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 You can read about some of the other readers’ experiences and information on using prepaid services.

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