Carrier No ETF on AT&T with discontinued Straight Talk AT&T SIM (It works!)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by okwhatev, May 26, 2013.

  1. okwhatev macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    #1
    Yeah, Straight Talk had discontinued the sales of AT&T bring your own phone SIMs from their website for a while, but up to a week ago, you were still able to buy the 3-pack of SIM cards with the $45 service card in certain Wal-Mart supercenters. Now they have been officially replaced with the BYOP CDMA pack which consists of no SIM cards, and just a piece of paper inside that allows a CDMA phone not currently on Verizon's network to be re-activated on Verizon (as well as one month of $45 service). The package says it doesn't work with iPhones or any smartphone that is LTE capable.

    Heard from a friend at Walmart corporate that all supercenters that still had any of the 3-packs had them taken off the shelf. All of this is because of the well-known ETF bug that exists when you port a phone number from AT&T postpaid to AT&T Straight Talk... how you don't get billed the $325 ETF fee. AT&T isn't too happy about this.

    This all seemed too good to be true, so I did my research, learned all I could about what was happening and thought I would give it a shot. I convinced a friend to let me add a line on his account, and left him $325 in cash in case he was issued a bill and I failed in my experiment. Truly, nothing to lose since I needed a new iPhone anyway. I got an Apple refurb model iPhone 5 for just $99 during one of their fire sales. I was thrilled to find out when the package came that it really was an Apple Refurb in every sense of the word. It was brand new, just like the 'replacements' at an Apple Store. Brand new EarPods, complete with case, new cords, new apple stickers, everything still in plastic wrap, and the phone itself physically flawless with all the peel-off plastic still attached. The only thing different then retail was the outer box which was plain white as opposed to the retail box the Black iPhone 5 comes in.

    Anyway, I enjoyed my iPhone 5 for 5 weeks on the 5GB LTE with tethering plan. From my research, I learned that the porting bug only works when you port in the SECOND month of postpaid service. That is, your first whole month of service needs to not only be over, but the first month bill must be finished processing and actually delivered to you. Anyone who's ever had AT&T knows that they have this weird week where your bill goes off into the ether and you can't even check it out until they're done processing it. Anyway, once they've issued you your first bill and your well outside your 30-day grace period and now totally cemented into the 2-year contract, now is when I ported my number using a Straight Talk AT&T NanoSIM I had gotten from ebay. Using Straight Talk's website, I opened an account, chose activate this phone, entered the IMEI serial number of the NanoSIM, chose the third option which is "coming from another service", and entered my AT&T phone number attached to the iPhone 5.

    Now for the confirmation that something REALLY weird is going on here: after about 10 minutes, the service drops from my phone which currently has the postpaid AT&T NanoSIM inside. I eject the SIM and put in the Straight Talk NanoSIM, and configure the APN settings (my phone is jailbroken, and I use tetherMe to force the settings open). Anyhow, the 4G icon pops up and everything is working fine.... but stranger still... although visual voicemail now didn't work, my at&t voicemail password, along with all my voicemails remained setup exactly how it was with at&T. As in, obviously nothing had changed system wise on their end. This is precisely why this porting trick works, on their end the number is active on their system. Why would they send you a $325 cancellation bill when the number is active on their system?

    It's now been 4 months... I've kept my Straight Talk AT&T service current, and have had no problems at all. I had a problem one month with getting throttled, but ever since I started using a VPN service on my iPhone (for $1 a month) I no longer get throttled. I used 9GB last month and average 10/mb sec. I pay about $27 a month for talk/text/data from sellers on ebay selling 3-packs of service cards. Even if these sellers didn't exist it would be $45 a month. There has still been no ETF fee.

    It really works. I'm blown away. The way I see it, it's still a lot of work, technically to have to do to truly take advantage of it, but times are really tough and I took the extra $550 I saved on the iphone 5 and put it towards a new computer that I desperately need after a friend stepped on the screen of my old Macbook. AT&T is still getting their money over the 2 years that the contract spans (I'm assuming if I were to ever let my straight talk at&T service lapse I would be issued the $325 ETF fee instantly) but they are just getting it at much slower rate then the $170 a month bill that I would otherwise be paying.

    Just thought I'd share an awesome way to get around $450 off the cost of a new or used iPhone and that it did work for me. Whatever you have to do to get one of these remaining SIMs on ebay, I'd easily recommend it. I made a video for how to do the SWAP TRICK to edit your APN settings if your phone isn't jailbroken and on iOS 6.1.3 or 6.1.4 in case you're curious.

    http://youtu.be/DeHISkishTs

    At the end of the video is also a speed test, so you can see what kind of speeds I get on Straight Talk 4G HSPA+. For the price, I don't think you can do any better!! Hope this helps some of you!!!
     
  2. okwhatev thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    #2
    anyhow... if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask
     
  3. vikingjunior macrumors 65816

    vikingjunior

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    #3
    Thing is even after 2 years with straight talk you are still going to have a ETF hanging over your head
     
  4. seanbush macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2013
    #4
    wooo

    ok i'm ready to do this. what is the name of the vpn service you use if you don't mind me asking? thanks for the post by the way. i'm really short on cash right now and anything i can do to cut my bills i have to do. had i not seen this post i wouldn't have known about the ETF thing. i'm crossing my fingers hoping it works for me.
     
  5. ajfoster470 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
    #5
    Net10 vs Straighttalk

    I looked at your ebay page, and I'm ready to pull the trigger. I have the beta iOS 7 installed, so I'm wondering if they have a new update to fix this workaround. If that is the case, can you link where you bought a refurb iphone 5 for $100. I really need the AT&T service where I am at, and I need unlimited data. I have 4 iphones in my family plan costing me $260 each month. 2 Iphone 4, a 4s, and an iPhone 5. If I dropped one of these phones from AT&T coverage, would I be able to use your straight talk sims from ebay on one or all? $180/mo sounds much better than $260 plus. Thanks for your response.
     
  6. Brdl04 macrumors regular

    Brdl04

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
    Location:
    the D
    #6
    does this work even if you are past the second month? Lets say 10-12 months in to your ATT contract and want a cheaper plan?
     
  7. seanbush macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2013
    #7
    worked for my about 8 months in on an iphone 5 for AT&T. about a month into my straight talk service now. works the same as my old plan i'm just more careful about my data use now when i'm not on wifi.
     
  8. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #8
    I'd like to know what VPN service you use as well.

    ----------

    From what I understand, by more experienced users over at howardforums, is that your $10/month still gets deducted from the ETF.
     
  9. okwhatev thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    #9
    It really is unlimited data as long as you use a good VPN. For each number you port to straight talk at&t you will need a genuine straight talk at&t sim to port to if you're planning on taking advantage of the ETF bug. and your 2-year contract term will simply continue on from wherever it happens to be. therefore, if you have one year left on a 2-year contract, when you port to straight talk att you'll still be at that same point with one year remaining. after another year had passed, having paid the much lower straight talk at&t fee of $45 a month... you would be free of the ETF threat completely and could go with any carrier you'd wish. By the way, I got my $99 apple refurb iphone 5 from at&t's own site. all their refurb phones are actually apple refurbs (the same ones that the apple store used as replacements) and all inserts and earpods, etc are brand new.

    ----------

    PM me for the VPN. I'd rather not state that in public.

    as for the second statement. that is absolutely correct.

    ----------

    yes of course. people are just eager to do it, and they **** up what is basically a one-shot deal to get it right. my instructions basically describe the minimum amount of time on an account for the trick to work.

    basically, make sure and setup your voicemail password while on postpaid. you'll know it works if your voicemail password remains the exact same after the port has been completed. it means nothing on at&t's system side has changed and you're good to go as long as you keep that ported number active with service.
     
  10. manybreak, Jun 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013

    manybreak macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    #10
    Can't wait to try this st services to see how it is , btw okwhatev check you inbox about the vpn name app :D

    yeah..I'll have to wait lol
     
  11. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #11
    Worked for 2 lines I had with ST, but I just moved them both over to go phone. ST service was just ok, not worth the cheap bill though IMO. Talk was ok, text ok, MMS and Data were a nightmare though, trying to get the APN settings right, having to wait hours to connect to customer service to provision the account correctly, and then a carrier update messes it all up again. Data when it worked was pretty slow.

    So yeah I'll be seeing 2 ETF bills in the mail pretty soon, but I've already resigned myself to 2 go phone plans and what I save off them will buy me a new phone every year at full price.

    FYI the VPN trick is mainly to hide if you are streaming anything such as music or video, which is in their TOS that you cannot do, which is another reason I went with go phone who has no restrictions. Even with a VPN you can still be shut off for using excess data.
     
  12. manybreak, Jun 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013

    manybreak macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    #12
    But with Go phone services , once you go over 2gb of data , does it get throttled or cut off ?
     
  13. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #13
    It gets cut off, you can buy another 1gb for $10.
     
  14. manybreak macrumors newbie

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    Jun 30, 2013
  15. GusHerb macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago / Northwest, IN
    #15
    The "AT&T to ST trick" worked when switching from att postpaid to att tracfone for me. Had 6 months left on the contract. Voicemail stayed the same just like OPs too.
     
  16. ?mac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    #16
    AT&T Straight talk

    I was hoping for some clarification on the process of porting a number from AT&T contract Iphone 5 to Straight talk. I purchased a refurbished Nokia E71 on Ebay and the seller states that the sim card must be activated from the Nokia phone. Is this true? It would seem less complex to cut the sim down to nano size and activete it through the Iphone that I am porting out of AT&T contract. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  17. tardman91 macrumors 6502a

    tardman91

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Tampa Area, FL
    #17
    I wonder if you'd get stuck with the ETF if you cancelled your Straight Talk service? That's the real question.
     
  18. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #18
    Pretty sure you would.
     
  19. okwhatev, Jul 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013

    okwhatev thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    #19
    yes... you definitely get the ETF if this happens. You also get the ETF if you call Straight talk to port your number rather then doing it with the automatic webpage-based system. They probably *flag* AT&T manually per request from them to do so.
     
  20. freediverdude, Jul 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013

    freediverdude macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    #20
    I would be interested in learning what your last bill from AT&T said then. So it must have something about the AT&T account being cancelled, this is your final bill, and so forth.
     
  21. vartanarsen macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    #21
    Me too very interested in Last AT&T Bill.... How can it say last bill and not ask for ETF?
     
  22. seanbush macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2013
    #22
    just got a check from At&t for overpaying on my last month. still no ETF. i had to restore my iphone and went up to 6.1.4 for a few days my texting with non-iphones wasn't working but i got some sort of profile update and now everything but visual voicemail works perfectly but i don't mind calling up to get my voicemail.
     
  23. vartanarsen macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 2, 2010
    #23
    Does the bill say "last bill"?
     
  24. seanbush macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2013
    #24
    no it doesn't say last bill. it says that the plan was removed from the account but the account still exists. Basically what is going on is the account is still active but the plan and number are no longer in the AT&T side of their system. if i were to port the number back into AT&T it would be like i never left. The loophole is that you are still in their system on their network. so if i went back to AT&T in 2 years it should show as my contract was fulfilled.
     
  25. vartanarsen macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    #25
    Cool..do you reckon this will work with an e71 sim or its gotta be st byop AT&T sim?
     

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