Using the Net10 T-Mobile SIM in the iPhone

Net10

Sarah shares her Net10 experience.

On 5/31 Sarah writes…

This has been awful. I have an AT&T iPhone 4 running 6.1.3. I finished the AT&T contract and activated Net10 with an AT&T simcard. It wasn’t seemless, but once it was working, I had phone,data,txt,and MMS with pictures. To android phones. Then they added a data cap and I hit it. So Net 10 suggested a T-mobile card would have much more data and they sent me a new T-mobile simcard. I activated it and thought all was well. That was a couple days ago. Since then, I’ve realized I don’t have picture mail. So I tried to fix it–now I have nothing. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I do have phone. But if all I have is unlimited voice, I can pay a lot less than this! The thing that seems the worst to me is that Net10 never intimated AT ALL that I’d have trouble (like you said that’s it’s really slow) only that I’d have a higher data cap. When it WAS working (before I “fixed” it), it really did seem very laggy on the T-mobile simcard. Funny thing, it seemed like I had better voice connection than before. Like I had service where I hadn’t before. But maybe that was my imagination. I tried all the settings from the new zealand and nothing has worked–am I supposed to be popping the simcard each time too? And I only have the T-mobile simcard now–once I got the phone activated with the “new and improved” one, I didn’t want to confuse them and couldn’t see the use of a second, so I threw out the att one.

She also added…

I apologize I have read and re-read. I now have (with the last one) data working on the T-mobile sim card. It’s slow, but it’s working. Now I need to buy a new sim card to swap to see if I can have picture texting again? BTW: I RECEIVED a picture message from an android phone but couldn’t send. Does that make sense? I had sent to an iPhone no problem, but now I know that’s because it’s using iMessage. Different thing.

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for sharing your experience with Net10 with us.

So let me see if I understand. You had an AT&T iPhone running iOS 6. You set it up with the Net10 AT&T SIM. You had voice, data, and MMS working.  (Did you really have MMS working?, if so how).

Life was good. Then you hit  the 1.5 GB data cap on the Net10 AT&T SIM. You then  switched to Net10′s T-Mobile network sim to get back to unlimited data.

So as it stands you have data working, can receive MMS messages (not through iMessage), and  your data is slow.

Is this correct?

It should be possible to get your MMS working with the T-Mobile SIM.  I can try and help you get MMS working if you like.

You comment that data is slow. My guess is that if you look in the upper lefthand corner of your phones display you will see an “E” next to the signal bars.  The T-Mobile network isn’t fully compatible the iPhone 4.  My bet is you are only getting 2G data speeds.  Before Net10, I was using T-Mobile prepaid and I simply found the data service to be too slow.

Also, depending on where  your live it is entirely possible that the voice call quality is better on the T-Mobile network.

So you summed it up. You need to choose between  3G/4G data speeds and a data cap using Net10 on AT&T’s network or unlimited slow 2G data using Net10 on the TMobile network.  (You mentioned the MMS issue but I think we can fix  that).

That’s a hard choice. I left T-Mobile, went to Net10 with AT&T and stayed after the cap. I chose the speed. Your options:

1. Stay with Net10 T-Mobile, fix the MMS issue.

2. go back to  Net10 AT&T, live with the data budget.

3. Sell your iPhone and switch the an Android phone. You’ll get unlimited data and 3/4G speed on Net10

4. Sell your iPhone. replace it with a Verizon iPhone. Switch to StraightTalk or Net10 using the Verizon. (I am researching this for a blog article). You should be able to sell your GSM phone, buy a used iPhone for Verizon and have a little money left over (or upgrade to the 4s). In general, AT&T iPhone’s sell for more money used than Verizon ones. And yours is unlocked, so it will command even more money.

Finally,two last point.  You may want to wait it out with Net10 T-Mobile. T-Mobile is improving there network nationwide and is upgrading their network to be more compatible with the iPhone. They added 1900mhz radio spectrum (what the AT&T iPhone uses) as well as spectrum for MetroPCS (for the iPhone 5).

There are two points I am not sure about. First, T-Mobile is upgrading region by region and we don’t know when they will upgrade your area.

Second, I currently don’t know if using Net10′s T-Mobile service is any different than using T-Mobile directly.  You can take your iPhone 4 into a T-Mobile store and ask them if you can try out the data speeds on your iPhone.  One reader in the Las Vegas area told me he was getting 3G speeds using the iPhone with Net10 on T-Mobile.

I will email you directly to see if we can get MMS working for you.

Best Regards,

Bob

42 comments on “Using the Net10 T-Mobile SIM in the iPhone
  1. Mary says:

    I’m using net10 on iPhone 4s with good to excellent results on iOS 7.1. Clear voice, always 3G minimum speed and texting only to cell phones including photos. I am not pleased that u can not watch a movie on amazon prime with data- but I do have virtually unlimited YouTube video play and with what appears to be approx 20 min of play before it needs to reload. I have unusual travel and have had much worse service in many odd locations with big carriers. Very pleased with net10 on iphone4s.

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Mary,
      Thanks for sharing. I have never heard about this limitation with Amazon prime. Can you share a few more details about what happens after20 minutes? Does the more just buffer and continue to play? or does it reload from the begining? I don’t think I have a solution but I would like to be able to share the details with the other readers.

      Regards
      Bob

  2. allan says:

    U replied earlier to my post about an iphone 5 and mms not working. Do I have to use a tmobile sim or can I use a verizon or net10 inactivated sim?

    • Bob Thompson says:

      You can try any sim you have that isnt for the att network. So a net10 att sim isn’t going to work a net10 t-mobile sim will. A Verizon sim is only for lte and I think would be iffy, I haven’t heard anyone ever try it. You can try what you have or go to ebay and spend between 99 cents and $10 for a tmobile sim.

      Regards
      Bob

  3. allan says:

    I have had net10 for a while now and love the service however I do have a question. I had the AT&T inspire 4g and recently bought and unlocked iphone 5. Since net10 does not sale the nano SIM card I researched and cut my SIM card that was in my android to fit the iphone. Every thing works perfect except for picture messaging. I can a pic to another iphone but no other type of phone. Is there something I can do to fix this problem.

  4. Ryan says:

    I am using an unlocked iPhone 3GS running iOS 6.1.3 with the tmobile SIM card. Can someone please tell me what the data and mms settings are for the net10 tmobile SIM card so I can get the data and pictures working ASAP.

  5. Manuel Quelle says:

    Hi Bob,

    I thought of another question.

    My girlfriend’s contract is up next month as well and she has an unlocked samsung galaxy s4. So she would also like to leave AT&T and join the Net10 family.

    Which sim card is better for her device? AT&T 3G sim card (Net10) or T-Mobile 4G sim card (Net10)?

    Thank You
    Manuel

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Manuel,

      Another good question. The simple answer is the same as for your iPhone. If her AT&T service is good, the Net10 SIM should work well.

      A little some complicated answer. Your girlfriend’s Galaxay S4 should support 4G LTE data. That is the fastest service available today. If she goes to Net10 she won’t get 4G LTE. She might get 4G HSPDA, which is fast but not as fast.
      Not having the fastest 4G service is not always the most important thing. I use an iPhone 5 on Net10 with the AT&T sim. I get 4G, but not LTE. I’d rather save $40-50 a month.

      Again, this is awesome you are planning ahead. Same offer holds. We can talk a more detailed look at this.

      Regards
      Bob

  6. Manuel Quelle says:

    Hello Bob,

    My contract with AT&T is going up next month and I was looking to get into Net10. I currently have an iPhone 4S that I bought factory unlocked directly from Apple.

    My choices according to Net10′s website as of this moment is AT&T Microsim card 3G or T-Mobile 4G Microsim card.

    Net10 states on their website that “Unlimited Data is back!”. I assume this means there was previously a data limit and now there isn’t anymore.

    Should I go with the AT&T 3G sim card or the T-Mobile 4G sim card. Which will be beneficial for my device?

    Thank You
    Manuel

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Manuel,
      Most iPhone users should get the Net10 AT&T card.
      Unless you live in an area where AT&T service was really bad, there is no reason to go with the Net0 T-Mobile SIM. There isn’t anything wrong with T-Mobile, just that there network isn’t as compatible with the iPhone. When you use your iPhone know on AT&T do you see a 3G or a 4G in the status bar? That is pretty much what you will get with Net10 with the ATT SIM.

      It’s awesome that you started looking into this before your contract ended and you made the switch. You have the opportunity to do a little research and make an informed choice.

      Make sure yo read through the older posts on smartphonematters.com. I want to make sure you are aware of all the issues so that you can make and informed choice. In fact I think I’ll write up a fresh article this week to discuss that.

      Let me know if you have more questions.

      Regards,
      Bob

      • Manuel Quelle says:

        Hey Bob,

        Yeah its great I am looking ahead before I make my choice to switch. Which brings me to my next concern, I am reading A LOT of bad reviews from Net10 customers on the Net10 forums and everyones keeps saying “Why did my data suddenly stop working? This happened the last time and I called you people and my data didn’t come back for a few days now!” It seems to me like Net10 has a serious problem with their data.

        I’m not sure if Net10 is getting saturated of their data from their customers, but it is concerning that many different customers from different places are all flocking to Net10′s customer forums and bombarding them with data failure issues on their iPhones and other smart phone devices.

        I currently live in Queens, NY and we have some of the best cellular towers here since its a metro area. In fact I heard now we have T-Mobile 1900Mhz data towers now.

        But the Net10 data problem is somewhat deterring me from joining because I am afraid now that I might get the short end of the stick when it comes to data. I mean, its one thing to data cap and throttle and its another thing when a company just totally cuts off your data.

        Another alternative I have been reading about is Solavei. This Solavei mobile seems to have some good reviews and I haven’t read anything in regards to data shut offs in the middle of the month out of no where. They offer 4G data for 4GB per month and after that they throttle you. But 4GB of 4G data a month for $49 isn’t too bad….

        Any input on your end in regards to the recent Net10 data problems or this upcoming “Solavei” carrier?

        Thanks

        Manny

  7. Rob says:

    I am looking to upgrade phones for my wife and I. What model would you suggest so I do not run into these problems. My wife likes the iphone 5 but I am doing my research first. I like the galaxy S4 & HTC 1 as well. I looked at both T-moblie and At&t coverage maps. At&t has 4G coverage in my usage area’s. I would like to tether when I am at my hunting camp and on vacation if possible. You seem to know your stuff so I look forward to your reply. Thanks for your help.

  8. sally says:

    How do I know if my phone is unlocked or not? I have an aTT HTC. My son has an I PHONE 4. Thank you

  9. Brian says:

    I recently switched to NET10 from AT&T. I have an iphone 4 running IOS 6.1.3 with the NET10 Att sim card. My problem is that I can no longer view my home dlink video cameras via the MyDlink site. If I switch to wifi it works, once I switch to data it does not. It worked prior to switching from ATT to NET10. Is there anything I can do, or does NET10 block this time of data usage?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Brian

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Brian,
      Let’s ask DLink.
      But first, when you say it works on WiFi. Do you mean from inside your home or another location like a Starbucks or other hot spot?
      Regards
      Bob

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Brian,
      So I created an account over at http://forums.dlink.com/ to ask about this problem. Seems like I am not able to “Start New Topic” option yet. Do you have an account there? Also I installed the mydlink lite on my iphone and tried their demo account. I too was able to access the demo cameras from my home wifi network but not over the 4G Net10 connection, so I’d say it’s not just you. I searched the forum and saw a few people asking about problems over the cellular connection but not replies from DLink. That is annoying.

      I’ll check later to see if I am approved to “Start New Topic” later today. Let me know if you can post there.

      Regards,
      Bob

  10. Vicente says:

    What is the tmobile apn setting so i get data and mms working? Also is at&t faster than tmobile and how about the coverage

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Vicente,
      Read the guide to find the Data and MMS APN settings. Generally speaking if you are using an iPhone with Net10 you want the AT&T not the T-Mobile SIM. In many areas of the country, your the T-Mobile network will be slower because you will only get 2G data speeds. You will have to check a T-Mobile coverage map to see what their network is like in your area.

      Regards,
      Bob

  11. Vic says:

    I have a iphone 4 with the TMobile Sim card but how can i set my iphone up to get data & mms working. Also is there a speed difference between at&t & tmobile sim card? & the coverage?

  12. Jimmy says:

    I just moved down to the US from Canada and found Net10 for my unlocked Galaxy SII X rooted and custom Rom’d with CM10. I opted for the AT&T SIM card in the retail package from Wal-mart instead of the TMobile one.

    I’m loving AT&T’s service in the area but I’ve recently developed a love for Pandora and I know for a fact I will easily exceed 1.5 GB of data in 30 days.

    Is it a simple process of going through those activation process instructions on the SIM card booklet with the TMobile SIM card in instead? Will my current 30-day unlimited $50 plan transfer to the new SIM card? Will I have to get a new number or can I keep the same Net10 number I received when I activated the AT&T SIM?

  13. Jessica says:

    I just got a net 10 SIM card for my AT&T iPhone 4S. All works good except I can only get pictures from iPhones not from any other brand phone and can’t send pic to any other brand. Can u help please

  14. Ryan says:

    I am using an unlocked Iphone 3GS running IOS 6.1.3 with the net10 tmobile sim card, i cant get any data or mms to work at all, i have tried alot of settings on the internet and even ones in this guide. Does anybody happen to know the mms and cellular data settings for Iphone 3GS running 6.1.3 with the tmobile net10 sim?

  15. Jason says:

    I’ve had Net10 with my iPhone 4s for months. Used an AT&T SIM card until Net10 told me that AT&T was going to start limiting data with companies like Net10 who used their towers. I switched to a T-Mobile SIM card and that worked fine for a few months. Then suddenly my data and MMS stopped. After 3 weeks of constant emails with Net10, we got my MMS working, but still no data. As in, no emails, web, online anything. Net10 is trying to tell me that it’s an Apple issue. I know this isn’t true and after that 3 weeks of no real service improvement, I’m sure that their tech team aren’t too tech savvy.

    I’m thinking of switching from Net10 to T-Mobile, but work retail and don’t know if my current T-Mobile SIM card being used through Net10 can just be switched over to being used with T-Mobile or not.

  16. Josh Palma says:

    Can u email me to set up my mms I have an 4s using a tmobile net10 sim

  17. Josh Palma says:

    If u can could u email me too to get the mms working

  18. Josh says:

    If u can could u email me too to get the mms working

  19. rusty says:

    im always looking for the bigger and cheaper deal. i was rocking a pantech p7040 (link). $50 unlimited plan. i got all the goodies promised using this “dumbphone” including bt dun and usb tethering pulling WELL over any form of data cap. speeds of tethering rival basic DSL or uverse action, but certain launchers cause the internet to “forget” what it was doing and drop connection. (some gaming launchers simply cannot update past just a few mb.) pray your downloads can be resumed from the drop-point! the pantech itself was wide open and i could dl any file as big as my sd would allow storage for.
    net10 byop sim made it possible to use my unlocked droid fusion without bumping up data charges.
    the facts as i found them…
    purchased the net10 sim through local dollar store, recieved 3 sim cards in the package. 1 att sim, 1 t-mobile, and one micro for the iphones.
    set up the plan with the att chip and quickly reached my 1.5 gb data cap. was instructed by tech support to activate a t-mobile sim (yes, you can activate the one in your store-bought package to avoid a couple days waiting for the others)
    the t-mobile sim indeed surpasses the att cap, however, in my case, t-mobile has the WORST signal reception ive ever encountered. even with quality reception places, my data was incredibly slow. (took almost 10 min to download a 1 mb file and that was after 3 attempts.)
    not sure if i was throttled down after reaching the att data cap. all the data in the world does you no good if it cant be accessed.
    simple points for smartphone users and byop net10 sim bundles-
    att sim uses att towers for 3/4g speeds but has caps and NO tethering without respective apps. (usb, bluetooth, mobile wifi hotspot)
    likewise, t-mobile sim uses the att towers with no data cap, allows your tethering to full capabilities of your phone with (no joke) a whopping 56kbps top spike on regular phone dl and/or tether. truely sad. might as well call the Flintstones and have them dl stuff for you.
    as far as iphone, sadly i have no info. wether or not they are capped and/or allow tethering ive no clue. these questions are what led me to this thread.
    what you must do before going with these byop plans is first find out if att or t-mobile has the best quality reception for any data purposes, then go for what will work out best.
    i, sadly will give up the t-mobile chip for the standard att chip for my droid and deal with the data cap, since wifi is accessible from my workplace, and purchase proper apps for tethering since the t-mobile chip is useless. (no service what so ever in my home, while rocking full bars and blazing speed from att.
    last important note-
    if you simply dont care about using a smartphone, grab yourself the pantech p7040 att go-phone from radio shed, get your $50 dollar unlimited plan, grab the usb drivers from pantech usa, and run your life unrestrained. it may not be as pretty as your icecream jelly bread sammich, or as sleek as your i5, but it is a consistant and solid phone with great features minus the touchscreen and limited on apps. perfect for those on the go with tablets or laptops, and is a great choice for your gaming pc! i pwn the Horde with no lag!
    i really hope this comment helps clear any fog.

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hey Rusty,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I used T-Mobile before going to net10 with the ATT SIM.Same issue, slow 2G most of the time, high latency. Took a long time for anyting to start downloading. I use an iPhone 5, so i knew i wouldn’t be compatible with most of their 3G/4G network.

      I am holding out hope for TMo to get better. They have new iPhone friendly spectrum and I am hoping to see true 4G LTE soon.

      Regards,
      Bob

  20. Sarah B says:

    Bob,
    You are right on the money on all counts. I felt like you must have a camera in your email when you said ‘you have an E next to the signal bars’! You know, you asked how I’d gotten MMS working before when I had the AT&T simcard. I’m not 100% sure I had MMS. I thought I did, but that was before I learned that MMS from one iPhone to another isn’t really MMS. So maybe I was MMS and maybe I wasn’t. But how I’d set up my phone with the AT&T simcard was simply the iapnupdate site. And it was really really easy.

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