MMS and Data Working on Straight Talk After iOS 7.0.3 Update – TFW Carrier Update

tfwI just updated my iPhone 4s to iOS 7.0.3 and was a little worried about losing data or picture messaging. I brought my out of contract iPhone from AT&T to Straight Talk less than two weeks ago and I didn’t want to go through setting mms again using the SIM swap method. I’m glad to report that everything seems to be A-ok. Both mms and data are working as they should after the upgrade.

After rebooting, I was given an option to update the phone’s “carrier settings”. Upon doing so, my status bar changed from “HOME” to “TFW”. Also “Network” and “Carrier” now read “TFW” instead of “AT&T” (it’s great not to see the AT&T name on my phone anymore). For those of you who might be wondering what TFW means, it stands for TracFone Wireless. Tracfone offers services under various brands including Straight Talk, NET10 Wireless and Simple Mobile.

I’m curious to know if somebody has any problems to report after the 7.0.3/carrier update? Please leave me a comment if you are experiencing any issues.

Troubleshooting:

Some people with the old Straight Talk SIM card (the one using att.mvno APN settings) are reporting they’ve lost mms and data after the TFW carrier update. In the other hand, people with the new Straight Talk SIM (using tfdata APN settings) are reporting both mms and data work without doing anything else. This means NO MORE SIM SWAPS required with the new carrier update for people with the new Straight Talk SIM card. Great news!

If you lost data and/or mms after the carrier update, this is what you’ll need to do:

1. Double check you are on iOS 7.0.3 and carrier update TFW 15.6.
2. Call Straight Talk customer service at 1-800-299-7784 from a second phone line (you’ll need to reboot your phone during the process).
3. Let them know you are having technical problems and that your SIM needs to be provisioned for the new tfdata settings. Straight Talk will provision your account to accept the new carrier settings. MMS and data should start working again after this (if the customer service representative doesn’t seem to know what you are talking about, ask to be transferred to a more technical department).

If you don’t feel like calling customer service, here are two other options:

– For $6.99 you can order a new AT&T SIM from Straight Talk or Walmart, these will use the new tfdata APN. You can then activate the new SIM online or by phone.
or
– SIM swap and change back to the old att.mvno APN settings.

I recommend either calling Straight Talk or getting the new SIM. It looks like they have finally fixed the bug that caused data and MMS not to work with Straight Talk iPhones and these two options offer a permanent solution.

Instructions on How to Switch Your iPhone from ATT to Straight Talk

straight-talkI’ve been an unhappy AT&T customer for years and I have decided it is time for me to leave. Paying more than $200 a month for a two iPhone family plan with limited minutes is just ridiculous. Gladly, there are now other options. I’ll be saving 50% or more on my cell phone bill so I’ll definitely give Straight Talk a chance and see what they have to offer. I can always leave if it does not work out, but whatever happens, I will not do business with AT&T again.

I’ll be porting my number and requesting AT&T to unlock my iPhone 4S (the same instructions apply for the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c, read below for more details). I’m not a computer programmer or hacker, so if I can get this thing working, I’m sure you’ll be able to do it as well. I will be updating this post during the following months to report on Straight Talk’s iPhone service, so make sure to check back every now and then to ask questions or post feedback.

My phone: AT&T iPhone 4s (iOS 7.0.2)
Last blog update: October 2013
Straight Talk Service Review: I’ve been on Straight Talk for 10 days and everything is working as expected, I haven’t noticed any difference in service so far.
UPDATE: After updating to iOS 7.0.3, I’m glad to report both data and MMS are working as they should. This means that with the new carrier update provided with iOS 7.0.3, switching your AT&T iPhone to Straight Talk should be a lot easier than it was before. After activation, insert the SIM and you should be ready to go! Read steps 1 & 3 for instructions.

Here are the steps I’ve taken to switch from AT&T to Straight Talk. This is a guideline of what you’ll have to do. If you are thinking about switching or are in the process of doing so, I’m sure you’ll find it helpful. Straight Talk will provide detailed instructions on the activation process.

These are the steps I followed:

  1. I ordered a sim card from Straight Talk. You’ll need an “AT&T compatible SIM”. If you have an iPhone 4 or 4S select a MICRO SIM Card (iPhone 5, 5s and 5c use Nano SIMS, so you’ll need to order the Micro SIM and cut it, or purchase one from eBay like this one that has already been cut for you. iPhone 3GS uses the regular size SIM). You can buy either the “AT&T Compatible Micro SIM + Unlimited Plan” or just the Micro SIM by itself, as you’ll have a chance to pay for the plan with a credit card when you do the activation. Shipping was free and it was delivered in 3 days.
    NOTE: AT&T will NOT pro rate your final bill, so make sure you switch before your new billing cycle starts.
  2. (OPTIONAL) I waited until my AT&T contract ended and requested my iPhone to be unlocked at att.com/deviceunlock/. If you switch companies before your contract ends, AT&T will charge you Early Termination Fees. To request an unlock from AT&T, your phone needs to be out of contract or you should’ve paid early termination fees. You DON’T need to unlock your AT&T iPhone for it to work on Straight Talk, but as of now, you need to unlock it to have picture messaging working (MMS). A few minutes after requesting the unlock, I received an email saying: “We have received your request to unlock your AT&T Mobile device” and later, another email later saying “We have reviewed your request and confirmed that the device may be unlocked. Please allow 24 hours upon receipt of this notification to complete the unlock process“. Check here to read Eligibility Requirements for Unlocking All AT&T Mobile Devices. You will need to restore your phone via iTunes to complete the unlock (make sure to backup your data first).
  3. I followed the instructions on the Straight Talk Activation kit. You’ll be activating your SIM either by phone or online. I did my activation online at www.straighttalk.com/activate. Choose the activation option that fits your needs. If you want to keep the same number you had with AT&T, make sure to select “Activate my Straight Talk Service with a number from another company” (have your AT&T account number ready). After completing the activation request, wait for your current AT&T service to stop (“No Service” status). When your service has been disabled, you can then insert your new Straight Talk SIM. Surprisingly, for me this only took about 10 minutes, though the instructions say activation can take up to 48 hours. Once you have your new SIM installed, your status bar should now display “HOME” instead of “AT&T”. Test your phone by making a phone call. If this works, you are now on Straight Talk.
    NOTE: If you want to port your number, DO NOT call to cancel your AT&T service before activating your Straight Talk SIM. Once the porting process is completed AT&T will automatically cancel your account and send a Final Bill.
  4. I updated my data settings. You need to do this in order to get your data (internet) working. While on Wi-Fi, open Safari and type in iapnupdatetfdata.straighttalk.com. Tap “Install” then tap “Install Now. Enter your pass code if prompted, and tap “Done. At this point exit your browser, turn the Wi-Fi off, and re-boot your phone. With the Wi-Fi off, access Safari to ensure your data connection is working.
  5. Troubleshooting: If online activation didn’t work or if you can’t get data to work, call Straight Talk at 1-800-299-7784 for assistance (you can also post your question here and I’ll do my best to help).
  6. That’s it your’re done unless…you want to enable picture messaging, which I’m sure most of you will. Keep reading.

Enabling MMS/Picture Messaging

This process is a little more involved but it’s doable. It requires you to buy a T-Mobile SIM card to enter the correct data settings for your Straight Talk service. APN settings are “hidden” in AT&T iPhones (’cause they want to keep you as a customer forever), so you need to briefly insert a T-Mobile SIM card in order to access and update the APN settings (not hidden for T-Mobile customers).

Which are the correct APN settings for your iPhone? You can check them here by inputting your SIM’s serial number: www.straighttalk.com/wps/portal/home/support/apn

Here’s a basic guideline of what you’ll need to do. Check the provided links for step by step image/video instructions.

1. For iPhone 4S, order a T-mobile Micro SIM like this one from eBay or purchase one at Target (for iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c purchase a Nano SIM).
2. Remove your Straight Talk SIM and Insert your T-Mobile SIM.
3. Go to: Settings-> Cellular -> Cellular Data Network (or wait for Cellular Data Network to show up and then select Cellular Data Network, this is why you got the T-Mobile SIM for)
4. Go to Home and open Notes.
5. Insert your Straight Talk SIM again. Wait for phone to change from “NO SIM” -> “Searching” -> “HOME”.
6. Double Tap and go back to the Cellular Data Network page.
7. Enter Your Cellular Data Settings. These are the data settings that worked for my iPhone 4s, which are the settings for the newer Straight Talk SIMS:

Leave fields not listed here blank. You might have to re-enter some of the settings again as you’ll see they’ll go back to their default values when you scroll down.

APN tfdata
MMS APN: tfdata
MMSC http://mms-tf.net
MMS Proxy: mms3.tracfone.com:80
MMS Max Message Size: 1048576

8. Go back to Cellular -> Settings. Reboot your phone (Turn OFF then ON).
9. Try sending an image text. If it works, you’re done!

Enabling MMS Links:

Recommended step by step image instructions: smartphonematters.com
Recommended step by step video instructions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEZiVvf2Jh4