Contract Free iPhone 3GS

A week or so back, I purchased a shiny, new iPod Touch 64GB.  I was deciding between the iPod Touch and the Zune HD and the Touch won out for A2DP support (but no AVRCP?!?).  The App store is addictive, and I came across several apps that would be awesome when used with the iPhone GPS and camera.  Long story short, I returned the iPod Touch (to the Apple store) and picked up a contract free iPhone 32GB from BestBuy.  I had looked at the $299 + cancel contract in 31 days, but AT&T wanted a $500 deposit for me to open an account with them; c’mon AT&T- my credit history isn’t THAT bad…

After getting the iPhone home, I popped in an AT&T SIM from another phone and I was able to activate the phone.  The phone and SMS messaging worked properly- but not the data plan.  If I tried to check e-mail or browse the web via 3G I received a message “Could not activate cellular data network: You are not subscribed to a cellular data service”

I could use WiFi for most of the services (and use my G1 with WiFi Tethering for a mobile WiFi solution) so I decided to wait until a jailbreak for the iPhone 3GS with 3.1 firmware is released.

Another co-worker had a similar issue with a jailbroken 3.0 phone, so I decided to do some research and stumbled on a blog that offered a solution by changing the APN.

Two solutions are offered: download the iPhone Configuration Utility or open a website on your iPhone to create a custom APN.  If you use the former option, you will need to email the resulting  ‘.mobileconfig file’ message to your iphone and click the attachment to install.  Visiting the UnlockIt website on the iPhone prompts with a Custom APN screen.


If you are using AT&T, just pull down AT&T in the list and it will populate the other items.  Click ‘Create Profile’ and a ‘.mobileconfig’ file will be created and downloaded to the iPhone.  The ‘Install Profile’ screen will appear after the file is downloaded; clicking ‘install’ updates the carrier APN and a normal AT&T data plan is usable again!


A new ‘Profile’ option appears under General settings- allowing you to remove the custom APN configuration if desired at a later time.


Tomorrow is supposed to be AT&T’s rollout of MMS for the iPhone in the US- and most likely firmware 3.1.1. I will wait to see if the updates break the APN fix!

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