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OVMS AT&T GoPhone SIM card installation guide

Discussion in 'Tesla Parts for Sale' started by dsm363, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    #1 dsm363, Mar 14, 2012
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
    I didn't want to clutter the general OVMS installation thread with just US AT&T PayGo issues so started this here.
    Main thread here:
    OVMS Installation

    AT&T GoPhone SIM card for US

    1) It looks like you have to go to an AT&T store (couldn't initially order plan I needed online but thinking it may be possible now)
    2) Buy SIM card and ask for 10 cents/min plan. Add on the 10MB/month data plan and the 200 texts/month plan each for $5
    3) If you don't have a phone you can put the SIM card in to activate it, stay in the store and have them use one of their demo phones otherwise you have to go back to the store to do this like I did when I figured out I couldn't receive text with my new PIN.
    4) Important: If you want to be able to access your GoPhone account online, use your iPhone or really anything with a web browser to access
    Pay As You Go Online
    then use your new phone number (on receipt) and enter your PIN (sales person can tell you what it usually is which I think is last four of SIM card's phone number). It will then send a text to your demo phone with your new PIN number (reason why you need to stay in store to get text if you don't have a spare phone for the SIM card).

    Note: It appears step 4 may not be necessary as once the OVMS is installed and your account set up on the server, any unrecognized texts (your text with the new PIN) get forwarded to your phone.

    The APN is WAP.CINGULAR (must be all caps).
    It appears that username and password for network can be left blank.

    I did this below and it worked as well.
    username: your ten digit phone number for the SIM CARD ########## (no spaces or dashes)
    password: your 4 digit PIN (same used to log into your Paygo website)

    One issue is billing. AT&T only seems to let you refill in $15 increments per month (cheapest) or $25/3 months. There were some other options but the funds expired the same time basically. I called them to try and figure out what this meant saying I was only going to use $5-10 a month and I had to put in $15 per month into my account? They said after your expiration date, you have 60 days to refill your account otherwise you lose the number and I believe have to start over with a new SIM card (not sure about that though).

    Thanks again to the OVMS team.

    Also, note: It appears that if you refill your account earlier than your expiration date, the money doesn't get added to the end of your current expiration date. It simply start's the clock over from when you add the new money so you lose time actually unless you wait until right before your expiration date. Not a good system.
     
  2. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Thanks dsm. BTW, I went into the Verizon store to get my phone upgraded and asked them what they would recommend for the OVMS (I explained what it was for) and without prompting they told me to get the AT&T card. Apparently they know the competition pretty well.
     
  3. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    You need a SIM card the GSM network which OVSM uses. Verizon is CDMA.
    The only options for GSM in the US are AT&T and T-Mobile. (Though Sprint and probably Version also offer "world" phones.)
     
  4. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    /\
    I know. Out of curiosity I just asked them what they would recommend.
     
  5. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Billing made easy....

    Followed all the instructions and just asked for a GoPhone SIM card with 200 texts and 10mb data. Sales guy asked what it was for and I told him it was for OVMS in the car...he asked about OVMS (and lots more questions about the Tesla!) and I explained the principle of how it worked. He set me up with the card and activated it, logged onto the internet site and got the new PIN for me. I went through the billing issue *dsm* outlined and the sales guy recommended to do the following:

    Put $100 on the account then you have it valid for one year. Set up the data ($5) and text package ($4.99) to both auto-renew from the credit balance. That way it costs exactly $9.99 per month and you have 10 months without having to keep adding money, plus you avoid the whole $15 issue.

    The sales guy arranged all this for me in-store then came out to take a look at the Roadster. :biggrin:
     
  6. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    If you just want the $5 data plan though, there doesn't seem to be an easy plan that doesn't waste money before it expires. Oh well, I'll probably keep the texts then and do what you did. Thanks.
     
  7. tomsax

    tomsax Member

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    I set up an AT&T sim card for the Tattler last September. I moved it onto our family plan so I could get unlimited text messaging for $10 per month, which is a great deal for the Tattler. I swapped it into the OVMS and it just works. Along the way, I had a very confusing phone call with an AT&T rep where he alternated back and forth between telling me the card was on a pay-as-you go plan for data and that there's no such thing as a pay-as-you-go data plan. Surreal.

    If the Dr. Jeckyl part of that exchange was correct, I'm paying $2/MB which seems like a pretty good deal for the OVMS.

    The configuration string I used to set it up is:

    PARAMS M SMS,ip 202.52.43.80 WAP.CINGULAR - - CARNAME PASSWORD -

    At Mark's request, I'm using the dev server for testing the OVMS on a v1.5 Roadster.
     
  8. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    I use OVMS a *lot* (hey, I'm working on it) and get up to about 60KB a day. That would be a little under 2MB/month. Of course, the cellular provider may round up...
     
  9. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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  10. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    ATT store in Santa Clara said they couldn't activate it without an IMEI number.

    What do I need to say to get them to do what we need?
     
  11. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    IMEI is just the phone hardware ID number, but it's NOT needed. They just need to activate it for you on one of their demo phones. See Dave's original post above regarding the PIN number.

    FWIW, I drove down there in my Roadster and picked the assistant who was looking out the window at my car. I told him what the SIM card was for and he was super helpful, all I had to do was answer questions about Tesla. ;)
     
  12. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Warning - SIM cards don't always work!

    My installation has been particularly troublesome and taken weeks to get to the bottom of the problem. Mark has been incredibly helpful and invested a lot of time to help try and figure out what the problem was....turns out that the SIM had a weird issue where the unit recognized it initially and then the SIM couldn't be detected any more.

    I went back to AT&T who initially said that SIM cards couldn't be faulty but I persuaded them to give me a replacement SIM anyway and hey presto it works fine now. Went back inside the store and told them and they said this was the first time any of them knew where a SIM was faulty.

    In this case, despite all the weeks of diagnostics work we went through OVMS wasn't at fault.

    Thanks again for all your help, Mark!
     
  13. adelman

    adelman R 539, S VIN S44, X Sig#1

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    AT&T just jacked Go-Phone prices?

    Anyone else get the text from AT&T today? I got a text message explaining that the $5/month data plan is no longer available unless I also commit to a $25/month voice+text plan (their minimum). This raises the SIM cost from $10/month to $30/month. Anyone else know of any USA solutions compatible with OVMS that are less than $30/month? I did prepay $200 on my Gophone, and I've got a class into a third-level supervisor at AT&T. I'm going to stand with that they can't change their terms on me once they have my money, taking them to small claims for the extra $400 if necessary.

    Sigh.

    I thought this would be simple.
     
  14. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    Ouch.

    Because of the hassle the AT&T store gave me, I ended up using a card on my pre-existing family plan with unlimited text messaging. Incremental cost is $20/month - $10 for the additional line and $10/month for unlimited data on a non-smartphone.
     
  15. kgb

    kgb Member

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    #15 kgb, Apr 18, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
    I just set mine up today, and I just tested that it works. So, I have good news. Although AT&T did change their plan structure, as it turns out, it is better for us rather than worse.

    Today, I walked into the AT&T store and brought a print out of some relevant posts so that I'd know exactly what I needed. I asked for the $0.10/min plan and add the 200 SMS/mo and 10MB/mo plans. He knew exactly what I wanted and was just about to hook it up when he told me that he couldn't add the data plan to the $0.10/min plan. The manager came over and was also puzzled. They asked when the other Tesla owners posted these suggestions, and it was just in March. We concluded that AT&T must have just recently changes their price structure and we called Pay as You Go customer support. They confirmed that by simply activating the $0.10/min plan and putting an initial credit card charge of $100 (as NigelM suggests), SMS and data would be active, but would be charged as used. The exact fees are $0.20/SMS and $0.01/5kb

    Ok, so at this point, I have a new Pay as You Go SIM, they activated it, and I was assigned a phone number. I then gave the salesman my credit card, and he charged $100, so with tax and fees it came out to just over $110. We then put the new SIM in a demo phone lying around. Then, using my iPhone, I went to Pay As You Go Online
    I used the phone # for the username and the last 4 digits of the new phone number as the PIN. It then kicked me out and I had to log in again with a new PIN. At that point the salesman read off a 4 digit number AT&T had sent to the demo phone. I plugged in that number (on my iPhone) and the website asked me to choose a new PIN. Once chosen, I was at my SIM/Phone's page. It showed the number, the amount of money on account and when I looked down at the active features, SMS and data were listed.

    I plugged the SIM into the OVMS and set it up as per the instructions. Worked perfectly 1st time through. So, bottom line:
    $100 on account keeps the SIM active for a year. The only thing you need to sign up for is the $0.10/min plan. From what I can tell, it looks like $15 of the initial $110 was used to set up the SIM, but everything else is charged as used. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't find any mention of a monthly fee for the $0.10/min plan. You pay for the minutes spent talking which will be $0.

    EDIT: AT&T's Go Phone rate page is currently here (As of April 18, 2012):
    ATT rates.jpg

    (Sorry AT&T, had to post this way... info was not accessible via hyperlink)
     
  16. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    Great to hear it worked out ok for you, and thanks for the update on AT&T. AT&T GoPhone looks to be the only workable data solution for USA at the moment.

    $0.01/5kb should be between $0.06 and $0.12 /day (based on 30KB to 60KB average to mid usage we're seeing) - or US$1.80 - US$3.60 /month for the data. A lot will depend on how much they charge per month and how much they round-up usage.
     
  17. kgb

    kgb Member

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    UPDATE:

    Not too sure about the $0.10/min plan... To get an idea of how much is charged on average, I took a look at how much was charged in an average hour. There was some significant rounding. For each minute, there was around $0.03 charged for data usage. So I counted each of the $0.01 charges between 6pm yesterday and 7pm yesterday, and I counted 159 charges. This would correlate to 0.8MB/hour (576MB/month). I did some basic math, and if this keeps going, it will be $38/day (or $1,144/month) in data charges! So, now it's looking like the $25/month plan, plus the $5/50MB plan would be a much better deal ($30 vs. $1,144 monthly).

    I'm going to call AT&T to figure out WTF!

    Mark, does this mean the OVMS is checking in with the server 3x per minute? How much data each check? Does it log off the cellular data network between each check-in? Perhaps if the OVMS stayed logged in all the time, there would be less rounding. What do you think?
     
  18. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    OVMS will maintain a connection, but that uses zero data (assuming the connection stays up). This behaves somewhat similar to the iPhone APNS push notification system - the channel is kept open, but mostly unused.

    Without an app connected, the car will send one set of messages every ten minutes (and nothing in between). If the server does not hear from the car in eleven minutes, it will send one PING message (just a few bytes).

    With an app connected, the car will send one set of messages every one minute, and a simple update message every time a 'door' style status changes (coolant pump on/off, charging stops, charging starts, passenger door opens, etc).

    With an app connected, the car driving, and location stream feature enable, the car will stream (works out one ~40 byte message every three seconds or so) the car location.

    On the Apps, you can call up the data usage seen by the server. I get an average of 30KB-60KB a day for average usage (using the app to check the car perhaps half a dozen times a day).
     
  19. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    On the iPhone when you close an app, it doesn't really 'quit', right? You have to hold down on an icon then click the 'X' from the app list at the bottom. So as long as you launch the app and leave it running, it doesn't really use much data? Just wanted to make sure I was understanding this correctly. Thanks.
     
  20. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    When you 'leave' the iPhone App, we shut down the connection to the server, and reconnect when the app is re-launched. So, just pressing HOME will disconnect you from the server and the server will tell the car "no apps connected".

    You can see this by pressing HOME and then going back to the App you will see the App having to reconnect and wait for car data (the flashing antenna in the top right for a few seconds).
     

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