Saturday, June 12, 2010

United States GSM Pre-Paid Providers

This post is going to be an evolving pro-con between the two largest (and eventually smaller) GSM cellular providers in the the United States. This post will likely evolve into a simple discussion about the open-ness of the US GSM networks and their mobile stations (MS; a technical term for a GSM client).

Network Selection:
T-Mobile
It seems that T-Mobile phones allow for the user to change which network the phone operates on. This is handy if you need to do development on a test network.


AT&T
AT&T is a different story. It seems that "The new AT&T" has disabled the Network Selection menu from their handsets. I have verified this on a Nokia 2330, Nokia 6555b, Samsung A107, and Samsung A137. I have not been able to determine if there is a way to unlock this. Though, it seems that older "AT&T Blue" handsets were more open and did have the ability to select a different network.

According to the setup instructions on AT&T's website (http://www.wireless.att.com/support/deviceTutorials.do):

"The option to select a network manually is only available when traveling internationally."

Solution:
T-Mobile devices do not appear to block this feature by default. The easy solution is to purchase a T-Mobile phone. An alternate solution would be to figure out a way to force the AT&T phones to produce the Network Selection menu.

Data Network Configuration:
Coming Soon

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