Mobility

Create a new Access Point Name on your Android device

If you have an unlocked Android device and want to use it on a different carrier network, you might have to add a new Access Point Name. Jack Wallen shows you how.

APN

Now that it's become easier to swap out SIM cards on smartphones, the ability to swap devices to nearly whatever network you want is a reality. In some cases, the simple act of swapping out the SIM will be enough. There are cases, however, where the Access Point Name (APN) on the device will not allow the phone to communicate with the new carrier cell towers.

The APN is the name of the settings the phone needs to make a connection with the carrier gateway between your cellular provider's network and the public internet. Without the right settings, your phone will be unable to reach the outside world.

Fortunately, on Android devices, you can create new APN — as long as the phone is unlocked (see my post "New freedom for unlocked US mobile devices" for more information). With an unlocked device, you can edit an APN or even add a new APN. If your device is still locked, you won't be able to work with APNs.

APN settings look like this:

Name: Verizon
APN: internet
Proxy: <Not Set>
Port: <Not Set>
Username: <Not Set>
Password: <Not Set>
Server: <Not Set>
MMSC: http://mms.vtext.com/servlets/mms
MMS proxy: <Not Set>
MMS port: 80
MCC: 310
MNC: 012
Authentication type: <Not Set>
APN type: <Not Set> or Internet + MMS APN
Protocol: <Default>
Bearer: <Not Set>

It's very important to have/know all of the information shown above (if it says <Not Set>, that information is not necessary).

Before I list out the APN information for all of the US carriers, I first want to show you how to create a new APN on your device. Naturally, not all Android devices are created equal (and if your device isn't unlocked, you'll be out of luck). Note: You can have multiple APNs on a device and select which one to use.

Adding an APN

To add an APN, you need to tap Settings | More | Wireless & Networks | Mobile Networks, and then tap Access Point Names. From there (Figure A), you should see (at least) your default APN listed.

Figure A

Figure A

The default APN provided by the device carrier.

From this window, tap the plus sign [+]. You should now be able to add the information for the new APN (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Adding a new APN to an AT&T-branded Moto X.

Once you've added the proper information for the new APN, tap the menu button, and then tap Save. If the new SIM card wasn't working before, it should be working now.

If you're looking for APN information for a specific carrier, you should find all of the information you need below.

AT&T APN settings

Name: ATT Phone, (ATT Broadband for tablets)
APN: phone (broadband for tablets)
Proxy: <Not Set>
Port: <Not Set>
Username: <Not Set>
Password: <Not Set>
Server: <Not Set>
MMSC: http://mmsc.mobile.att.net (Not Set for tablets)
MMS proxy: proxy.mobile.att.net (Not Set for tablets)
MMS port: 80
MCC: 310
MNC: 410
Authentication type: <Not Set>
APN type: default,supl,mms,hipri (Also 'fota' for tablets)
APN Protocol: IPv4 (Enabled for tablets)
Bearer: <Default>

Boost Mobile APN settings

Name: Boost_Mobile
APN: Boost_Mobile
Proxy: <Not Set>
Port: <Not Set>
User Name: Boost_Mobile
Password:
Server:
MMSC: http://mm.myboostmobile.com
MMS Proxy: 68.28.31.7
MMS Port: 80
MCC: 311
MNC: 870
Authentication type: <Not Set>
APN type: default,admin,fota,mms,supl,hipri
APN Protocol: <Not Set>
Bearer: <Not Set>

Sprint APN settings

Name: Sprint
APN: cinet.spcs
Proxy: <Not Set>
Port: <Not Set>
Username: yourMSID@uscc.net
Password: your MSID
Server: wap.voicestream.com
MMSC: http://mmsc1.uscc.net/mmsc/mms
MMS proxy: 68.28.31.7
MMS port: <Not Set>
MCC: 234
MNC: 15
Authentication type: <Not Set>
APN type: <Not Set>
APN Protocol: iPv4
Bearer: <Not Set>

T-Mobile APN settings

Name: T-MOBILE
APN: epc.tmobile.com, or fast.tmobile.com (LTE)
Proxy: <Not Set>
Port: <Not Set>
Username: <Not Set>
Password: <Not Set>
Server: wap.voicestream.com
MMSC: http://mms.msg.eng.t-mobile.com/mms/wapenc
MMS proxy: 216.155.165.50
MMS port: <Not Set>
MCC: 310
MNC: 260
Authentication type: <Not Set>
APN type: <Not Set> or Internet + MMS
APN Protocol: IPv4
Bearer: <Not Set>

US Cellular APN settings

Name: USCC
APN: internet
Proxy: <Not Set>
Port: <Not Set>
Username: yourMSID@uscc.net
Password: your MSID
Server: wap.voicestream.com
MMSC: http://mmsc1.uscc.net/mmsc/mms
MMS proxy: blank
MMS port: 80
MCC: 310
MNC: 120
Authentication type: <Not Set>
APN type: <Not Set> or Internet + MMS
APN Protocol: iPv4
Bearer: <Not Set>

Verizon APN settings

Name: Verizon
APN: internet
Proxy: <Not Set>
Port: <Not Set>
Username: <Not Set>
Password: <Not Set>
Server: <Not Set>
MMSC: http://mms.vtext.com/servlets/mms
MMS proxy: <Not Set>
MMS port: 80
MCC: 310
MNC: 012
Authentication type: <Not Set>
APN type: <Not Set> or Internet + MMS
APN Protocol: <Default>
Bearer: <Not Set>

Virgin Mobile APN settings

Name: Virgin Mobile
APN: Sprint
Proxy: <Not Set>
Port: <Not Set>
Username: <Not Set>
Password: <Not Set>
Server: <Not Set>
MMSC: http://mmsc.vmobl.com:8080/mms
MMS proxy: 205.239.233.136
MMS port: 81
MCC: 310
MNC: <Not Set>
Authentication type: <Not Set>
APN type: default,supl,mms
APN Protocol: iPv4
Bearer: <Not Set>

With this information, you should now have everything you need to migrate your favorite (unlocked) Android device from one carrier to another.

Have you managed to get your device unlocked? If so, have you used it on a different carrier? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox