I have a mess of T-Mobile phones, used on prepaid. If I wanted to try out AT&T's service (considering their new $0.10/minute rate), what all would I have to do to get basic enjoyment out of the phone? Here is my checklist:
-Unlock the phone
-Forget about 3G
-Change number for voicemail service ("1" key on the dial pad)
-Change settings for SMS, MMS, and data access (which would require help and/or research)
-Get a new AT&T SIM kit and service
Anything else? Obviously at startup the phone isn't going to say AT&T (big whoop).
It's starting to look like a viable option. Comments welcome.
Another thing: CallingMart's typical seasonal discounts seem to be about equal between T-Mo and AT&T, aren't they? That's a plus too.
Last edited by whacker; 10-08-2010 at 11:24 AM.
Reason: more rambling thoughts
Yes, you've got it right on what to do to switch over. Another thing to check is whether the T-Mo handset is 1900 Mhz only...AT&T runs on both 1900 and 800 Mhz bands so it's better if you use a handset that is at least dual band.
Also don't forget the many MVNO sim chips out there for AT&T and T-Mo. Many have a lower cost per minute on voice, SMS, and international long distance than going directly with the carrier. Though the advantage of going directly with the carrier would be more bells and whistles features, and prepaid international roaming agreements.
Now that I think of it, aren't some of the things I listed, like the voicemail service number and maybe the SMS gateway (if that's what it's called), typically hardcoded on the SIM? Just throwin' that out there. I would manually do whatever was required. Hopefully it wouldn't be difficult to find the MMS & data settings.
Also, my use is strictly domestic U.S. I don't think there's really much serious competition (from the AT&T MVNOs) in the pay-per-minute game now that AT&T has lowered the Simple Rate to $0.10 per minute, unless there are imminent counter moves. I could screw around with H2O's two different minute plans, but that would require a greater initial cash outlay. Red Pocket and the others? Correct me if I'm wrong, but what do they have for a cheap tryout period? The focus is on AT&T's network because I know in my area where they're better than T-Mo (been on T-Mo for years -- no serious complaints).
Voicemail and SMS are normally hard coded on the sim chip, but on some phones you have to go digging in the menus for the access number. However, you can add the voicemail access number as a standard memory number if you want(the "1" speed dial setting you mentioned). Other items (MMS, email, web access) normally need to be added unless the phone setting were flashed by that carrier. In some cases the carrier may be able to push these settings over the air to the handset or may have the handset settings available on their website.
While AT&T has lowered the base rate down to ten cents a minute, there are still a couple of issues. One is the SMS is 20 cents a message unless you buy a message package. Second is international long distance (calling other countries from the US) is very pricey, but a prepaid calling card could reduce the cost. Both are priced lower with resellers. Though advantage of going with AT&T directly would be MMS, data (not available with all resellers) and widespread availability of refill cards.
I have a mess of T-Mobile phones, used on prepaid. Anything else? Obviously at startup the phone isn't going to say AT&T (big whoop).
My unlocked T-Mobile still starts up displaying T-Mobile and then displays AT&T. In addition, T-Mobile phones with MyFavs start up with a transaction that says "You have dialed an illegal short code. This transaction cost $0.25."