Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Cheapskate Guide to Getting a G1 Running

Let's say you get an unlocked developer's G1. If you're like me, you don't talk very much on the phone, and you spend most of your time in a WiFi zone. But the Android makes for a great convergence device (it's an ipod replacement, and a phone replacement).

It turns out that the AT&T Gophone plan is a pre-paid plan that includes data, but at an exorbitant rate (no big deal if you're mostly in WiFi zone). But the on-line plan wouldn't let me buy a SIM card without a phone, so I dropped by the AT&T store today and waited in line with the iPhone buyers to get a $10 SIM card (even a $5 SIM card will do). I then stuck the SIM card into my G1, dialed 611, and paid $4.99 for 1MB of data. (You can also pay $9.99 for 5MB --- overage is $0.01 cents/KB) Basically, if you use google maps once, you'll chew it all up, so it's strictly for low-data traffic, or for people who spend almost all their time in WiFi zones.

But that's not all. You still have to turn on the EDGE access. From the Settings application, select Wireless Controls->Mobile networks->Access Point Names. Push the menu button to pick "New APN". Then enter the following data:

Name: at&t gophone
APN: wap.cingular
Password: cingular1
MMS Proxy:
MMS port: 80
MCC: 310
MNC: 410

Then select this APN, and you'll be good to go. Instead of paying $55 for voice and data that you'll never use much of, this should get you down to about $5 or $10 a month, provided you're a light user of data. The one downside is that you can't get access to the AT&T 3G network.

And before you ask, yes I asked T-mobile if they had data access with their pre-paid plan, and the answer is no.

Update: Someone pointed out that I should warn users that you should only do this with a prepaid SIM card. Otherwise, you will end up with significant data bills should your pocket end up watching a youtube video!
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