I was excited to learn that I could cancel my expensive AT&T plan and use my iPhone 4 with
StraightTalk. $45 per month for unlimited talk, text, and voice simply can't be beat. So I
ordered the micro-SIM card from StraightTalk (I'll just say ST from now on), and was hoping
I'd be in business. My excitement quickly turned to frustration, though. The voice worked fine
(I could send/receive calls), but that was it. Texting didn't work. Data/Internet didn't work.
I would always receive this infernal error: "Could not activate cellular data network. PDP
authentication failure". Sound familiar?
I called ST support (Phone: 877-430-2355, or their forum) and they were both useless and helpless. Amazingly they told me to call Apple.
That's terrible advice and won't do you any good. I contacted Apple via a forum, and they basically
told me they don't support ST and that I should drop dead. So I contacted ST literally dozens of times
over the next 3 months and they were astoundingly unhelpful. Every agent gave me different info. One
agent even aggressively told me that I *must* get my phone jailbroken in order for texting and data
to work. That turned out to be completely false. Anyway, in summary, I spent 3 months of frustration
trying to get my AT&T iPhone 4 to work with texting and data. I finally got it, and here are the
steps and important points:
- Only an UNLOCKED AT&T iphone 4 will work with ST if you want texting and data to work (not just phone).
- AT&T (800-331-0500) will not unlock your phone unless your contract with them has expired. If itís expired, just call them and ask them to unlock it (they may take a few days, then they'll email you instructions). They give you instructions. They have to do something on their side, then you have to backup and restore with iTunes, and youíre done.
- After this occurs, you may not be able to receive phone calls, and your text and data wonít work yet. But AT&T has done their part; no need to call them again.
- Install the Unlockit profile from http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/. Go to their site (from your iPhone with wireless) and install the APN profile for StraightTalk.
- Try your phone and see if the 3 functionalities all work. They probably wonít; mine didnít yet.
- Call ST and ask to be transferred to the BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) department. Tell them your iphone has just been unlocked and now you canít receive calls (if thatís the case), and also canít do texting or data. They should be able to do something on their end, and theyíll tell you to restart your phone. At this point everything should work again. If it still doesnít work, hang up and call back ST. Chances are you got somebody that didnít know how to handle this correctly. Repeat this step. Hopefully it will work at this point.
In summary, there are 3 critical pieces that must be in place for an AT&T iPhone 4 to work in all respects with ST:
- Phone must be UNLOCKED by AT&T. This does *not* mean jailbroken. Your phone does *not* need to be jailbroken.
- Phone must have the UNLOCKIT APN profile installed, from their website.
- You *might* need to call ST and have them do whatever magic they do (including you rebooting your phone when they say to) so that your phone has the 3 functionalities at this point. This step is a bit fuzzy, I realize. Iím just not sure if it will be required by everyone, or if it was just required by me.
I had to go through a lot of frustration for 3 months to figure this out, get it working, and then come back and post this info.
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