Recently, we made the decision to change one of our Verizon Wireless plans. The plan was a family share plan that has existed for quite some time now. Both phones on the plan were “dumb” phones and the near $130 price point for up to 1400 minutes and no data seemed way too steep. When evaluating other Verizon Wireless plans, the price would increase even more for the two devices plus taxes.
After some discussion, we realized that Verizon Wireless plans just didn’t make sense for these two devices. I had a Samsung Focus v1.3 phone that I received from Microsoft when Windows Phone was first released. The phone still had Windows Phone 7.1 installed on it.
Before deciding to upgrade to Straight Talk, I took to the Internet to see what issues others have been experiencing. One of the issues had to do with MMS messaging and the Samsung Focus. For some reason, there was some issue with the software installed on the Focus. After some searching, I finally found a tutorial to upgrade the phone to Windows Phone 7.8. The best part of this process was that the phone would look like a Nokia Lumia 800 device.
Before we begin, the following will be needed:
In preparation for the install, I found it easiest to copy all files to a common folder on my machine. I used 7-zip to expand the .rar file and extract the files contained within. An example of what these look like can be found below:
Next, I followed the step-by-step process outlined in this great video by Leapy Tech on Youtube. If this process works for you, definitely click the their name in the previous sentence and give them a shout out on Twitter.
Here is the step-by-step process to getting the ROM loaded:
Between the upgrade of OS and the switch in provider, the provider switch was definitely the more trying process. I’ll end with these pain points in hopes that someone who cares at Tracfone (the technical partner of Straight Talk) actually pays attention.
There were a bunch of steps required for this to work:
Before attempting to update the APN settings in the Cellular menu option in Settings, be sure to read this. Nokia has a great app that has full APN capabilities. The app is called Network Setup and can be downloaded in the Marketplace:
After it’s installed, find it in your app listing:
Next, open up the app. Once you’re in the app, you’ll notice that you can edit an APN or add a new one. Add a new one called Straight Tal (note the name only allows so many characters.)
Since I already have it added, I’ll choose Edit so you can see all of the settings:
Now, reboot your phone. It may take a bit for your phone to realize that the MMS settings are correct. I had issues receiving MMS messages. However, after approximately 6-8 hrs of the phone sitting, everything worked.
I have several. Rather than boring you with details, here are the most important ones:
Overall, I can’t say anything much more critical about the service yet. We’re still testing the waters. I do know that the one phone we needed, we were able to save over $50. That’s $1200 over the normal two year commitment by Verizon Wireless and we’re not locked into a contract.
If you have any additional feedback, please leave me a comment.