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Old Feb 7, 2013, 06:45 PM   #1
jimtron
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switching from AT&T to Virgin, need help

I've got an iPhone 4 with AT&T service--2 yr contract ending this June. I'd like to buy an iPhone 4S from Virgin Mobile ($449 for 16gb model; $30/month service after prepay discount; no contract).

I might wait the contract out but would prefer to break it and pay ETF since Virgin will be much cheaper (and I can sell the 4). I requested an unlock from AT&T via their web form and got declined.

My main question is how to port the number as seamlessly (quickly and cheaply) as possible--I don't want to screw that with the ETF etc. Any advice on that? I know there's an ETF fee, but is there also a porting fee?
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 07:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
I've got an iPhone 4 with AT&T service--2 yr contract ending this June. I'd like to buy an iPhone 4S from Virgin Mobile ($449 for 16gb model; $30/month service after prepay discount; no contract).

I might wait the contract out but would prefer to break it and pay ETF since Virgin will be much cheaper (and I can sell the 4). I requested an unlock from AT&T via their web form and got declined.

My main question is how to port the number as seamlessly (quickly and cheaply) as possible--I don't want to screw that with the ETF etc. Any advice on that? I know there's an ETF fee, but is there also a porting fee?
You will hate the data speeds on Virgin. They use Sprint towers. Their 3G is like Edge on AT&T. I would re-think that switch.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 07:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
I've got an iPhone 4 with AT&T service--2 yr contract ending this June. I'd like to buy an iPhone 4S from Virgin Mobile ($449 for 16gb model; $30/month service after prepay discount; no contract).

I might wait the contract out but would prefer to break it and pay ETF since Virgin will be much cheaper (and I can sell the 4). I requested an unlock from AT&T via their web form and got declined.
With less than half a year left in your contract maybe you can try requesting an unlock again, this time through a phone call. Good luck!
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 07:52 PM   #4
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Thanks Jent and Baggio. Baggio, according to reviews I've read about service in Chicago, AT&T is rated last. Are you sure Sprint is significantly worse than AT&T? I rarely talk on the phone, and usually am on Wifi when using data.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 07:59 PM   #5
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Sprint is actually pretty good in the Chicago area, so I don't think you'll have too much of an issue with Virgin. Now obviously, it will probably be slower than AT&T. But it shouldn't be too bad with loading web pages emails and so on. Downloading apps... ehhh you might have a problem. But Sprint's market is actually pretty decent in Chicago. In fact, AT&T is quite bad there due to the low amount of spectrum they have available.

So all you have to do is sign up with Virgin and port your number. AT&T will know, and you will be charged your ETF along with whatever pending charges you have. Plug iPhone 4 into iTunes, back it up, plug 4S and resync data. Once you pay the last AT&T bill, you'll be able to ask for an unlock and sell the phone.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 08:10 PM   #6
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Sprint is actually pretty good in the Chicago area, so I don't think you'll have too much of an issue with Virgin. Now obviously, it will probably be slower than AT&T. But it shouldn't be too bad with loading web pages emails and so on. Downloading apps... ehhh you might have a problem. But Sprint's market is actually pretty decent in Chicago. In fact, AT&T is quite bad there due to the low amount of spectrum they have available.

So all you have to do is sign up with Virgin and port your number. AT&T will know, and you will be charged your ETF along with whatever pending charges you have. Plug iPhone 4 into iTunes, back it up, plug 4S and resync data. Once you pay the last AT&T bill, you'll be able to ask for an unlock and sell the phone.
Thanks for the info. So no charge for porting the number (other than ETF)?
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 08:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info. So no charge for porting the number (other than ETF)?
Yes sir !
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 08:29 PM   #8
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Regarding what Baggio said, this is depressing (regarding data speed):

http://www.rootmetrics.com/compare-c...cago-may-2012/
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 08:44 PM   #9
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Thanks Jent and Baggio. Baggio, according to reviews I've read about service in Chicago, AT&T is rated last. Are you sure Sprint is significantly worse than AT&T? I rarely talk on the phone, and usually am on Wifi when using data.
I have been to Chicago and I have AT&T and I didn't have issues. I have been going on numerous posts regarding speed tests on Sprint. YMMV

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1536785

Obviously, ignore LTE tests as the 4S doesn't have LTE.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 09:08 PM   #10
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Ugh, and I just found this:


Quote:
Sprint's network speeds clocked in last in every city but New York, and it wasn't even close.

Sprint's 3G network offered speeds of less than a third of AT&T's network in Chicago and Los Angeles.
http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/30/tech...pare/index.htm

Maybe I'll stick with AT&T--I don't like them, and that Virgin Mobile deal would have been sweet--but Sprint's performance does look dismal. Verizon looks good but costs more than AT&T; I'm trying to keep costs down to a minimum. There's the Walmart deal which IIRC uses AT&T's network, but I'd really rather not give them my money.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 09:24 PM   #11
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Ugh, and I just found this:



http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/30/tech...pare/index.htm

Maybe I'll stick with AT&T--I don't like them, and that Virgin Mobile deal would have been sweet--but Sprint's performance does look dismal. Verizon looks good but costs more than AT&T; I'm trying to keep costs down to a minimum. There's the Walmart deal which IIRC uses AT&T's network, but I'd really rather not give them my money.
You could switch to Net 10. You can get a SIM activation kit from Best Buy. The kit includes AT&T and T-mobile versions. For $50 you get unlimited minutes, texts and data. You could use AT&T fora cheaper out of pocket expenses. Only thing it doesn't have is LTE, but the 4S doesn't have LTE. You could even use your current iPhone on Net 10.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 09:29 PM   #12
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You could switch to Net 10. You can get a SIM activation kit from Best Buy. The kit includes AT&T and T-mobile versions. For $50 you get unlimited minutes, texts and data. You could use AT&T fora cheaper out of pocket expenses. Only thing it doesn't have is LTE, but the 4S doesn't have LTE. You could even use your current iPhone on Net 10.
$50 sounds good...do you know if my current iPhone 4 (not S) would work as a BYOD with Net 10?
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 09:41 PM   #13
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$50 sounds good...do you know if my current iPhone 4 (not S) would work as a BYOD with Net 10?
Yes, it should work.

Here is link to get the SIM pack.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/NET10+-+...ards&cp=1&lp=1

Go here on your phone on wifi to set up the APN settings.

http://m.net10sim.com/view/page/p/89...-data-settings

Last edited by Baggio; Feb 7, 2013 at 09:52 PM.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 09:51 PM   #14
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Ugh, and I just found this:



http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/30/tech...pare/index.htm

Maybe I'll stick with AT&T--I don't like them, and that Virgin Mobile deal would have been sweet--but Sprint's performance does look dismal. Verizon looks good but costs more than AT&T; I'm trying to keep costs down to a minimum. There's the Walmart deal which IIRC uses AT&T's network, but I'd really rather not give them my money.

If I may offer my advice, I'd suggest checking to see if there is a Page Plus dealer in your area. PP uses Verizon's network, piggy backing so to speak, and so has comparable coverage to Verizon. A PP dealer can flash in a 4s to operate on PP and they offer a $55/month plan that's unlimited text, talk and 2gb data. I paid $60 to have the phone connected/flashed, and went with the $40/ month plan because I don't need much data. For your consideration. It doesn't screw up the iPhone, either. It's not a hack or software mod, so the phone can be used on Verizon at a later time. I suggest this, even though you're probably thinking, "I've never heard of Page Plus," because PP is based in the mid west and according to their coverage map, Chicago is covered. And yes, I know, I can be long winded. What you got was my abbreviated thoughts.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:09 PM   #15
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Have you looked at straight talk? Owned by trac phone and they use Verizon's towers so you should have decent speed and coverage. If you bring your own phone and use AT&T or t mobiles network. Unlimited texting, calls, and 2gb soft cap for $45
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:10 PM   #16
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Yes, it should work.

Here is link to get the SIM pack.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/NET10+-+...ards&cp=1&lp=1

Go here on your phone on wifi to set up the APN settings.

http://m.net10sim.com/view/page/p/89...-data-settings
Hmmm, the Best Buy link says AT&T is OK, but at the Net10 site, it says TMobile only or unlocked GSM phone: http://www.net10sim.com/

Also looks like Net10 must be the same company as Straight Talk:
http://www.straighttalksim.com/

But this thread says a locked AT&T iPhone will work:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1520419


...although that last thread has a link to this Straight Talk forum thread where there seem to be folks with problems:
http://www.straighttalkwirelessforum...rum.php?f=6792
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
I've got an iPhone 4 with AT&T service--2 yr contract ending this June. I'd like to buy an iPhone 4S from Virgin Mobile ($449 for 16gb model; $30/month service after prepay discount; no contract).

I might wait the contract out but would prefer to break it and pay ETF since Virgin will be much cheaper (and I can sell the 4). I requested an unlock from AT&T via their web form and got declined.

My main question is how to port the number as seamlessly (quickly and cheaply) as possible--I don't want to screw that with the ETF etc. Any advice on that? I know there's an ETF fee, but is there also a porting fee?
I'd highly recommend you stick to AT&T. Like many other posters have said, Virgin uses Sprint's network and hence their service will be horrible.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:14 PM   #18
jimtron
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If I may offer my advice, I'd suggest checking to see if there is a Page Plus dealer in your area. PP uses Verizon's network, piggy backing so to speak, and so has comparable coverage to Verizon. A PP dealer can flash in a 4s to operate on PP and they offer a $55/month plan that's unlimited text, talk and 2gb data. I paid $60 to have the phone connected/flashed, and went with the $40/ month plan because I don't need much data. For your consideration. It doesn't screw up the iPhone, either. It's not a hack or software mod, so the phone can be used on Verizon at a later time. I suggest this, even though you're probably thinking, "I've never heard of Page Plus," because PP is based in the mid west and according to their coverage map, Chicago is covered. And yes, I know, I can be long winded. What you got was my abbreviated thoughts.
Thanks for the suggestion. Looks like you have to buy your phone from PP--is that right? Phone selection not too good--if possible, I'd prefer an iPhone, although wouldn't rule out an Android. https://www.pagepluscellular.com/Onl...re/Phones.aspx
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:15 PM   #19
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I've got an iPhone 4 with AT&T service--2 yr contract ending this June. I'd like to buy an iPhone 4S from Virgin Mobile ($449 for 16gb model; $30/month service after prepay discount; no contract)
After you port to another provider and pay your ETF AT&T will unlock your iPhone 4.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:16 PM   #20
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I'd highly recommend you stick to AT&T. Like many other posters have said, Virgin uses Sprint's network and hence their service will be horrible.
Yeah, I'm starting to think that's the best way to go...still investigating non-contract alternatives though.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:19 PM   #21
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Yeah, I'm starting to think that's the best way to go...still investigating non-contract alternatives though.
Sprint is actually really good in a lot of areas.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:27 PM   #22
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Sprint is actually really good in a lot of areas.
Not in Chicago apparently, where I live (see posts 8 and 10). Too bad, I'd love to be paying $30/month.

----------

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After you port to another provider and pay your ETF AT&T will unlock your iPhone 4.
Was still wondering about that, thanks.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:45 PM   #23
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Hmmm, the Best Buy link says AT&T is OK, but at the Net10 site, it says TMobile only or unlocked GSM phone: http://www.net10sim.com/

Also looks like Net10 must be the same company as Straight Talk:
http://www.straighttalksim.com/

But this thread says a locked AT&T iPhone will work:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1520419


...although that last thread has a link to this Straight Talk forum thread where there seem to be folks with problems:
http://www.straighttalkwirelessforum...rum.php?f=6792
Net 10 and Straight Talk are only selling the T-Mobile SIMs. Best Buy (Net 10) and Walmart (Straight Talk) still sell the AT&T SIMs. Just look at the Best Buy link I posted.

Straight Talk also has a Verizon iPhone that can be bought at Walmart and still get the $45 unlimited plan. But you would have to buy a pho e from Walmart. You can't BYOD.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:55 PM   #24
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Net 10 and Straight Talk are only selling the T-Mobile SIMs. Best Buy (Net 10) and Walmart (Straight Talk) still sell the AT&T SIMs. Just look at the Best Buy link I posted.

Straight Talk also has a Verizon iPhone that can be bought at Walmart and still get the $45 unlimited plan. But you would have to buy a pho e from Walmart. You can't BYOD.
I see the Best Buy link...so if I cancelled my AT&T contract and paid the ETF, then they'll unlock the phone and for sure I can use it with Net10 if I buy the BB sim card?
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:57 PM   #25
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I see the Best Buy link...so if I cancelled my AT&T contract and paid the ETF, then they'll unlock the phone and for sure I can use it with Net10 if I buy the BB sim card?
Theoretically possible. Call both carriers to confirm it'll work in practice.
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