Using the Net10 T-Mobile SIM in the iPhone

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,


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