Using Your Straight Talk Smartphone’s SIM in a BYOP iPhone

Today a reader asks why he can’t get get his Net10 iPhone 4s’ MMS working.

A reader, Luke asks…

So I just got an iPhone 4s and have followed the guide, am I basically screwed with the newest update of getting picture messaging to work? I can easily get internet working, but no matter what I do I can not get the cellular options to fix picture messaging. I’m assuming there is no possible way to go back on an update right?

He also added…

I had to choose the attmoto option or whatever it is called under the net10 options for internet to work and whenever I get on Net10’s website it tells me it does not belong to the gsm byop plan even though I have it activated on their service and bought it from walmart as a net10 advertised phone. It is an iPhone 4s, I had to install that APN for the internet to work on the phone without wifi. Other than that it works fine and makes calls and such, I just still can’t use picture messaging. Yes, it does have a sim card in it, I cut the same sim card I was using in my previous phone, my ZTE Merit to fit in my 4s iPhone. The Model number is A1387.

Hi Luke,
OK, after our back and forth in the comments I know what your problem is and I know what you need to do to fix it. Both Straight Talk and Net10 wireless have this same problem and solution.

The Problem
Whenever you put a Straight Talk ATT SIM into an iPhone, the phone automatically programs the APN settings and it hides the Cellular Data Network page in settings where the user could add or change the settings. The idea is that the phone automatically sets itself up and hides the settings so you don’t have to deal with them. This is true for any service that uses the att network, not just Straight Talk and Net10.

The problem is that it sets up the APN settings to use the tfdata APN. This is great if your APN is tfdata, but Straight Talk uses a few different APNs and if your APN isn’t tfdata your phone won’t work. In your case, you took your SIM from your ZTE Merit and the APN for your account is att.mvno.

In your case you were able to get your Cellular Data to work by installing the att.mvno APN profile. The APN profile is a configuration file that you downloadedd and installed. It’s a feature Apple created and added to iOS. The problem is that for whatever reason, Apple decided that the APN profile can only set up the data APN and not the MMS APN. I am sure they had some reason, but it is annoying if you want to use MMS.

The Solution
Now that I bored you by explaining the problem, I’ll tell you the solution. Get a new Straight Talk ATT network micro SIM and transfer your service to that SIM. When you do this your existing service will be transferred to the new SIM including your phone number and remaining service balance. Transferring your service is easy, you can do it yourself from the Net10 website after logging in. When you transfer your service, your APN settings will change from att.mvno to tfdata and your data and MMS should work automatically. You’ll need to remove the APN profile you installed. If you don’t know how to do that see
How to Set up Net10 Web, Data, and MMS for Your iPhone Running iOS 7. After your have put the SIM in your phone and removed the APN profile, you may need to reset your network setttings to get your MMS working.
Resetting Network Settings on Your iPhone

One thing that confused me was that you said you bought your iPhone 4s from Net10. In the past, all of the Net10 and Straight Talk iPhone 4s phones used the Verizon network. Your phone is clearly using their att network so I guess they updated their options.

If you bought this phone from Net10, it should have come with a micro SIM included. If so, you can transfer your service from your current SIM to that micro SIM. If your phone did come with a SIM, make sure it’s a Net10 ATT network SIM and not a Net10 T-Mobile SIM. You can tell which SIM it is by the color of the plastic card the SIM is attached to. Look in this article to see what your SIM looks likeL Straight Talk Wireless Bring Your Own Phone Activation Kit SIMS Packaged Incorrectly

If your phone did not come with a SIM, or it came with a Net10 T-Mobile SIM, you can order a SIM online. Just make sure to order the Net10 ATT Micro SIM.

You can order a SIM from Net10 directly using this link. This is a smartphonematters affiliate link. It won’t cost you any more to use this link, but it will help support smartphonematters

Get a NET10 Wireless SIM card!

When you are ready to transfer your service, take a look at this article. I wrote it for Straight Talk, but the steps should be the same for Net10.
Transferring Your Existing Straight Talk Service to a New Straight Talk Phone or SIM

I hope this helps. Let me know how you make out.

6 Comments

  1. Stuart | | Reply

    Hello. I’ve been using a net10 SIM card in different unlocked iphones for the past 3 years. I’m using it in a 5 right now and until just a few days ago I had no problems. Now people are telling me that it sounds like my voice fades in & out when talking. I’ve had the same comment irrespective of my location. A tech looked at my phone & said its not device related. He suggested I get a new SIM card Has anyone else had a similar experience? Thanks

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Stuart,
      I am not sure that replacing the sim will help, have you tried your sim in a different phone, and a different sim in your phone to see if it issue is related to your phone, net10 service, or the SIM.

      On the iPhone, I’d also try Resetting All Your iPhone’s Settings
      Regards
      Bob

  2. Luke | | Reply

    Alright unfortunately it did not come with a sim card, but I will order one and let you know how it goes once I get it. I see the price of the sim cards are much less on Amazon so I will order from there only downside is it’s Friday so I won’t see it until next week unless I see them for sale in town somewhere. Thanks so much for taking the time to help, hopefully it will be worthwhile!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Luke,
      You can buy the SIM anywhere. If you order online, make sure not to buy a SIM that the seller cut themselves. You might find a Net10 SIM only package in Best Buy or another retailer. They kits are usually between 9 and 15 dollars and come with 4 sims. you might only find the $60 kits that come with a $50 service card. Let me know how it goes.
      Regards
      Bob

      • Luke | | Reply

        It worked, thank you so much! You’re a miracle worker! I would had never figured this out in a million years and Net10’s help just includes them telling me to remove the simcard and power cycling the phone. I am a Prime member on Amazon so I bought the simcard for .01 and got free 2 day shipping so anybody in a similar position as myself might find that option favorable.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hey Luke,
          That is great news. Glad to hear you got a deal on a SIM too. You can’t beat one cent! I usually tell people just to make sure they aren’t buying a cut SIM when they buy from an online dealer. Sometimes those SIMs are older and may not support LTE correctly.
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          Regards

          Bob

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