Getting data to work with an iPhone with an AT&T GoPhone SIM by Paulo Fierro

So we are in San Francisco for WWDC and want to avoid roaming costs. Our inital plan of using HolidayPhone failed as they forgot to add credit to our SIMs.

After much back and forth I finally got data working on our AT&T GoPhone (Pay As You Go plan). The people at the store assured us this would not work and is not possible, but they're wrong. We paid $10 for the $2 per day unlimited plan SIM. Unfortunately this plan no longer supports a data add-on so you have to upgrade it. There's a $25 per month plan with minutes and texts and a $50 per month one with unlimited everything. I don't care about the minutes or texts, but you may want to compare the two.

  1. To upgrade it, first you have to add money to your account. You can do this in store or online, I went to
  2. Click on Login
  3. You probably don't have a password, so click on the forgotten password link for Pay As You Go
  4. Enter in your phone number and you'll get a text with the password. Now login.
  5. Click on Add Features, select Refill and add $25. You can look at the Data Packages section but you'll see a warning triangle. Hovering over it will tell you that a data plan is not supported on the Unlimited $2 per day plan.
  6. Once you've added money to the account, log out. Unfortunately you can't upgrade your plan on the site (or I couldn't find it) but you can go through an automated voice system by calling 1-800-901-9878. You want to upgrade to the $25 plan and this happens instantly. Trying to do so without enough money in the account doesn't work which is why we added funds first.
  7. Once that's done, log back in and you should see that your plan's changed. Now you can go back to Add Features, select Data Packages and select one. I went with $5 for 50MB just to test that this works.
  8. On your iPhone, hop on a wifi network visit, go to Custom APN and select United States and "AT&T PAYG". Don't select plan "AT&T" - it didn't work for me. Then click "Create Profile" and it will install itself on the phone.

Now disconnect from the wifi and hopefull you'll have data working. It does cost a little bit ($10 for the SIM, $25 for the upgrade and then $5 or more for data) but its worth it.

Note: On the AT&T site you'll notice oddities like not being able to paste in your credit card number, you can set the State to "Foreign" when entering in your address but the Country can't be changed from "United States". It doesn't support non-US postal codes either so in my case I had to enter "BN13W" instead of "BN1 3WB" but it still works.

If you want to avoid the hassle you can go with T-Mobile, but then you're stuck with Edge unless you're near the Moscone center where they are apparently testing out 4G.