Switching Two iPhones from AT&T to Straight Talk Wireless

A reader, Angie, recently asked…

Hello. I have two iphone4s that are running iOS 7.0.3 that are a couple days from being off contract with AT&T and I would like to switch service to StraightTalk. I have already ordered two StraightTalk, AT&T compatible sim cards from Straighttalk, but have not activated ST service yet, since I had found all of the articles online on the difficulty to get the apn settings set for data and messaging running ST I am apprehensive I switching til I am clear on the steps to switch. Can I follow your guide and setting downloads listed on this site to get the apn settings set-up once I activate ST service or is there more steps I need to do? (I want to keep the phone numbers I currently have) Please advise.

Hi Angie,
You can potentially save a lot of money by switching your two iPhone 4s to Straight Talk. And it is wise to make an informed decision before switching Straight Talk or another prepaid wireless carrier and plan to your migration.

In my experience, getting Straight Talk’s data APN set on your iPhone is easy.  Very few people have a problem with this.  MMS is a bit tricky.  Straight Talk doesn’t guarantee that MMS will work on your BYOP iPhone.

My MMS works, but I mostly use iMessage. If you are unclear of the difference between MMS and iMessage see Understanding the Difference between MMS and iMessage on Your iPhone.

To setup MMS on the iPhone you need to enter the APN and MMS information in the Cellular Data Network option in your iPhone’s settings. Unfortunately, your iPhone automatically configures these values and hides this option when an AT&T network SIM is installed.  It’s unfortunate because he iPhone  sets the AT&T values for your Straight Talk AT&T SIM, and those values are wrong. My guide shows how to use an inactive T-Mobile network SIM to access  Cellular Data Network so you can enter the correct values.

Many people follow the guide and get MMS working. Some people have a problem, ask for help, and eventually get it resolved. Some people never get MMS to work. The most common problems I hear are: not getting the Cellular Data Network option when putting the T-Mobile SIM in, MMS not working after entering their APN values, and MMS working in only one direction (sending, but not receiving. Receiving, but not sending).I usually tell prepaid wireless customers to pick a company that uses a network that works well in their area. Since you are already using the AT&T,  your experience for voice and data coverage should be the same using the Straight Talk AT&T sim.In addition to the MMS issue, I usually tell people to make a check list of every feature and app they use to make sure it will work on Straight Talk. Some examples.

1. MMS
2. Group Texts
3. Visual Voicemail
4. FaceTime
5. Personal Hotspot
6. Other apps..

Group Text uses MMS. So if your MMS doesn’t work you won’t have group texts. Visual Voicemail doesn’t work on Straight Talk. There is a 3rd party app, YouMail, that some people recommend as an alternative.

My FaceTime works over cell data, I had a reader that said hers didn’t. Personal Hotspot is not supported and against the Straight Talk Terms of Service. You also want to check any other apps you use. One reader uses a home camera monitoring app from DLink that worked on ATT but not Straight Talk.

As for your situation…

1. You don’t need to rush to get off AT&T. You can cancel your service when you are ready and they will prorate your bill.

2. When you sign up for a prepaid service, you pay for the month. There are no refunds. You are committed for 30 days. If you don’t like it you can move on immediately at eat the cost, or wait until your service is up.

3. As soon as your contract with AT&T is up, request they unlock both your iPhones on their Device Unlock Portal. It’s free. Follow all the instructions including the iTunes iPhone Restore…

4. If you are concerned about being able to SIM swap, order a T-Mobile SIM and try to follow my guide to see if you get the Cellular Data Network option on both iPhones. If so, you have a good chance your MMS will work.

5. You can active one Straight Talk SIM. You can choose to port your number immediately or do it later. If you do it immediately, your AT&T service will be cancelled. If you do it later, both your old AT&T SIM  and your ST SIM with a new phone number will be active. You can test with the ST and test data and MMS on one or both of your iPhones.

6. If you like it, port your number, if not stay with AT&T and look at some other prepaid options.

7. When you activate the second SIM, you can port the second number immediately. Remember to ask AT&T for your account PIN. You’ll need this to port your number.

I use both Net10 and Straight Talk. I am happy with the service. I willing to live with the limitations in exchange for a $45 a month cell phone bill.

You might also want to compare Straight Talk and Net10. Straight Talk is cheaper for one line. You might save a couple of bucks using the net10 family plan and and auto pay with the discount. Net10 and Straight Talk are owned by the same company.

If you decide Straight Talk is not for you, check out AT&T Pay and Go. It’s more expensive, but you get the benefit of going into any AT&T store for support.

You can come back here to ask more questions. Also it might be worthwhile to look through my older posts on smartphonematters.com. I have written about this topic a number of times.

Let me know how it goes.



  1. Emma Jules | |

    Hi !
    I plan on buying a pre-owned Iphone 6 on Gazelle.com. When I clicked on “Check carrier compatibility” it says : Our Gazelle Certified AT&T phones are locked to the AT&T network, meaning they can only be activated using an AT&T SIM card. If you intend to use an AT&T locked device on a carrier other than AT&T, such as Cricket or Straight Talk, we strongly recommend you first contact that carrier about the use of the specific AT&T locked device you want to purchase with their service.

    So my question is will I be able to activate this phone with a nano sim card and a 45 Straight Talk Plan.

    Regards, Emma.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Emma,
      Cricket – will not work
      Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T and according to the website your phone must be unlocked.
      Still it might work, though

      Straight Talk – will work
      STo find out if your phone is eligible for Straight Talk’s Verizon network, see Checking If You Can Use Your Verizon Smartphone with Straight Talk Wireless
      click the att button, enter your zip code

      OK that said, I generally recommend unlocked phones. They have more flexibility and are with more if you sell it later. How much are you paying for this phone from Gazelle? Do they sell unlocked phones? what is the price difference?


      • Emma Jules | |

        The phone that I want is a 16 GB Iphone in Space Grey for $450.
        There are no more unclocked Iphone available… but it was the same price and it was roughly the same price.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          The Verizon iPhone 6 is unlocked and will work fine with ATT or Cricket. You can also buy used from eBay. I can make some recommendations if you like.

  2. DLo | |

    I have an ATT Iphone 4. I have already switched in my Straightalk sim and the phone is working and i can imessage pics and texts. But I cannot send and receive PICS (only) when its trying to send to a non-imessage phone. It looks like regular texts can come and go to non-iphone, but the pictures cannot between the two. I have read this screen over and over again looking for the guide to explain the T-Mobile sim or something like that in which I need to buy. But it dont see where you explain how or what to do! All i see is “order a T-Mobile SIM and try to follow my guide to see if you get the Cellular Data Network option on both iPhones. If so, you have a good chance your MMS will work.” Follow WHAT GUIDE?? Is there a link to this somewhere??

    How do I do this? What T-Mobile sim do I order? Do you have an example? Do I order it directly from T-Mobile? Im so confused.

  3. Denise | |

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for a great article. I have a couple of questions I hope you can answer. I have an ATT iphone that just ended the 2 year contract service. I want to give it to my daughter to use with striaght talk. She currently has a straight talk $45 plan. This is for a Christmas gift so I don’t want to switch her service over until after she opens the gift. I have purchased a new SIM from straight talk but not a new activation monthly card. From what I am reading, it appears that I will have to buy another monthly card to set it up initially? If not, what steps do I need to take. How much can I get done so that when she opens it we have minimal set up.
    Thanks in advance! Denise

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Denise,
      An iPhone for Christmas, great gift! If your daughter uses Straight Talk already, you don’t need to buy a new activation card. All you need to do is log into Straight Talk web site and transfer her service from her existing phone to the new SIM card you bought. This will transfer both the phone number and remaining service from here current phone to the new SIM your bought for her new iPhone. I’ve done this a few times and it was always fast and problem free.

      I wrote an article with most of the steps, see Transferring Your Existing Straight Talk Service to a New Straight Talk Phone or SIM.

      If you want to wait until after she opens the phone to transfer the service, you might want to take some time to get ready to do it.
      1. Double check you bought the correct Straight Talk SIM. The ST ATT nano SIM for all iPhone 5 models or the ST ATT micro SIM for iPhone 4 models.
      2. Does your daughter have an Straight Talk online account? If not go to the web site and create one.
      3. Read the article above, you can walk through most of the steps without doing the actual transfer. That way, you’ll know what to do on Christmas day

      I hope this helps.

  4. Barbara Cooley | |

    I have a iphone 4s and transferred my phone to straight talk. Why can I not get google maps to work when I am travelling. I always have a error message. When I had my att phone it worked when I was in the car. It doesn’t anymore. What can you do to help me.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Barbara,
      I don’t know what the problem is. Is it only Google Maps that doesn’t work? Or are you not able to use data for any apps while traveling?
      I used to use ATT. I have used Straight Talk ATT while traveling on both the east and west coasts without any problem.

      Are you traveling in rural areas?


      • Barbara | |

        I found the problem! I checked to make sure google was up and running and I had to sign in to my google account and now it works

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Hi Barbara,
          glad to hear you found the problem. Great news.

  5. Ryan | |

    hey, bob my name is ryan and i currently have at&t witch is super expensive for me and my faince and ive been wanna to switch to straight talk, but i have the iphone 5s & she has the iphone 5c bet there not unlocked can you explain to me how to get me unlocked throw staight talk so i can finily enjoy some great cheap servise?


    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Ryan,
      Your 5s and and fiancees’ 5c will work with Straight Talk’s ATT SIM. You don’t need to unlock them. If you cancel your att contract, and pay off the Early Termination Fee you can ask ATT to unlock the phones for you. You’d then have the option to use tmobile based networks as well as att based networks. Some people claim MMS will not work if the phone is locked, but I don’t think that is the reason why some people have trouble with MMS.

      Do you have a contract with ATT? You need to calculate your cost for canceling the contract to see if you are going to save money switching before the contract is up.


  6. jessica | |

    I have a att iPhone 5s and I want to switch to straight talk what I have to do

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Jessica,
      Did you have any questions about what I wrote in the article?

  7. Antonio | |

    Aloha Amigo I also switch over from ATT to a Straight talk and everything seems to be working rite on my Ifone 4s exept my Google Maps just locates the destination and when I press start it says No Info? Can you help?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Aloha Antonio,
      If you have a Wi-Fi connection, see if it Google maps will show any info using it. Make sure you have cellular data enabled for maps in your settings. I’d also consider deleting and reinstalling the app.

  8. Kenny | |

    Hi Bob,

    I was recently given an iPhone 4s from a family member who upgraded to the 5s with AT&T. So far I’ve completely reset the phone and updated it with my own personal information. I’m currently already a StraightTalk customer and use a ZTE Solar (which is a horrible phone I might add). My question to you is… What are my first steps in getting my service switched over to the 4s without incident (StraightTalk customer service can be hit or miss!)? If you don’t mind, please give me a list of the steps I need to take to make it as un-comlicated as possible for me. Thanks!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Kenny,
      Nice to hear you scored an iPhone 4s.
      If your family member completed the contract. Ask them to request ATT unlock the phone for you. It’s free
      https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/. It doesn’t need to be unlocked to use it, but its better if it is.

      I assume you bought the ZTE from Straight Talk, is that correct? Or did you buy the phone and get a Straight Talk SIM?
      Do you have an account on the Straight Talk website?
      How much is you currently monthly bill with Straight Talk, when you switch to the iPhone you’ll need to be on the $45 a month plan.

      Let me know, and I can help you put together a list of steps.

      • Kenny | |

        Hey Bob,

        Thanks for the reply and sorry for my delayed response! I am, and have been for 2 years, a customer with StraightTalk… And in that time, I’ve always used the $45/unlimited plan. And yes, I do also have an account set up on straighttalk.com… I purchased the ZTE from Walmart about a week and a half ago, and yes it was already a StraightTalk phone. The ZTE itself seems to be an OK phone, but it is absolutely horrible when it comes to picking up/dropping the network. I want to try and get this iPhone hooked up within the next couple days so I can return the ZTE to Walmart and get my $180 bucks back before their 15 day policy runs out! I’ve noticed the BYOP activation kit at Walmart comes with a $45/unlimited card, which I really don’t need as my service is already current. But given that I’m kind of on a time frame, I might have to just purchase it rather than waiting on the cheaper kit from StraightTalk’s website in the mail.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Hi Kenny,
          OK. Let me know how it goes.

  9. Tommy | |

    I just wanted to say that I switched my AT&T locked phone to straight talk by using the APN settings download very simply.. The only issue I am having is I’m not receiving 4G or LTE. I’m stuck on 3G no matter where I go. Other than that I love it and I am honestly saving almost half off my monthly bill compared to atnt

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Tommy,
      Yes. Many people are able to get their locked ATT iPhone to work. The issue that some people have is with the SIM swap trick used to access the Cellular Data Network settings when they want to set up MMS.

      I am curious as to why you are not getting LTE. Do you have it enabled in the settings. Check in Settings Cellular

  10. beth | |

    Bob. I bought 3rd party iPhone already restored to factory settings, I just got the att email that its ready to be unlocked in 24hrs. It tells me to sign into iTunes to backup and restore then it will be unlocked. Do I need to do this since its already restored??

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Beth,
      If I bought as used phone I’d do a iPhone Restore in iTunes regardless. I know in the past it used to be required to do the restore to complete the unlock, and I read some people saying it wasn’t required, but I can’t say 100%. I’ve did the restore once for the unlock on my iPhone 4s and several times on my iPhone 5 as part of doing stuff for smartphonematters

      If you are still running iOS 7.0.6 or earlier you may want to skip because you’ll get updated to 7.1. Check smartphonematters to read what I wrote and the comments from others about 7.1 to make an informed decision.


  11. Elizabeth Moore | |

    I need clarification what what I need to do.
    I’m getting an iPhone 4 (AT&T) from a friend that just upgraded. The phone is off the contract. My question is, to send and receive messages and pictures, do I need to have AT&T unlock the phone or just use the straight talk compatible SIM card? I’m unclear on what’s best to do. And do you know if AT&T will unlock the phone if I took it in, not having AT&T service, even though it is off the contract, and how much it would cost?

    Thanks so much!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hello Elizabeth,
      Have the friend you are getting the phone from ask att to unlock it. You can fill out the online unlock for your friend. Unlocking your AT&T iPhone. They should unlock the phone for free. If they refuse contact them directly and request they unlock the phone. They won’t do it in the store. It will be way easier for your friend to unlock it, or you doing it as your friend since they are the att customer.

      You can use the phone with the straight talk ATT sim even if you don’t unlock it. With the latest ios7 you data and mms wight just work automatically or you will need to read my guide and sim swap. Some readers tell me they can’t sim swap a locked iPhone other say it worked fine for them. All my iPhones have been unlocked.

      You can read the guide hear and browse through the comments to get a sense of how well it works for others.
      How to Setup Straight Talk Wireless Data and MMS for your iPhone running iOS 7


  12. Brittany | |

    I’m having difficulty getting the internet to work on my iPhone unless I am in range of wifi.. I’m wondering if you have any idea how to resolve this??

  13. Sam | |

    Ok heres our situation. Please dont judge but i have a friend that had a family plan at att. He is currently 600.00 behind its 4 iphones. Current phone bill is 280.00 per month. They had some bad situations come up and can no longer afford to pay the bill. He told me he would give me the 4 phones for 100.00. This is with him still owing att because i dont believe he plans on paying the bill or early termination fee. My question is if i bought tgese phones, how could i unlock them and use straight talk on them without being connected to his bills? What steps exactly do i need to follow and would mine then work or would att come back and relock it after it was unlocked. Its all so confusing

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Sam,
      I don’t know.
      With Verizon and Sprint, if a phone is stolen or you don’t pay your bill they ban the phone from the network and you can’t activate it. I am not sure how ATT and TMobile handle it. They could prevent the phones from being activated on the network. That would likely carry over to Straight Talk’s ATT network. Maybe T-Mobile too.

      The only iPhone unlock I have ever done was through ATT after the ETF was paid. I have never used any third party services to unlock. In fact, you shouldn’t need to unlock the iPhones to use them on Straight Talk with the ATT SIM. So what you really need to figure out is if ATT will ban the phone from the ATT and prepaid ATT networks.

      If it were my friend I would to help him get out of this situation. I would have to believe not paying his bill and ETF will impact his credit rating and perhaps ever be turned over to a collection agency. That is sort of a double knock on his credit rating. This is what I would tell my friend to do.

      1. Call AT&T and explain that their is a financial hardship. Find out how much it it will cost to pay the bills and cancel the contract / pay the ETF.
      2. Try to negotiate a reduced rate.
      3. Calculate the value of the 4 iPhones if sold locked on Gazelle, eBay, or Craig’s List
      4. Ask ATT if they would want to buy back the iPhones
      5. Transfer my current cell number to a very inexpensive plan. T-Mobile has a 1000 minutes for 100 a year. Tracfone has a $ 8 a month plan
      6. Pay off the ATT bill or negotiated amount with a written agreement that it will not be reported the credit agencies

      Some links

      So to summarize.
      You don’t need to have the phones unlocked to use on Straight Talk’s ATT network, only their T-Mobile network
      You need to figure out if they will block activation of the phone if the bill / ETF is not paid.

      My advice.
      Help your friend minimize the impact of this to his financial health.


  14. hannah | |

    I have purchased an I phone 5 from a friend of mine. I don’t know which sim card to get because the phone is locked.. which one is the best? the at&t micro sim, or just the at&t sim card? I just want to get the right one so the phone works properly..


    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Hannah,
      Do you know if this is a AT&T iPhone 5 (GSM) or a Verizon iPhone 5 (CDMA)? Did your friend say whether they completed their contract or paid the Early Termination Fee on the phone. If so, ATT will unlock it for free.

      Usually the Straight Talk AT&T SIM is the best choice. Do you know if AT&T network has good network coverage where you live? You’ll need a nano SIM. You will have to either cut a micro SIM or buy one that the seller cut for you.

      Let me know which phone you have and I can help you further.

  15. michael | |

    hello I was reading through this conversation and am wondering if I can buy an AT&T iphone 5 and just put the new LTE AT&T compatible ST sim in it, I have an AT&T iphone 4s on straight talk right now but it is unlocked, so my question is can I use a locked AT&T iphone 5 for straight talk, some people say no you must have it unlocked but there are youtube videos proving that it doesn’t matter, if you could solve my confusion it would be much appreciated lol, thanks!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Michael,
      I use an unlocked iPhone 5. Many readers report using locked iPhone 5s (plural of iPhone 5). Data works with rarely a problem. Getting MMS to work can be tricky. You might need to SIM swap. Some people have trouble with swapping locked phones, other say they can do it. If you don’t know about the SIM swap.
      Read How to Setup Straight Talk Wireless Data and MMS for your iPhone running iOS 7.
      It’s putting the T-Mobile SIM into the locked phone that some say causes the problem

      It is confusing. Can you elaborate on your plan to buy a locked ATT iPhone 5?


      • michael | |

        hey thanks for the response, so my plan is to buy an AT&T iphone 5(not unlocked) off craigslist and buy a 4g LTE micro sim from straight talk and cut it to a nano sim, from there I would update the apn settings so my data works, for the mms I will probably buy a T-Mobile sim a week later or something, I just don’t want to do spend hundreds of dollars on an iphone that wouldn’t work, hopefully this answered your question.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Hi Michael,
          It should work. In fact, with a recent update. Your data and MMS might just work without any issue. Mine does. I would add, take the time to make an informed choice about Straight Talk. Most people that come to my site get data working. Some people have issues with MMS. Recently, a number of readers report issues receiving MMS. I’d encourage you shop for an unlocked phone if possible. There is less chance of having a problem and more resale value later.

          Spend some time reading through the comments on smartphonematters.com. I ask readers to share their experience, the good, bad, and ugly. The best place to start is here: How to Setup Straight Talk Wireless Data and MMS for your iPhone running iOS 7

          Let me know if you need more help.

  16. Tami | |

    I’m 268.00 a month for 2 iphone5 from att with unlimited talk and text and we share 15gb data what can I do

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Tami,
      15 Gigs of data? That is alot of data. Do you really consume that much data per month? every month?

  17. Cynthia | |

    Hi Bob. Well, I was another one who started getting the message about no cellular data. I was out shopping and trying to access a coupon….I was ticked at Straight Talk! I have a real love/hate relationship with ST, but with every little problem I’ve had, I’ve found most were not ST issues. Anyway, I’m another one you helped get my phone/cellular service back on track. Your directions are very explicit and I was able to get this going quickly. I did think my APN would be the same as before the TFW switch, so first I chose the att APN. The tfdata is the one that worked for mine. Now, my ST profile says Not Verified; before removing it it was Verified with a green check mark. Hopefully this isn’t an issue. Many Thanks Bob. I’ve forwarded your site to my friend who is switching to ST.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Cynthia,
      Thanks for commenting. Glad you got your phone to work again. Straight talk is updating customers from their old APNs to tfdata. Randomly.. without telling them. nice, huh. Don’t worry about the profile being not verified. It seems they did not bother to “sign” them. You wouldn’t want Not Verified profiles from an untrusted source, but this is OK.
      It’s funny you mention the love / hate relationship. You love $45 dollars a month, you hate having to install profiles and MMS issues. Mostly I view it as make an informed choice. Know what you get for $45 a month, know what you get for $90 dollars a month.

      Oh and thanks for referring your friends.


  18. Saundra S | |

    I just wanted to thank you for clear, precise instructions on setting the APN settings on the iPhone. I had an Iphone and was using Straight Talk when I upgraded to IOS7. I lost my ability to access the internet, unless I was at a wi-fi spot. I found your website and followed your instructions and was able to access the internet without a wifi spot AND (bonus!!) receive and send MMS/pic messages, which I wasn’t able to do before.
    Thanks a BUNCH!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hey Sandra,
      I am glad you found smartphonematters.com and follow the guides. I am happy to hear you now have MMS as well. Great news. Awesome.

  19. Richard | |

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for your valuable advice. Of course I would prefer the iPhone 5S to the iPhone 5, but not at twice the price. I was looking for the AT&T iPhone 5 on CL and eBay in order to take advantage of the LTE network. However, I couldn’t find any one cheaper that the one I bought from Straight Talk and it comes with a one year warranty. In view of the aforementioned, I decided to keep the Straight Talk iPhone 5, running on the 4G network of AT&T. I tried the Verizon network and honestly, I hate that you can’t talk and surf the net at the same time. If at some point I can find a good deal on an AT&T iPhone 5, I will certainly consider getting rid of my Straight Talk iPhone and get the AT&T. Last, but not least, I am ready to sell my old iPhone 4. I have one that is locked to at&T and one that is unlocked and was replaced by apple about two months ago in mint condition. How much should I ask for these phone? CL or eBay? Thanks

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Richard,
      If you have experience buying and selling on eBay, I’d sell my iPhones there. Do a search for your model phone and filter on the sold / completed listings. You can get a sense of what phones in similar condition sell for. If you have the boxes and the accessories you can get top dollar. I usually sell fixed price rather than auction. Remember you’ll need to account for the fees. You’ll save the fees on Craigs List, but you’ll have to meet and do business with a stranger. Finally, go to Gazelle and check what they will pay you for them. They resell the devices so they don’t pay as much as you selling them. It’s hassle free, they even send you the postage paid box to ship it to them. The best advice I can give you is pick a method and get them listed. If you don’t need them any more sell them don’t procrastinate. MAke sure you advertise them as working with Straight Talk. People will like that!

  20. Richard | |

    Hi Bob,
    I need your advise. My wife and I had an iPhone 4 (AT&T) with Straight Talk. We decided to upgrade to the Straight Talk iPhone 5 16gb (Verizon). We paid $400 plus tax for each and expect to get 23% back form a cash back site. However, I just discovered I can’t get LTE speeds with a straight talk iPhone 5 (just at&T iPhone) as LTE operate in different bands. My wife don’t care about speed and she is happy. However, I didn’t like the verizon network and asked Straight Talk to change my service to AT&T (still don’t have LTE, just 4G). My question is the following; would you recommend me to return the phones to straight talk and buy the 5S from Apple so I can get a better phone and LTE? It would be a difference of $250 -assuming I don’t get cash back- per phone ($500 total). In your opinion, does it worth to pay an additional $250 to upgrade to the 5S or would you keep the iPhone 5? What would you do? I know when the iPhone 6 is released I will want that one, so maybe I am better off saving the $250 for the iPhone 6. Your input is appreciated. Thanks.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Richard,

      You are in an interesting position. If I were you and I could return this iPhone 5 for a refund I would do it. I’d go and buy a GSM iPhone 5 or 5s and get on the Straight Talk 4G LTE network. Used iPhone 5s (plural, not the model) are selling pretty cheap. Check Craig’s List or eBay. You can go with the iPhone 5s (the model) if you can find one, or order it and wait. The unlocked models are still in short supply. A full price AT&T iPhone 5s (the model) should unlock when you do an iPhone restore with iTunes. I bought my full price AT&T iPhone 5 and unlocked it that way, I assume the 5s (the model) will too.

      On the other hand, you said you spent $400 on this iPhone and got it for $308 dollars after the cash back deal. That is a really great price for a really great phone. If you made the choice to get this iPhone 5, after knowing about the iPhone 5s (the model), than the difference between the two phones wasn’t an issue for you.

      If this is the case, its really an issue about using the AT&T network versus the Verizon network. Is your preference for AT&T just a matter of speed, getting 4G HSPA+ or 4G LTE? or something else? I am not sure how much faster the ATT 4G HSPA+ network is than the Verizon 3G network. You can download an app called Speedtest and get a sense on how fast the your current service really is. I’d think you would be happy with the iPhone 5 with the Straight Talk AT&T SIM on 4G. I used Net10 4G with my iPhone 5 until this month and I was happy with it. I have since updated to 4G LTE (see I Upgraded My iPhone 5′s Net10 Wireless and Straight Talk SIM and Now Get 4G LTE) which was well worth the price of buying a new SIM.

      Assuming you want the iPhone 6 as soon as it comes out it might make sense to keep this phone (using either network). If the iPhone 6 ships in 12 months and you switch this phone will cost you $25.60 a month to own, less if you then sell it used on eBay, Craigs List or even Gazelle. (Did you sell those old iPhone 4s(plural)?)

      You recently took the leap from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5. You skipped the 4s. If you go to the iPhone 5s (the model) now you may in fact end up waiting for the iPhone 6s (the model, or whatever they call it, the iPhone Air maybe ha!)

      All this said, I am probably not helping here. I think being happy with the network you are on is more important than the exact model iPhone you have. I had my iPhone 5 on T-Mobile fora short period of time, and the 2G data service was so poor in my area that Google Maps would stop updating directions! It was miserable.

      Let me know if you have any more questions and how you make out. I started smartphonematters.com to discuss these types of issues.


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