For me, really, unlimited data is enough; because we have Google Voice and I live in San Francisco ~~~
But, right now, I don't have a high-end GSM in hand, and I have to use some CDMA solution, where PagePlus 50M per month comes in ...
Still, I am very attempted by the approach and will try it out when I got one suitable device. The drawback of the following method is that I cannot make calls when I am in the mountain, or area where there is no 3G signal.
Although the how-to below is written for iPhone, it will work for any Android phone for sure, because I can change APN setting easily in Android powered smartphones.
... the new GV app does push notifications so SMS messages are perfect now. This all works well over 3G, so I set out to find a way to get a data only plan with 3G for my iphone. Soon I found a way using an AT&T sim card and signing up for an iPad data plan. Please let me know how it works.
This guide will give you everything you need to activate an iPhone with an AT&T data-only plan and show you how to get unlimited incoming and outgoing SMS messages and calls using Google Voice. This guide will effectively turn your iphone into a complete VOIP phone and gives you unlimited (well, 2GB) of data. This can also be done using an Android device in place of the iPhone using sipdroid and the official GV app. An iPod touch can be used but will be restricted to wifi areas.
PLEASE NOTE: The AT&T iPad plan is ONLY meant to be used on the iPad. Use on other devices MAY violate the AT&T TOS and is done AT YOUR OWN RISK!
- Eliminates coverage issues (as long as you have wifi in said areas)
- Free international roaming (if you purchase a local sim card with data)
- Voice quality (really only noticeable over EDGE)
- No equipment discounts
- You will lose your current cell phone number (but NEVER have to switch it again)
What you will need:
- An iPhone (cail comment, any GSM smartphone will do)
- A new, unactivated microsim card (can be bought from AT&T for $15)
- The IMEI for any iPad 3G (you must legally own the device)
STEP ONE: Get Your Data Plan
* This information is copied almost verbatim from a post on Modmyi.com
1. Using the Apple Safari browser (www.apple.com/safari) go to your preferences and enable the develop menu under the advanced tab
2. In the develop menu, go to "user agent" and select "...ipad". Click the develop menu again and select "disable styles"
3. Type the following web address into Safari https://dcp2.att.com/OEPClient/openPage?IMEI=XXXX&ICCID=YYYY being sure to replace the "YYYY" with the number printed on your new sim card and the "XXXX" with the iPad 3G IMEI.
4. Follow the instructions to activate your new SIM card
* the APN editing guide is taken from another page
5. On your iphone (connected through wifi) go to http://unlockit.co.nz
6. Tap custom APN and enter "Broadband" (no quotes) in the APN field then tap "create profile"
7. Tap install followed by install now.
8. Insert the sim card into your iphone.
STEP TWO: Create your Google Voice Account
1. If you already have a Gmail account, login and skip to step 2. Create your Gmail account by going to http://www.gmail.com/ and following the following instructions.
- Click on Sign up for Gmail and enter your name and desired username.
- Click on Check availability to see if your desired handle is available.
- Create a secure password and enter it twice in the appropriate text fields. Select or deselect the Remember me on this computer checkbox depending on whether you're using your personal or a shared computer.
- Select a security question from the pull-down menu and enter the answer. This allows you to reset your Gmail password should you forget it.
- In the Secondary email field, input another email address. This will be used to verify your Gmail account and can also be used if you forget your password later.
- Select your location and type in the word verification.
- Read the terms of service and if they are agreeable, click on Accept.
2. Make sure you are currently logged into your Gmail account and go to https://www.google.com/voice . Note the "https://" this will make sure you can still access the site even if your ISP has attempted to block it. This will launch the Google Voice account creation wizard. Fill in the requested information in each step.
3. When Google voice asks you to enter a forwarding number to complete signup enter any phone number you have access to and click "call"
4. Your phone should begin to ring. Answer the call and type the two digit code from your Google Voice account page. Your registration is now complete.
5. Open your gmail account and make at least one phone call using the voice and video chat plugin for gmail (click the link to "call a phone" on the left side of your inbox).
6. Go back to Google voice and click settings > voice settings and make sure google chat is checked
STEP THREE: Making it work on your iPhone
1. Download the official Google Voice app from the app store
2. Open the app and put in your google voice account credentials. Tap to allow push notifications
3. Download the talkatone app from the app store
4. Open the app and enter your google voice credentials. Double tap "contacts" at the top of the screen and select "Google Voice VOIP call"
5. Type any phone number or select a contact and click call
6. From now on all SMS messages will be pushed to your device and you can reply using the GV app. All calls will popup an alert from talkatone, tap the alert to answer
NOTE: if you aren't afraid of jailbreaking, JB your iphone and get SMS GV Extension. This extension will make all of your SMS messages work through the normal SMS app.
Edit: just a few updates that are hidden deeper in this thread
update 1: You will get the best results by locking your iphone to 3G only mode as detailed here. This will make your iphone stop switching to EDGE when 3G is weak (but it does require a jailbreak). This will save battery (the switching and searching takes a lot out of the phone) and ensure you can always get calls as long as you have a signal.
update 2: You DO NOT need to jailbreak or unlock your iphone to do this. This hack will work on a completely virgin iphone of any generation. Keep in mind that the iphone 3G does not allow multitasking so you won't be able to receive calls in the background (unless it is jailbroken). For best results use an iphone 3GS or iphone 4.
update 3: Users who absolutely need 100% reliable calling should take caution and test this out first. This would probably not be the best choice for a business line but if you mainly use data and texting (like myself and most). This will pretty much work for you 100% even over edge or GPRS. I will say that again: SMS will ALWAYS work as long as you have data no matter how slow (each message is about 200 bytes). The calls will only work over 3G or wifi. 911 calls on the iPhone will always work so emergency use is still intact and usage at home (assuming you have wifi) and in your home city (assuming you have 3G) will work fine. If you still need a more reliable solution, follow this guide:
1) purchase a gophone SIM card from AT&T (you can port your number if you have an old one you want to keep), add some money to it (I recommend $100 so it will be active for a full year) and put yourself on the $2/day unlimited plan.
2) purchase one of these adapters from DealExtreme, iphone 4, iphone 3G/3GS
3) Insert your ipad sim into slot one and your gophone sim in slot two. Insert the device into your iphone.
4) Add your gophone number to your google voice account.
4) Whenever you find yourself without 3G coverage for an extended time type "002" into the keypad on your iphone or swap the sims using the menu in your phones settings. You will now be able to receive and reply to any SMS messages sent to your Google voice account via the regular SMS app and all calls will ring on the default phone app. To make a call, dial your google voice number and press "2" enter the number you want to call and press "#." Alternatively you can dial the number directly but your gophone number will show instead of your GV number. $2 will be deducted from your prepaid balance ONLY if you make/receive a call or SEND an SMS and the rest of your calls and SMS messages for that day are free. Incoming SMS is free and does not trigger the $2 daily fee.
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