Using the iPhone 3gs with Net10

A reader Carlos, asked…

I need help. I don’t know what to do.  I have a iPhone 3gs and I need to know wether can get service with a sim card.

And another reader, Daniel asked…

Bob, I am wanting to buy an older iphone 3g or 3gs off ebay for use with BYOP Smart talk plan. Whatdo I need to know in order to do this,I really want to be able to mms text and phone usage not so much data usage but more apps.

Hi Daniel and Carlos,
Since you both asked about the iPhone 3gs I figured I’d write one reply for the both of you. Yes, it is possible to use the iPhone 3gs with a prepaid service and it is a great way to save some money on both the phone and the service.

Getting your iPhone

If you don’t have your iPhone yet you can look on Craig’s List or eBay.  Craig’s List is a little more risky because of the anonymous nature. on eBay, choose a reputable seller with a positive feedback score.  Look for a phone that is that is carrier or factory unlocked.  If not, ask ATT to unlock it.  Daniel, stressed he wants to run apps, you might want to make sure the 3gs will be able to run iOS 7 which I think will ship in the fall. That way your investment , should last a longer time.  From what I have read full iOS 7 will only run on the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4 and 4s will get a limited version of iOS 7.

Choosing a Network

In most cases with the iPhone 3gs, you want to choose a mobile carrier that uses the ATT network, not the T-Mobile network. There is nothing wrong with T-Mobile, it’s just their network is less compatible with the iPhone. Ask your friends or family using ATT if it works well in your area. If it doesn’t the 3gs may not be a good choice. Net10, AT&T Pay & Go, and Red Pocket are some options.

Choosing a Plan

With Net10, you can get an unlimited talk and text with 1.5GB of data per month for $50 plus tax and fees.  If you enroll in an auto refill plan online you will save $5, which will cover the taxes and fees.  AT&T has the same plan with 2GB of data for $60 a month.  It’s a little more expensive, but you can walk into an ATT store and have them set it all up for you.  If don’t plan to use so much data.  Take a look at Red Pocket. The plans are more affordable if you do not require too much data.

Getting it Set Up

AT&T is the best bet for getting everything set up. You can go to the store and ask them to do it for you. If you require MMS picture messages. (e.g. send pictures to non iPhone users). Ask them if it works on Pay N Go and ask for a demo with their SIM in your iPhone to make sure it works.  With Net10, you will need to follow my guide to setup data and MMS.  Some readers report issues getting MMS to work. Net10 claims not to support MMS. Worst case is you sign up for a month, it doesn’t work and you switch to another service. I don’t have any direct experience with Red Pocket, but it should not be any more difficult that Net10.

Wrapping Up

I encourage you to read through some of the other articles on smartphonematters.com. You can read about some of the other readers’ experiences and information on using prepaid services.
Regards
Bob

6 Comments

  1. Tammy Stuck | | Reply

    What do I have to do to transfer net10 and service to Iphone 3 and keep the same number?

    Thank you,

    Tammy

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Tammy,

      Be advised, when you use your iPhone 3 with Net10, you’ll be able to get your data to work but may not be able to get MMS picture messaging to work.

      If you already have an existing Net10 phone you can transfer your service to the iPhone 3. First, you’ll need to buy an Net10 ATT SIM from Net10. You can use this link to order one.
      Free Overnight Shipping For Universal SIM Activation Kit – Including GSM & CDMA Starting at $.99 from Net10 Wireless!

      Once you have the SIM, you can transfer your service from your current Net10 phone to the Net10 ATT SIM from the Net10 Web site.

      1. Go to net10.com, create an account if you don’t have one.
      2. Log in
      3. On the left, click Activate Phone or SIM card
      4. Click Activate under SIM
      5. Click Transfer my Existing NET10 Service
      6. Click Continue
      7. On the next page, enter the information about your current phone.

      After that you’ll need to enter the SIM number from your new SIM.

      To set up data and MMS see How to Setup Net10 Web, Data, and MMS for your iPhone running iOS 6

      Note that your iPhone is probably using iOS 4, so the steps may be a little different.

      Regards
      Bob

  2. sandy | | Reply

    I just switched to ios7 I was able to get one of our net10 iphone 4s to work with your steps (I had used it before with ios 6 system) it took a couple of times. However I can’t get to work on our other iphone 4s PLEASE HELP!

  3. James | | Reply

    Hi! I have an Iphone 3gs, and I tried to input my Apn settings into the phone, but for some strange reason, the required “Cellular Data” tab is missing! What do I do?!

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