All carrier networks have APN (Access Point Name) settings, which distinguish their gateway between the internet and the cellular network. If the APN settings on your phone aren't just right, then you may not be able to send or receive multimedia messages (MMS), connect to the internet, or use other key T-Mobile features, like Voice over LTE (VoLTE) or Wi-Fi Calling.
What is an APN?
APN stands for Access Point Name, which is kind of like a password at a speakeasy — no APN, no entry to the internet.
When you enter the APN into your phone, the carrier takes a look at the information and decides what type of connection should be made, such as the IP address assigned to your phone, which security methods should be used, and if it should be connected to a private customer network.
To activate a phone on T-Mobile, you first need a SIM card from T-Mobile or you need to activate a compatible eSIM phone. Other than that, so long as your phone is unlocked and compatible with the T-Mobile network, you should be good to go.
Most of the time, the APN settings will be handled automatically by your phone and SIM card but sometimes you may need to enter them manually. If you are having connection issues, a simple device restart may resolve the issue but if it doesn't, it's time to check your settings.
These are the APN settings
You can find the APN settings in your phone's mobile network settings.
- Name: T-Mobile
- APN: fast.t-mobile.com (for most modern devices with 4G LTE) or epc.tmobile.com (older devices)
- Proxy: Leave blank
- Port: Leave blank
- Username: Leave blank
- Password: Leave blank
- Server: Leave blank
- MMSC: http://mms.msg.eng.t-mobile.com/mms/wapenc
- MMS proxy: Leave blank
- MMS port: Leave blank
- MMS Protocol: WAP 2.0
- MCC: 310
- MNC: 260
- Authentication type: Leave blank
- APN type: default,supl,mms (most Androids) Internet+MMS (Samsung)
- APN Protocol: IPv4/IPv6
- APN roaming protocol: IPv4/IPv6 or IPv4 only (When roaming internationally
- APN enable/disable: Leave blank
What if it's still not working?
There are a few reasons why your network may not be working unrelated to APN settings. One may be an outage in your area. Click here to find learn how to find out if there's an outage and what to do. A couple of other possibilities are that your device may be malfunctioning or your SIM card isn't working anymore. For these problems your best bet will probably be to visit a T-Mobile store to check your device. And if you have a current backup and a Wi-Fi connection available, a factory reset could help as well.
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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.