I'm an AT&T Mobility (retail) salesperson and no; you don't need a data plan. If you want the rebate you must sign up for or have unlimited texting (family or individual) or the PDA unlimited data plan. But if you just want the phone for the keyboard or as an organizer, you simply forego the rebate.
I'm with AT&T and have narrowed down my smartphone choices down to either the Blackjack II or Blackberry Pearl. Here are 2 questions I have:
1) If I just want the basic voice features w/ text messaging, do I need to get a data plan for either one of these phones?
2) If I want to check the internet or my email, is getting a data plan a must?
From what I hear, I don't have to get a data plan to check the internet or email w/ the Blackjack II as it will be on a pay-per-use basis, which could get costly, but I hear it's a must to use it on a Blackberry.