Simply put, I was charged for data roaming to the tune of $800. AT&T was unwilling to help me out here, I was unwilling to stay as a customer. Strangely enough they were uninterested in keeping me as a customer when I informed them I wanted to leave.
So I signed up with T-Mobile. Number portability is really really great. Here are my plan details:
- $40 for 300 minutes, unlimited to top 5 callers (statically chosen by me), unlimited nights/weekends after 9pm.
- $5 for 400 text messages. International texts (sending and receiving) are on-plan (included in the 400). It's $10 for 1000, and $15 for unlimited.
- $6 for T-Zones, which gives me unlimited "web data".
Bottom line is my bill pre-taxes will be $51.
The iPhone plan:
- $60 for 900 minutes, unlimited mobile 2 mobile (on AT&T), unlimited evenings/weekends, and rollover.
- $20 for unlimited data
- International texts are .20-.25 each. Texts sent while in Canada - .10.
- $10 for 1000 texts.
Bottom line is $90 pre-taxes.
Another major difference is the roaming charges. T-Mobile charges me .49/minute in Canada, and another .20 if I'm calling "Long Distance" - eg: calling the US from Canada. Calling locally and incoming is .49. AT&T was charging me (on paper) .79 then an additional .12 cents of "tax" for a grand total of .91/minute.
I estimate it will take me about 3.5 months to earn back my $175 early termination fee (sadly T-Mobile's is $200).
Basically the bottom line is that T-Mobile is much much cheaper than AT&T. T-Mobile's customer service is better, and here in Seattle they have better coverage.
Ok, so how did I do it? Basically these steps:
- Tiff exploit to remount / and do other magic
- Custom iphuc to read the / disk image, replace fstab then write it back
- iNependence to put SSH on - note that this is the top hit for the search "independence"
- SCP to put BSD binaries on (ls, cat, rm, ln, etc)
- Renamed Mediaold -> Media and Media -> Mediaold (something that the TIFF exploit breaks)
- SCP anySIM 1.1 on
- Pop in the new T-Mobile sim
- Run anySIM via SSH, since springboard (app launcher/main screen) is hardcoded now (before it scanned /Applications)
- anySIM finishes - you're simunlocked!
- Rebooting the iPhone says 'SIM changed, connect to iTunes to activate'. Quit iTunes, kill iTunesHelper.
- Use iNdependence to activate phone.
- You're free!
- Ok, wait you need to configure the proxy to make web work.
Now after all of that, you are free and nearly everything works. Things still broken for me: Visual Voicemail (of course) - the voicemail tab in the Phone app calls the T-Mobile Voicemail line. Youtube - I hear there are hack to make this work, but I don't really use Youtube. I'll fix it one day.
Interestingly enough, EDGE data on T-Mobile seems a bit faster - I think because of the proxy.
However, sending EDGE data is slower right now for me. On AT&T it normally takes about 10 seconds to send a plain email, and about 1 minute to send a picture email. But on T-Mobile (at home and at work) it takes 30 seconds and 3-5 minutes for the same activities respectively. An email to T-Mobile indicated that they had nothing on their side.
One experiment is to try the total internet package (for $19.99/month) to see if that's a difference, but I'd rather not. Maybe I'll borrow someone's SIM that has total internet.
And that's a wrap. 4 months after waiting in line for the iPhone, paying the higher $600 price, getting my $100 rebate, dealing with AT&T's excessive roaming charges, I am back to T-Mobile like I was before.
I still like the iPhone, and now that Gmail does IMAP it's even better (previously Gmail POP was a very weak experience). I'm just glad I can pay much much much less.
Not to mention sticking it to AT&T for refusing to forgive my stupid high data roaming rates. They really suck, not to mention double suck for being unwilling to retain my business.