hints. One more thing is that I did test with ATT sim card (from a friend who has an ATT phone) and it showed 4G although not as perfect as LTE.

  3. Ed says:

    Hey guys, I just bought a straight talk I phone 5 which was listed online on their website as 4g lte. But my phone is stuck on 3g, I called the company and they said sorry the phone will only ever run on 3g network. And I said “so you sold me a phone listed as 4g compatible and it’s not ever going to be 4g” and they “pretty much said yes, sorry”… I’m furious needless to say. There’s gotta be a way to fix this problem. Help if possible???

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Ed,
      Your best bet is to return the phone, or exchange it for a 5c or a 5s. The Straight Talk iPhone 5 uses the Verizon network. Verizon only let’s straight talk use their 3G network. The ST iPhone 5s and 5c use the ATT network and supports 4G LTE.

      If you want to get 4G lte, you might be able to transfer your service to Verizon prepaid. They just started offering their prepaid customers 4G lte service.

      Ironically, if the att network works well in your area, you might find that by transferring your service to one of straight talk’s att SIM card will result in faster data. It will work with your phone. You’ll get 4g data, but not lte. The status bar will still show a 3G, even though it’s a 4g connection.

      May I asked what you paid for this phone? See if you can return it. I can probably make some recommendations for you or help you with other options.


  4. Brian T says:


    I read your other article and understood it well. It appears I’m hosed if I did not make a backup of her phone. Lying bastards at TFW and throttling our speeds to force us into new devices and ATT use of LTE. I live in Texas and I know ATT well enough to tell you they “Are what they are” and “A monopoly that we broke up in 1984” to prevent this kind of nonsense. They slowly started rebranding again in Texas in their home markets and then abroad. Then today, we hear they are going to be permitted to buy DirecTV and their satellites? Is the FCC even awake or the USDOJ? Who is being bribed into this?

    Enough said about the rant, you all get the point. If you are on an iPhone 4S –

    If you have iOS versions 5.x or 6.x blah, blah and need iOS versions 7.0 to get blah, blah app for blah, blah, blah – DO NOT GET THE LATEST 7.1 or you will be stuck for sure! Make sure you stay on iOS 6! If you go to iOS 7 (do it offline with the first releases of iOS 7.0 and MAKE SURE TO MAKE FULL BACKUPS FIRST AND DO AT YOUR OWN RISK! You may lose all your data and IF YOU SUCCEED, at WORST you will get TFW instead of HOME at the top and 3G always instead of 4G as we can’t get the carrier update, even if I can revert back to iOS 7.0.x

    Bob, thank you for your help. I’m sorry for the rant but I think Apple and AT&T (who clearly collaborate well together) have done this and they practically own TracFone Wireless at this point anyway. I think I will figure out a way to revert my backup and tell TFW to “Go take a long walk off a short cliff” otherwise, I will go elsewhere. I believe LTE is going to be forced on us all. LTE sure is great, but is it really necessary? We lived fine with HSPA and had no care in the world about any network speed increases. We just wanted the latest iOS to stop getting BS about these app upgrades always being forced on us. Then BOOM! Your hosed, so I answer my own question and thank you Bob! If you think you have identified a link to downgrade the carrier for us few (me but not my wife) please let me know by email please. I appreciate these forums and the feedback from the few who actually left it…


  5. Brian T says:

    Hello Bob! If you are still monitoring this thread – thank you for this article. It is very helpful. Does this article still work about downgrading carriers for iPhone 4S? I just updated my wife’s iPhone 4S from iOS 6 something to the latest 7 via the device. It’s fully unlocked so we thought, “Who cares?” (Yes I know jailbroken can be better but we do not care on this device)

    As soon as we upgraded just a day or two ago to the latest iOS 7 something (I had to get her a new SIM card about two months ago) BOOM! Her data was suddenly throttled and much lower. We have always used the OOKLA Speedtest.net app and site but this is weird? Your thoughts are appreciated – I would like to downgrade her and see if this will fix her data speeds; she has certainly not reached her throttled limit of 2-3GB for sure (she may use 1-1.5GB if that). What gives Bob, your thoughts sir? Will this carrier update and downgrade listed earlier still work for us? I have an older version of iTunes on my MacBook Pro as I kept it around for this type of nonsense explicitly. Thank you Bob!

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Brian,
      I was just headed out. So a short reply. With iOS 7.1, you can’t use iTunes to carrier the carrier bundle any more. I did have a reader, who jailboke his iPhone, and then was able to revert to the TFW 15.6 carrier bundle.

      I don’t know if you are willing to jailbreak your phone. Take a look through the comments if you want to read what that reader did. I’ll comment more later.

  6. chris anderson says:

    i downgraded once and it took and i accidentally upgraded days ago but i tried to downgrade again but it want pic up the ATT_TFW ..SO WHAT SHOULD I DO TO MAKE MY PC PICK THE DOWNGRADED TFW

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi chris,
      If you updated to ios 7.1, this no longer works. If you updated your iTunes, it may no longer work as well. Try repeating the steps by entering the commands in the command prompt again.

  7. david bright says:

    hi bob i have an i phone 5c and switched my verizon carrier to straight talk but i only have 3g is this all straight talk carries?


    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi David,
      You will never see a 4G displayed on an iPhone using Straight talk anymore. It will show 3G ever even when you have a 4G connection. (HPSA+).

      Verizon iPhone 5 only supports 4G LTE on the Verizon network. The phone is compatible with LTE on any other network.
      If you are using this 5C on Straight Talk’s tmobile network, my guess is you will only get 3G. If you are using their att network you might get LTE, At least one reader told me he was. Are you using the Straight Talk ATT SIM?

  8. Oscar Aguilera says:

    So I never can I get 4G..??

  9. David vail says:

    I have an iPhone 5 on straight talk and I can’t get any better connection then “E” but when I leave my county I get “3G” but still cannot use the internet. What do I do? Ps I can send texts and make calls perfectly fine

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi David,
      Are you using Straight Talk’s AT&T network-compatible SIM or Straight’s Talk T-Mobile network-compatible SIM? What color was the plastic card your SIM was attached to?

  10. dylan says:

    Hey Bob,
    I thought Id offer an update. My iMessages on my iPhone 4S has been not working. I also updated to 7.1 iOS which I like. I did a reset after I did this uninstall to 15.6 to maintain 4g speeds. Subsequently, I just did a test via speedtest.net upload 6 mbps DL 1.08 mbps UL and the carrier data v. TFW 16.0

    I found this interesting because this is faster then the old 4G rate but now my phone says 3G.

    Just wanted to share.
    I might download the old TFW carrier software see how that tests. Thanks, appreciate your work and site

  11. Cory says:

    Hey there, I’m curious if you have heard anything on the 15.8 tfw update. I’m unable to downgrade back to 15.6 because unfortunately my laptop crapped out on me and completely crashed. So no iTunes trick, if possible is there a way to do it without a PC? Thanks I eagerly await an email -Cory

    • Cory says:

      Also my ping is around 175 down is around 0.01-0.03 and up is 0.02-0.05 mbps -Cory

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Cory,
      I have not found a way to do it without a PC or Mac. Use a friends PC, or hit up the Apple store and use a Mac on the floor. I haven’t heard anything about a TFW 15.8 or any acknowledgment of a problem with TFW 15.7 so I don’t know when its coming or if it will fix any problems.

  12. Jerry Mendoza says:

    Hi there I’m running an iphone 4 att locked ios 7.0.4 ever since I updated the carrier network my speeds test average 0.04 mbs down and 0.03 mbs up

    Horrible speeds I’m beginning to get frustrated I downgraded the 15.7 to 15.6 and still same speeds I’m on the unlimited data and text and talk plan

    Help pls

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Jerry,
      Did you Tap Settings->General->Reset and Tap Reset All Settings? This will erase your network settings, but not your contacts, calendar, photos, etc. Sometimes this helps.

  13. Tyler says:

    Hi my name is Tyler and I have a Iphone 5 that i use with Net10 and My 4g has now changed to 3g and i would like to know why because my speeds have changed please and thank you.

  14. Doug Joseph says:

    I’m new to Net10. I just bought an iPhone 5C from Net10 about a month ago, and I don’t know for sure if I’m connected to Sprint towers (CDMA) or AT&T towers (GSM), but I think I might be on Sprint towers. How can I tell?

    My phone’s About page says my carrier is TFW 15.5

    My speed test ratings show downloads of 2.17 and uploads of 0.84, with a ping speed of 142.

    Should I try to update to TFW 15.6 or 15.7?

    Thanks for any help you can give. Much appreciated!

    PS: love this site.

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Doug,
      I think it should be an AT&T phone. What’s the model number on the back of the phone? Did you put a SIM card in this phone when you activated it? I am a little confused by the carrier being TFW 15.5 though.

      For now, try this. Go into setting general reset and tap reset network settings. (you’ll need to reenter your wi-fi passwords later)

      Run speed test again. Let me know.

      • Doug Joseph says:

        Thanks, Bob!

        This phone’s SIM tray is empty. It came that way from Net10.

        The model number on the back of the phone says: Model A1429

        (As best as I can tell. Those are tiny numbers!)

        I did the reset of network settings.

        Afterward, it searched and settled on “TFW 3G” and in “Settings > About > Carrier” it still says “TFW 15.5.”

        My speed test ratings were worse, but that could be due to other factors, such as net traffic, right? I now show downloads of 0.84 and uploads of 0.63, with a ping speed of 129.

        Previously, before the network settings reset, my speed test ratings showed downloads of 2.17 and uploads of 0.84, with a ping speed of 142.

        • Doug Joseph says:

          I rant the speed test, and its getting worse each time. Going down instead of up. I’m guessing the time of day, and net traffic, affect the results, right?

          This time my speed test ratings showed downloads of 0.42 and uploads of 0.64, with a ping speed of 126.

        • Bob Thompson says:

          Hi Doug,
          Sounds like you are using Net10’s Verizon-compatible network. Carrier TFW 15.6 and TFW 15.7 are for iPhones using the Net10 AT&T network compatible SIM card, not Net10’s Verizon compatible network. That’s why your phone is on TFW 15.5. 15.5 is the latest for your phone.

          If you installed the profile, it shouldn’t hurt your phone. I will just revert back to TFW 15.5. Your iPhone 5 is using Verizon’s 3G network. Verizon has no opened their 4G LTE network to prepaid companies like Net10 yet. I don’t know why your phone is slow. It could be the phone, that the Verizon network is busy, or something to do with Net10. Run more tests from different locations, at different times. Just for comparison, my speeds on Net10’s ATT network vary I clocked 29mbps down one day this week and .75 mbps down the next day.

          Try reseting the network settings and see if it get’s faster.

          It is also possible to move your phone from Net10’s Verizon network to their AT&T network. You won’t get 4G LTE speeds because your Verizon model iPhone 5 is only compatible with Verizon’s LTE network. You will get net10’s att 4G network, which may be faster than net10’s verizon 3G network. I don’t have hands on experience with the verizon 3G network. I suspect the ATT network would be faster but their are other factors including how well covered your area is by each network.


  15. Luis p says:

    My iPhone 4S showing 3G when I pay for my $60 plan

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Luis,
      Run the speed test and try to figure if your phone is really slow. Try following the guide to revert your phone to carrier TFW 15.6

      • John baddley says:

        Hi bob, I just purchased a used iphone 5 and had it activated on net10. It showed home as the carrier and 4g. I restored the phone in iTunes from a back up, now it shows tfw and 3G. My download speeds are 6.2 Mbps and everything works. Should I leave it alone or downgrade software from 15.7 to 15.6. Thanks

        • Bob Thompson says:

          Hi John,
          It’s hard to say. Your download speed is pretty reasonable for a 3G/4G connection. So if you are a “it ain’t broke don’t fix it kind of guy” then leave it alone. Typically, people reporting 6mbps down say they don’t notice an improvement. Some readers swear, there phones drop to under 1mbps when the get TFW 15.7 and it gets goes back to normal when they revert.

          You can give it a try if you are comfortable with following the instructions. I never had anyone say it messed up their phone. Once you revert, your phone will sense that the TFW 15.7 update is available so its easy enough to go back.

          I am curious though if you are getting LTE. If your iPhone 5 is an AT&T / GSM model I’d think you would be getting LTE. If your using a Verizon iPhone 5 you’ll only get 3G/4G. The radios in the verizon iPhone 5 aren’t compatible with the Net10 ATT compatible network.

          Let me know if you try and how it goes.

  16. Victor Zambetti says:

    I did a test& the results are downloads is 1064.6 uploads are 135.5 & ping is 430.My phone says 3G before the apple update it was 4g.

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