If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

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fundseeker
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If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by fundseeker » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:41 pm

Okay...I hate dealing with these cell phone matters, but our two year deal with AT&T ends in a few weeks. So, I want to make sure I understand this correctly, and get some suggestions.

1. If I do the online form and get AT&T to unlock the two iPhones (each one is a 4s), does anything change, or do the phones continue to work normally with AT&T?

2. Once unlocked and then our contract ends, can I buy any SIM card I want once I find a monthly deal I like?

3. What might be the best monthly deal (no contract) that someone has found, with maybe a couple of gigs of data?

It will be nice if I can cut the $155 per month down to maybe $100. Thanks for any help.

ieee488
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by ieee488 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:45 pm

fundseeker wrote: 1. If I do the online form and get AT&T to unlock the two iPhones (each one is a 4s), does anything change, or do the phones continue to work normally with AT&T?

They continue to work normally.

2. Once unlocked and then our contract ends, can I buy any SIM card I want once I find a monthly deal I like?
Yes.
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cacophony
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by cacophony » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:57 pm

1. Shouldn't change anything other than give you more flexibility with future carrier choices.

2. Any GSM network SIM should work.

3. Depends on your usage patterns. Here's a good summary of options:
http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011/02 ... plans.html
(All plans labeled GSM should work)

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TX_TURTLE
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by TX_TURTLE » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:22 pm

fundseeker wrote:Okay...I hate dealing with these cell phone matters, but our two year deal with AT&T ends in a few weeks. So, I want to make sure I understand this correctly, and get some suggestions.

1. If I do the online form and get AT&T to unlock the two iPhones (each one is a 4s), does anything change, or do the phones continue to work normally with AT&T?

2. Once unlocked and then our contract ends, can I buy any SIM card I want once I find a monthly deal I like?

3. What might be the best monthly deal (no contract) that someone has found, with maybe a couple of gigs of data?

It will be nice if I can cut the $155 per month down to maybe $100. Thanks for any help.
Once unlocked you can change carrier. Your AT&T cell phones are compatible with T-Mobile. Check the family plans from T-Mobile: these are 'no annual service contracts' that you renew month by month. You can get unlimited voice and messages + the data package you need. Two lines with 2.5 GB each run $100 plus fees and taxes. The best thing is that if you exceed the data allowance they don't charge you, they just slow you down and is up to you if you want to buy more data, so you can choose a cheaper data package. Be aware that for this kind of money they don't subsidize the cell phone: you bring in your current phone and then pay full price whenever you decide to upgrade.

linuxizer
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by linuxizer » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:44 pm

+1 for T-Mo. I got better service in most places with them, and they were vastly cheaper (I was on the 9c/min plan for a few years). Now I'm on StraightTalk, which is an AT&T MVNO (reseller). Slightly more than T-Mobile, but one my work locations has a contract with AT&T so they're the only ones that get service inside the building.

rotorhead
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by rotorhead » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:53 pm

fundseeker, there are a number of good MVNO's to choose from. The best one for you depends on your usage requirements. You mentioned 2 gb of data usage, but didn't say how many minutes or texts. Here is link to a site that provides some good comparative data: http://cell-phone-providers-review.topt ... ll-phones/.

Not listed in this data is Consumer Cellular: https://www.consumercellular.com/saving ... 7AodZwgAKw. We switched over to them a year ago, and are saving about $80 per month over what we were paying with AT&T. They use the AT&T network, so coverage is the same. They won't work for everyone, but we are satisfied.

Unlocking your AT&T iPhones is easy to do; then you are free to stay with AT&T if you choose, or you can change to any GSM provider. There are so many providers now, and so many different plans to choose from, it gets bewildering; and many people just give up and sign for "something". Spend a little time doing research; it will pay you back in savings. By year end we will have saved nearly $1,000 over what it cost us the previous year. That's worth spending a little time on.

jasg
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by jasg » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:17 pm

T-Mobile has a $30/month plan. 100 minutes + unlimited text and data. It is not available from their store.

I ordered a SIM from Walmart, popped it in the phone, activated on the web where I picked the $30 plan. That gave me a new number. I then ported my old AT&T number.

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:54 pm

And right now you can get a SIm from T-Mobile at no cost:

http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prep ... PID=227502

This is the link for the micro card, there are aslo regular and nano sizes available
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fundseeker
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by fundseeker » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:27 am

Thanks everyone for the very helpful replies, and especially the links. Looks like it's time to cut the cord with AT&T and check out T-Mobile.

But, one last question. I like being able to have AT&T report the location of the phone if lost or stolen. Do you know if T-Mobile offers that service? Thanks again.

rotorhead
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by rotorhead » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:19 am

fundseeker, as a post script, there was a very good article about T-Mobile in our paper this morning; about how they have really changed the way they do business, and are apparently doing quite well. You might want to check them out first.

Browser
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by Browser » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:41 am

Not listed in this data is Consumer Cellular: https://www.consumercellular.com/saving ... 7AodZwgAKw. We switched over to them a year ago, and are saving about $80 per month over what we were paying with AT&T. They use the AT&T network, so coverage is the same.
Wish that were true, but it ain't. Consumer Cellular and all the other MVNOs who are on AT&T use the AT&T Prepaid Network (same as prepaid service from AT&T). This network relies on AT&T native towers, so when you're in an area with poor coverage on native towers (and there are lots of them) there is no automatic roaming. You either don't get a signal at all, or the speed drops to 2G. You need to check out a coverage map for AT&T prepaid and CC and you'll see they are the same. For example, the entire state of Nebraska is not covered. Since I'm on an AT&T MVNO (AirVoice Wireless) I've discovered all sorts of coverage gaps in areas where I drive. So, if you've been on an AT&T contract you might not be as happy with an AT&T MVNO. Verizon MVNOs are much better in this regard because Verizon has better on-network coverage. Also, I believe (but don't know for sure) that StraightTalk AT&T has better coverage because some limited roaming is included with their service. When I plan to be driving through areas where I've had problems, I'm going to get a StraightTalk AT&T SIM from Walmart to stick into my phone to see if I have better coverage. Worst situation was not having coverage for 150 miles on I-40 through northeast New Mexico. I thought that really sucked.
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vkfu
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by vkfu » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:13 pm

Browser wrote:Consumer Cellular and all the other MVNOs who are on AT&T use the AT&T Prepaid Network (same as prepaid service from AT&T). This network relies on AT&T native towers, so when you're in an area with poor coverage on native towers (and there are lots of them) there is no automatic roaming. You either don't get a signal at all, or the speed drops to 2G. You need to check out a coverage map for AT&T prepaid and CC and you'll see they are the same. For example, the entire state of Nebraska is not covered. Since I'm on an AT&T MVNO (AirVoice Wireless) I've discovered all sorts of coverage gaps in areas where I drive. So, if you've been on an AT&T contract you might not be as happy with an AT&T MVNO. Verizon MVNOs are much better in this regard because Verizon has better on-network coverage. Also, I believe (but don't know for sure) that StraightTalk AT&T has better coverage because some limited roaming is included with their service. When I plan to be driving through areas where I've had problems, I'm going to get a StraightTalk AT&T SIM from Walmart to stick into my phone to see if I have better coverage. Worst situation was not having coverage for 150 miles on I-40 through northeast New Mexico. I thought that really sucked.
Browser, I think this is not true. ConsumerCellular's coverage map differs from AT&T's GoPhone coverage map and is the same as the AT&T Postpaid coverage map.

https://www.consumercellular.com/Home/CoverageMap
http://www.att.com/maps/wireless-coverage.html

Bill Bernstein
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by Bill Bernstein » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:21 pm

Another 1+ for T-mobile.

If you go with more than one phone, specifically ask for the "business plan," for which you can apply any name you want to, and they will allow you up to 10 phones at $50 for the first, $30 for the second, $10 for each beyond that for the unlimited talk/text/500MB 4G (2G after that).

The customer service is *much* better for the business plans, and you can apply the $10/$20 surcharge a month at a time for 2.5G/unlimited 4G separately for each phone.

Best of all, you can roam internationally at 20 cents per minute , and you get free 2G(and, supposedly, 3G in some countries) data abroad. Plus,there's no charge for hotspotting to your laptop or tablet. (They'll sell you a 4G iPad with 200M of free data, but that's totally unnecessary if you have a 4S.)

Service/call quality is excellent, and the Skype video/audio on the 4S is much better than on any of my Windows/Mac/Linux systems.

Two caveats:

1) This is a postpaid/credit check plan; the only truly prepaid plan is the 1 phone/$50 plan.

2) All telcos and cable companies, are, of course, criminal enterprises, and a large portion of their income derives from "billing errors" and slamming, and T-mobile is no exception. They did, in fact, try to "upgrade" the account soon after I opened it. Be vigilant and firm, and always get the ID number of the rep who promises you that things have been "fixed."


Bill

Browser
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by Browser » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:39 pm

All telcos and cable companies, are, of course, criminal enterprises, and a large portion of their income derives from "billing errors" and slamming, and T-mobile is no exception. They did, in fact, try to "upgrade" the account soon after I opened it. Be vigilant and firm, and always get the ID number of the rep who promises you that things have been "fixed."
That I did not know. But then I've always been a prepaid guy and stayed away from those major carrier contracts, which prove once again that Americans may be among the dumbest people in the world (speaking as one, of course). :happy
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

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ejvyas
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by ejvyas » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:16 pm

I am using T-mobile and sharing with 4 others. Final price $24/month (unlimited call/text/data - 500mb 4g)
Check republic wireless as well

lospecv
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by lospecv » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:39 am

I use straight talk with my iPhone 4 and been happy with service. I started with month to month then got a deal on a six month refill card which came out to about $35 a month.

Browser
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by Browser » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:15 am

Browser, I think this is not true. ConsumerCellular's coverage map differs from AT&T's GoPhone coverage map and is the same as the AT&T Postpaid coverage map.
Don't agree. If you look at the CC coverage map, the lighter shaded areas indicate "Partner". Those are roaming areas; for example, all of Nebraska. You don't get roaming on CC so you won't have coverage in those areas. Same as the coverage map for AT&T Prepaid. You don't really think AT&T is going to give you the same coverage for less money on Prepaid than they do on contract do you? I have exactly the same coverage as CC with AirVoice Wireless, and I can tell you for a fact that there are lots of holes in that coverage when you are travelling. You're OK if you don't go anywhere and live in a populated area. Check the AT&T Prepaid coverage map again. Be sure to select the Prepaid GoPhone button:

http://www.att.com/maps/wireless-covera ... type=voice
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

vkfu
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by vkfu » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:18 pm

Browser, AT&T's postpaid voice coverage map for Nebraska indicates partner coverage as well. There are some AT&T MVNOs (such as Airvoice) that show no coverage for Nebraska, but ConsumerCellular's coverage does show partner coverage for Nebraska.

https://www.airvoicewireless.com/CoverageMap.aspx
https://www.consumercellular.com/Home/CoverageMap
http://www.att.com/maps/wireless-coverage.html

Perhaps things have changed such you last looked.

Browser
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by Browser » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:40 pm

vkfu wrote:Browser, AT&T's postpaid voice coverage map for Nebraska indicates partner coverage as well. There are some AT&T MVNOs (such as Airvoice) that show no coverage for Nebraska, but ConsumerCellular's coverage does show partner coverage for Nebraska.

https://www.airvoicewireless.com/CoverageMap.aspx
https://www.consumercellular.com/Home/CoverageMap
http://www.att.com/maps/wireless-coverage.html

Perhaps things have changed such you last looked.
I see that you are correct about the AirVoice and CC coverage maps. I know the map is accurate for AirVoice since I've been in some of those non-coverage areas and have been, well, non-covered for sure. AT&T GoPhone provides service on their prepaid network (which includes NO roaming - I was told this by AT&T and it is discussed on HowardForums as well). Nonetheless, the GoPhone coverage map also shows the "partner" areas shaded in as if there were roaming. It is devilishly difficult to get accurate information about this -- I wonder why???

I don't know from experience if CC provides roaming onto partner networks in areas not covered by AT&T Prepaid, but I'm skeptical. Does it make sense to you that they would provide roaming when AT&T itself doesn't? AT&T are the guys selling the airtime to these MVNOs. Would they undercut their own Prepaid service? I suppose stranger things have happened, but this would be right up the list somewhere. I guess we'll have to wait to hear from a CC user who has driven through Nebraska or along I-40 in eastern New Mexico.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

vkfu
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by vkfu » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:56 pm

My guess is that some AT&T MVNOs allow roaming whereas others do not. Like AirVoice, AIOWireless does not have Nebraska coverage, but StraightTalk does.

It looks like AT&T's "GoPhone Pick Your Plan" has roaming whereas "GoPhone Pay As You Go" does not.

We just switched to ConsumerCellular this weekend. If we ever visit Nebraska I can report on whether we have coverage.

Browser
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by Browser » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:16 pm

vkfu wrote:My guess is that some AT&T MVNOs allow roaming whereas others do not. Like AirVoice, AIOWireless does not have Nebraska coverage, but StraightTalk does.

It looks like AT&T's "GoPhone Pick Your Plan" has roaming whereas "GoPhone Pay As You Go" does not.

We just switched to ConsumerCellular this weekend. If we ever visit Nebraska I can report on whether we have coverage.
Searching HowardForums, all the opinion I've seen is that no AT&T MVNOs offer off-network roaming except Net10 (StraightTalk) and that is more limited than the roaming included in contract plans. And I don't know if the data roaming is any good with them. I plan to try a StraightTalk AT&T SIM in my phone next time I'm travelling through areas that were dead on AirVoice. I travel from the Midwest to Arizona, so will be heading through the long stretch on I-40 where I had no signal for a couple hundred miles -- see what happens. It's not just the dead areas I don't like. When travelling my data speed often drops to 2G, and that is useless for Nav and Radar and other handy travelling apps. This has been enough of nuisance that I've often thought of going to a contract -- but I'm not quite that crazy yet ($90+ per month -- you've got to be kidding me).
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

Browser
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Re: If I unlock iPhone 4s, what next?

Post by Browser » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:02 am

Just visited an AT&T store and asked about coverage for GoPhone. Was told that the coverage does not include "Partner" areas. This confirms what I understood previously, and is a better description of the coverage than "roaming". Roaming can refers to both in-network and out-network. It's clear to me that "Partner" areas refer to out-network roaming. Based on discussions in HowardForums, I'm virtually sure that no AT&T MVNOs include coverage in AT&T Partner areas. Apparently the StraightTalk AT&T SIM does include some out-network coverage based on Net10's agreements with some smaller regional network providers, but they are the only one's who do so. That program costs $45 per month.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

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