Category: Technology

Straight Talk APN Madness

For many people Straight Talk wireless is the go to solution for mobile phones service. It is inexpensive, reliable, and available with good to excellent coverage almost everywhere any of the major carriers are these days.

One of the strengths of Straight Talks service is the BYOD/P (Bring Your Own Device/Phone) plans. These plans allow someone to purchase which ever phone they like, from whichever source the prefer and to then use it on Straight Talk‘s service through the simple expedient of buying a compatible SIM card from the company and the purchasing the desired plan card.

One of the drawbacks to this idea is that the programming normally done by and at the major carriers to enable some options of the service, are the responsibility of the customer. While normally this isn’t a big deal, in some cases it can be very frustrating.

The case in point is the phone’s APN setting. The APN or (Access Point Name), is the collections of entries that allows a phone to send and/or receive MMS or (Multi-Media Messages). MMS’s are anything that is NOT text. Audio, Video or pictures.

In recent months Straight Talk has taken great pains to try to simplify this process by putting a tool on their site where all you have to do is enter your phone number and select your type of phone from a drop down list. This tool then purports to display what settings you should use in your individual phones APN settings in order to get MMS to work.

Results of Straight Talks APN settings tool for an unlocked GSM phone.

Results of Straight Talks APN settings tool for an unlocked GSM phone.

While this is laudable and a large improvement over their past way of conveying these settings it is, unfortunately, incomplete. In a typical APN set on a phone, there are 18 settings. As we see from the results of the APN tool provided by Straight Talk, they provide only 4 settings. The last one doesn’t count for GSM phones as there is no setting called MMS_APN, in a typical set.

What appears to be one of the most important settings, APN Type, is conspicuously NOT listed by Straight Talk, even in their old settings listing model. I and many others have researched for hours if not days or weeks. Scoured the ‘net and done the game of trial and error for setting after setting to try to find some combination that would work, to get MMS working on an unlocked phone on Straight Talk.

Many have claimed to have found a set that would work, and many in fact do work for individuals. Unfortunately, none of them have worked for me. Below is the set of APN settings that I have found over the last 3 days to be reliable and function flawlessly both with attached images from phone memory and with captured images from the my phones 13MP camera.

All APN settings on my phone;

Name: StraightTalk
APN: tfdata
APN Type: default,mms,wap
Proxy: Not Set
Port: Not Set
Username: Not Set
Password: Not Set
Server: Not Set
MMSC: http://mms-tf.net
MMS Proxy: mms3.tracfone.com
MMS Port: 80
MCC: 310
MNC: 410
Authentication Type: Not Set
APN Protocol: IPv4
APN Roaming Protocol: IPv4
APN Enable/Disable: Enable (Check Box)
Bearer: Unspecified

All critical settings on my phone, omitting the ones that are to be left blank;

Name: StraightTalk
APN: tfdata
APN Type: default,mms,wap
MMSC: http://mms-tf.net
MMS Proxy: mms3.tracfone.com
MMS Port: 80
MCC: 310
MNC: 410
APN Protocol: IPv4
APN Roaming Protocol: IPv4
APN Enable/Disable: Enable (Check Box)

I make no promises as to whether these options and settings will work for you. They have worked for me reliably with any image attached to the message for the last 3 days with multiple apps (Built in Jelly Bean messaging app, Google Hangouts & Textra), so I consider them to be solid.

For the record and for comparison, my equipment is as follows;

Phone: BLU Life One (L120) Unlocked, Dual-SIM, GSM (Amazon Phone Listing, GSM Arena Full Phone Specifications)
SIM: Straight Talk Wireless AT&T Compatible
Plan: Standard Unlimited Talk, Text, Data

Once you have entered all settings into a new APN set and saved it, be sure to go through any other APN sets and disable them. Some recommend deleting old ones (except for the original default set), and while this is probably a good idea, I did so, I am not entirely sure it is necessary.

So, there it is, my final working solution to MMS on Straight Talk. It is my hope that this information helps someone else and eases some of their frustration that I felt every bit as much as they do.

Straight Talk Wireless website; Straight Talk Wireless APN Tool

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A Question of Responsibility

Is data on your phone and home computer safe? Who is more responsible for preventing theft of your electronic device? You? or the Government through their agent’s the police?

Mine is. Don’t know about yours. I don’t go around putting private information in public areas. I also keep my anti-virus and firewall software up to date and use an NAT router to firewall my system further.

Computer/phone privacy, even in the era of smartphones, is not difficult. People simply need to stop thinking they’re on an episode of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ and stop putting their whole lives out there in public.

As I have said for a long time and will continue to say, prevention of theft of your phone, or any other private property, is the individual’s responsibility, not the government’s. The line ‘that’s the job of the police’ is one of the primary contributing factors to society being the way it is. No one want’s to get involved anymore or help anyone out because, it’s not their job.

The only government intervention I would get behind is forcing carriers, all carriers, to create, share and maintain a list of IMEI’s of phones reported stolen by their customers. This would prevent any phone reported stolen from being able to be reactivated, no matter where or when it was attempted.

Allowing any third party (any party that is not myself or the manufacturer of the device, is a third party) to install a switch that could brick my phone without my explicit permission IS NOT acceptable in anyway, at anytime, under any conditions.

This is what you people who like this idea need to consider. It’s not about theft, it’s not going to prevent a damn thing, it’s about control. The government and cellular carriers have enough of that as it is, they don’t need anymore.

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