T-Mobile: Phone, text OK, but no internetMarch 6, 2012
I’m currently in the US for a conference. Using my Australian cell phone while traveling is just asking for a HUGE bill, so I’ve purchased a T-Mobile pre-paid SIM with unlimited phone, unlimited text and data — all for just a couple of dollars a day.
I went to a T-Mobile store (Grapevine Mills Mall, TX), and the very helpful Robert got me sorted with the new SIM, getting it activated, and checking that it all worked. Phone worked – check; text worked – check; data worked – nope. He called the Support people and they said it should work within about two hours (something about ‘provisioning’). Data is the main reason I wanted a US SIM as I don’t make/receive a lot of calls/texts. Anyhow, about four hours later, I still couldn’t access the internet from my phone. I called Robert again (he’d told me to, if there were still problems), and after making a quick call, he suggested I call T-Mobile’s tech support as there were some settings I’d probably have to change on my phone to get the internet.
I got through to Travis in T-Mobile support and he was MOST helpful. As I couldn’t change the settings while I was talking to him on the phone, he called me back at my hotel and walked me through it all. All up, I guess I was on the phone with him for about 30 minutes and I never felt pressured or hurried.
It seems when you put in a SIM from another carrier, you have to change something called the APN settings. Who knew?
So for future reference for myself in case I use a T-Mobile SIM again when I’m in the US, here’s what I had to do on my unlocked Telstra Android phone (HTC Sensation) to get internet access:
- Settings > Wireless & Networks.
- Make sure WiFi is turned OFF.
- Select Mobile Networks (listed below Mobile Network).
- Turn Data Roaming ON.
- Make sure Enable Always-on mobile data is ON (it was for me, by default).
- Select Access Point Names (aka APN).
- Tap the menu icon and select New APN.
- Complete these details (NOTE: This is for T-Mobile only):
- Name: tmobile (or whatever name you want to give it that you’ll remember)
- APN: epc.tmobile.com
- Proxy: 216.155.165.050
- Port: 8080
- Leave the other settings as they are until you get to…
- MMSC: http://mms.msg.eng.t-mobile.com/mms/wapenc
- MMSC proxy: 216.155.165.050
- MMSC port: 8080
- Leave the remaining settings as they are.
- Tap the menu icon and then tap Save.
- Try opening something like Google.com — it worked for me!
Of course, when I get back to Australia and put in my Telstra SIM, I’m going to have to change that APN setting. Travis said all *should* need to do is select Reset to Default (at the Step 7 point above). Here’s hoping… otherwise I’ll have to talk to Telstra’s Support and previous experience tells me that this is NOT something I want to do. Telstra could learn a lot from T-Mobile in that regard.
Update: When I got back to Australia, I removed the T-Mobile SIM and replaced it with my Telstra SIM. The APN was automatically reset to the Telstra settings and I didn’t need to do anything! I could call, text and search the internet without changing anything. Nice.
[Link last checked March 2012]