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Thread: ST BYOP Program & IPhones: Not Ready for Prime Time

  1. #1
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    ST BYOP Program & IPhones: Not Ready for Prime Time

    StraightTalk's bring-your-own-phone SIM card program isn't suitable for average users wishing to provision an IPhone 4. I base that conclusion on several frustrating hours of phone time with ST over the past two weeks.

    I offer the following observations for those unwary folks contemplating an IPhone 4-to-ST conversion.

    I'm an 18 month ST subscriber with a cherished phone number I wish to keep. Bought a locked/stock IPhone 4 off Craigslist for $200. Ordered a SIM card using ST's http://www.straighttalksim.com website. The card ships by FedEx from a contractor-owned distribution center in suburban Indianapolis where I live.

    You should arrange to have any ST product shipped to your office where you can sign for it personally. Per ST's orders, FedEx will not drop anything on your doorstep unsigned nor permit you to pick it up after work at a nearby FedEx office. No exceptions. No workarounds. No leaving signed doortags.

    To activate your IPhone you first need a $45 refill card. Voice service begins immediately upon activation but data service over a cellular connection does not. To get cellular data service you need to modify the IPhone's APN settings. However, Apple deliberately made these configuration menus invisible to the user. When you ask ST where IPhone's APN settings are located, they respond "We dunno...that's your problem...".

    As reported elsewhere in this forum, the tool for altering APN settings is located on the website of a New Zealand-based app developer named "UnLockIt.co.nz". UnLockIt's APN-modification tool works fine, but you have to download it to your new IPhone using a WiFi connection. Remember, the cellular data feature of your IPhone doesn't work yet.

    Next I deliberately ran out my old phone's service card in a mistaken belief that any remaining time on it would be lost when I ported my old number to the IPhone. Wrong, college boy. The reverse is true: ST will not number port when the donor phone has no time left on its card. So I paid another $45 for a fresh service card for the soon-to-be-off'ed old phone.

    Then the ST rep tells me that she cannot locate my old phone in her data base. When I remind her that my account information appears quite nicely on ST's website, she replies "that doesn't help. The info must appear on my screen, not yours...please call back tomorrow...we might get this corrected by then...".

    BTW, ST does indeed absorb remaining refill card time during a number port process, but it's the time on the receiving phone, not the donor phone. So be prepared to lose your newly-purchased IPhone card time almost the same day you buy it.

    Next day when I call back ST tells me that the receiving IPhone needs a new SIM card in order to be the recipient of a number port. "But you just sent me this SIM card a few days ago! Why must I obtain another one and wait a week to get it?".

    Answer: "Because we said so...we can't number port to a phone unless it gets a new SIM--even if the existing SIM is ours and is barely a week old...". And ST won't order you a new SIM until you open up the IPhone and retrieve the serial number from the existing SIM. The serial number from the envelope that the SIM shipped in is not sufficient.

    So now I'm waiting for a second SIM in a week to arrive from ST's distribution center. I'll need to call back into ST and endure another lengthy interaction with an undertrained agent to perform a process that should have been completed three phone calls ago.

    Please tell me that all of this is worth the money I'm saving. Do I really hate AT&T contracts that much?

  2. #2
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    Sorry you had so many issues.......many folks have made this same transition without any problems. Remember that with any BYOD you are pretty much on your own when it comes to configuring your phone. They provide the settings and it is the user's problem to figure out how to set their phone up. Kinda of the nature of having hundreds of possible devices that people may choose to use with the service.

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    the sim issue is due to at&t. you can only activate a number once per sim. if you have a st number, they won't port until they mail you a new sim. do not activate until you are ready to port at the same time.
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    I also feel for what you have gone through but the majority of those issues are not ST's fault.

    If you buy a locked iPhone, Apple makes it very hard for you to use it on any other carrier but the one you have it locked to. That is why you have to jump through all those hoops from connecting to wifi and using a New Zealand site to configure your iPhone, etc.

    As far as porting a number to an already activated sim card this is a carrier limitation. I have had experience with porting to ST, Tmo Prepaid, Simple Mobile, H2O, Jolt and AirVoice. And with ALL of them you have to have a brand new, not activated sim card in order to port a number to it. All ports take at least up to 24hrs to port if it is a mobile number and up to 7 days if it is a landline.

    Many of these restrictions are artificial ones that the carriers (ATT I'm looking at you) and manufacturers (yes you too Apple) use to lock in customers and make it hard for them to switch.

  5. #5
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    When ordering my e71 I missed the delivery and was able to pick up later at the FedEx shipping center.

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    Also I would like to say that you can go pick up your sim at a distribution center because that is exactly how I got mine. I too missed the delivery and that same day I drove down to the Federal center and signed for and picked up my sim kit.

    Sent from my VTAB1008 using Tapatalk

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    You should have read one of the many ST BYOD threads. If you had, you'd have seen that you can't activate the sim before porting.

    When I ported my moms ST R355c to a ST sim, the remaining service went to the new sim.

    I also don't understand why it's ST's job to know where all the APN menus are located on non ST phones. A simple Google search will pull up that info.

    So, if you can't use Google, I don't think you should get one of these sims.
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    Yes, BYOP is for more advanced users for sure. Which is probably why they are not selling them at Walmart directly.
    It is particularly complex on the iPhone, but on many other devices (Android particularly) it is very, very, easy.

    So I wouldn't blame Straight Talk for it, at least to start. They could train their agents better (Tmobile has specific CSR training for people who want to use the iPhone on their network) but prepaid carriers don't have that luxury. ) You get what you pay for, budget prepaid service means budget service.
    Go GSM! Switch phones on demand.

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    I'll agree with the majority, in that you created most of your own problems. I also agree that it is not ST's responsibility to know how to reprogram every GSM phone on the planet, just because you may choose it.

    However, the iPhone is *such* a common model, and is mentioned so prominently on their web site, that being able to talk you through the process *listed on their web site* is not an unreasonable expectation.

    You did read their web site, right? unlockit.co.nz is listed, clearly, on their site, as part of the instructions for iPhones.

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    I do agree a $15 SIM card shouldn't require FedEx's "Direct Signature" service. While FexEx could be a bit more accommodating with their rules (it is absolutely absurd that they require you physically be present at the delivery address, FedEx sucks), it is still ultimately Straight Talk's fault for requiring that level of signature verification.

    Now in regards to the iPhone, the blame rests entirely on Apple. Most phones allow the user to edit the APN settings. Even the inexpensive Samsung Exhibit II prepaid Android phone can easily be set up for Straight Talk. The iPhone, however, sees the AT&T Straight Talk SIM as AT&T and automatically defaults to the AT&T postpaid APN settings, which are incorrect for Straight Talk. This would be no big deal if the iPhone allowed you to go in and manually change the settings, but Apple decided they know better than you and hides the settings unless you're jailbroken and install an app (TetherMe) to re-enable manual settings.

    A .MobileConfig file generator is a workaround that doesn't allow full APN configuration (MMS doesn't work) and is also a pain if you frequently swap SIMs (most sanely designed GSM phones allow for multiple APN configurations and allow you to simply switch between them). Long story short, it's just Apple being Apple and they're the ones you need to complain to for screwing up the way a GSM phone is supposed to work. Chances are, they'll just say you should be using the phone on one of their 3 supported carriers and have a nice day. Apple sucks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotanmp3 View Post
    I do agree a $15 SIM card shouldn't require FedEx's "Direct Signature" service. While FexEx could be a bit more accommodating with their rules (it is absolutely absurd that they require you physically be present at the delivery address, FedEx sucks), it is still ultimately Straight Talk's fault for requiring that level of signature verification.
    I believe Straight Talk offers USPS mailing, which shouldn't require a signature.

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    Thanks to all of you for replies to my posting. I hope that someone at ST reads these posts.

    ChuckKnight, I did look around ST's and STSIM's web pages looking for detailed instructions on where to find the APN setting menu for IPhone 4, but found none. There was no mention of UnLockIt's app, and I could find none when I re-checked just now.

    Without HoFo's fine postings on BYOP I could not have activated the data feature of my IPhone.

    I think my point (obscured by an excess of pique in my posting) was that ST has engaged a blockbuster new offer with BYOP but with insufficent preparation necessary to make the program work for non-hackers who don't surf HoFo.

    ST should negotiate with UnLockIt for a license to the app and make it available on the STSIM website.

    Owners of off-contract IPhone4s are ST's target market for BYOP. I could make a career of buying used IPhone4s off Craigslist and reselling them with ST SIMs in them.

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    I disagree. ST doesn't promote nor sell the iPhone, so claiming that its "not ready for prime time" isn't really fair. With any plan/program like this (read: super deal / special plan / etc) some of the responsibility for use has to be placed on the end user. Although this is slightly different, I recall having to do all the work to get on the Sprint SERO plan a few years ago - but it was worth my time to save the money. And that was a major national carrier. All of these MVNO's are cutting costs somewhere and from what I've seen its in customer service. I too have been frustrated but I believe it's worth it in the end.

    I hope it works out for you.



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    Last edited by hoppyjr; 03-02-2012 at 04:10 AM.
    Hoppy

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    I see this as you complaining that Craft doesn't give you instructions on how to make grilled cheese on the Craft Singles package.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Mischief View Post
    I see this as you complaining that Craft doesn't give you instructions on how to make grilled cheese on the Craft Singles package.


    And Cears Kraftsman does not provide instructions for your woodworking projects when buying their circular saws.
    (sorry - just could not stop myself)

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