Random ramblings with a Mac bias.

Of SIM cards and iPhone 3Gs

Posted by Anticitizen on August 24, 2008

As I wrote in my previous post, I had time to mess with an iPhone 3G. However, this time, I got some more extensive time to screw with it. This time, I mainly sought out to verify some of the claims floating in the blogosphere, mainly concerning the iPhone 3G and dealing with other SIM cards.

So as I got the iPhone 3G, I jammed the clip from my work’s nametag into the hole in the top of the phone, ejected the SIM, and popped my own in. I waited for the phone to start up…

Lo and behold, it did. The first time I attempted to make a call, it failed. Second time, I was able to call my other phone with no problem. Visual voicemail didn’t work, as usual.

Now, this came as a surprise to me since AT&T told me that iPhone 3Gs will lock if used with a SIM that the phone wasn’t activated with. Apple said the same exact thing. My guess is that they are just trained to discourage people from taking advantage of this loophole in their subsidization scheme.

Note: This loophole works for pretty much ANY phone on AT&T…open a new line, get a phone at contract price, only pay $10 a month. You ARE stuck in a 2 year commitment, but it’s a small price to pay for a new phone at a third of the price.

Though to their credit, these were retail employees I asked. They are pretty low in the food chain as far as things like this, I’d guess. They are sort of correct, but only referring to the first-generation iPhone, which did require an iPhone-specific SIM to work. Otherwise it’d lock.

Earlier this week, I contacted AT&T customer support (which was awesome, but that’s for another post), and one of my questions was “Okay, I got an iPhone from my ex, who said she didn’t like it…What do I do?”

She didn’t seem to be surprised at all. Didn’t say “the iPhone will lock!” or anything like that.

So that implies to me that the higher-ups know the iPhone 3G will accept any AT&T SIM. It’s carrier locked, not SIM locked.

What’s better is that my data plan (MEdia Max Unlimited) also covers the iPhone. MMU gives me unlimited texting, AND unlimited data. For $35. Not too shabby, considering that the iPhone 3G data plan is $30 and the unlimited texting for iPhone costs $20. The reason most iPhone users can’t get to it is it’s completely hidden in the online system if you have the iPhone. It doesn’t show you ALL the data plans, only the ones that are iPhone specific.

UPDATE: If you use the iPhone 3G on MMU for too long, AT&T WILL text/email you saying your data plan is ineligible for the iPhone 3G. You can continue on if you wish, but I didn’t. You have been warned. I will post a screencap of the email I got later.

Now, don’t entirely trust my claims, because if AT&T can tell iPhone data from regular phone data, and decide to charge me for said difference, then I’ll likely get hosed. But my AT&T account seems to be reporting that I’ve used 17MB out of Unlimited, so it seems to be taking.

Due to these developments, I’ll be having my own iPhone 3G within the week. Perfect timing, too, as my phone just gave up the ghost.

DO NOTE: The iPhone DOES NOT support SIM contacts. So if you had contacts saved to your SIM and you are hoping the iPhone will import or export to/from the SIM, you are out of luck.


4 Responses to “Of SIM cards and iPhone 3Gs”

  1. johnmc. said

    Just a note on the SIM contacts thing – Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Import SIM Contacts. I haven’t tried it on the 3G, but it worked just fine on the original, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

  2. […] Posted by Anticitizen on September 18, 2008 I guess I am very wrong on when I said that the iPhone 3G will work with the Media Max Unlimited data/text plan in my piece a few weeks back: […]

  3. я считаю: спасибо!

  4. Garry Jen said

    I like blogs like this one, I am sure you put an effort on it to keep it up. Nice post, grazie mille .

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