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Best phone for PDA usage, texting but NO data plan

by adkleiner / November 15, 2009 11:42 PM PST

Hi, Looking to purchase a phone for voice, texting and calendering, but have no interest in paying for a data plan. We are currently verizon customers but out of contract. AT&T and Verizon are probably the best network in our area (Southern NH), but would be open to others if phone matched needs and network is good. Would be for 3 lines.

Thanks for any advice you could throw my way....

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phone plan
by birdmantd Forum moderator / November 16, 2009 1:00 AM PST

Doesn't matter if you use At&t or Verizon, a PDA device will require a data plan.

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Correct regarding Verizon, but a Loophole exists w/ ATT
by Pepe7 / November 16, 2009 3:36 AM PST
In reply to: phone plan

While you cannot avoid the mandatory data plan with Verizon, you *can* still technically avoid it w/ ATT. How? Well, for starters you cannot upgrade through 'official' channels, nor can you upgrade to an ATT branded smartphone. It has to be unbranded and unlocked. IOW, discount sources for ATT handsets such as Wal Mart, Letstalk and Best Buy are no go since they generally only carry ATT branded phones (besides those of other carriers). They might have a few unlocked ones, but they still may have the carrier software are show up in the IMEI lists that may flag accounts. Luckily though, Amazon & Newegg do carry a number of unlocked, non-ATT branded smartphones that can be used by simply inserting a current active ATT SIM. The most important part is- don't use or activate a new SIM, as this may flag a user account as well.

Unlocked, unbranded smartphones w/ wifi I would recommend. Both also have the correct 3G bands for better voice quality/use in the U.S.-


If you need GPS too, the E71-2

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Can you still avoid a data plan on AT&T?
by JK03110 / April 15, 2011 3:14 AM PDT

I'm wondering if Pepe7's loophole is still open in 2011. An employee at the AT&T store I talked to a few months ago said the system sweeps through all the phones every night to look for smart phones and automatically signs up to a data plan any that don't have one.

Does the phone's being unbranded (still) prevent the AT&T system from picking up that it's a smart phone? Can't the system tell what kind of phone is on the network?

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Answered my own question.
by JK03110 / April 15, 2011 3:21 AM PDT

Found this article:

AT&T Forcing Data Plans on Unlocked and Unbranded Smartphones? (Updated)25 Comments

Written by Humberto Saabedra on February 11, 2010
Update: AT&T
has responded, stating that the policy of forcing smartphone data plans
regardless of subsidy has been in effect since the last major change in
plan alignment last September, despite no explicit mention in the Terms
and Conditions about the policy in regards to unlocked smart devices
being used on the carrier. AT&T further justifies its position by
stating that the policy is fair as smart device users consume more data
on average and the unlimited data plan protects them from overages.AT&T
has begun notifying customers that have purchased unbranded and
unlocked smart devices used on its network without what the carrier
considers an "appropriate data plan" that it is now adding smartphone
data plans for those devices automatically, despite not being subsidized
by the carrier.The prevailing wisdom by purchasing an unlocked
and unbranded device for use on AT&T is that the customer has the
freedom to choose what service plan to sign up for. With the letter,
posted after the read more link, AT&T is asserting control over
customers that have not received a handset subsidy or purchased branded
equipment by forcing more expensive data plans on its customers
automatically without an explanation, potentially exposing the carrier
to litigation.

Dear Valued Customer,We hope you are
enjoying your Smartphone! We appreciate and value your business and want
to be sure you are aware of a change we've made to your account to
ensure you have the best possible experience with unlimited data usage
in the United States.Smartphones are made for data
consumption-surfing the web, social networking, email and more. That's
why we require a Smartphone data plan in conjunction with our
Smartphones. This ensures that customers with data intensive devices are
not unpleasantly surprised with high data pay-per-use charges-just one
low, predictable, flat rate for unlimited use each month.For
whatever reason, our records indicate your Smartphone does not have the
correct data plan. As a courtesy, we've added the minimum Smartphone
data plan for you.If you would like to select another data plan
or have questions, please call 1-800-331-0500 (or 611 from your wireless
phone) or visit you for being an AT&T customer. We look forward to continuing to provide you with a great Smartphone experience.Sincerely, AT&T

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ATT still doesn't care about *most* unbranded smartphones
by Pepe7 / April 15, 2011 7:11 AM PDT

Hence, my advice still holds true today.

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Please explain/specify
by JK03110 / April 15, 2011 8:31 AM PDT

Thanks for your reply, Pepe7.

Which ones does it care about? Which ones does it not care about? And how long will these phones fall "below radar"?

I'd prefer not to part with a couple hundred dollars for a phone only to discover that it does what I bought it for for a few months before AT&T changes policy... or even not at all.

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phones to watch out for
by Pepe7 / April 18, 2011 12:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Please explain/specify

The iPhone, Nexus (S?) and a few other similar Android variants to the Nexus currently will usually get flagged by ATT's system, along with any ATT branded smartphone they currently offer or have carried in the past. AFAIK all non-ATT branded Nokia smartphones are still OK.

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Best Phone with PDA not needing Data package
by abbottad / July 21, 2010 8:05 AM PDT

The Treo 700P doens't require the Data package.
I use mine all the time with Verizon.
I only pay for Voice and the 5dollars for text.

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Blackberry Bold
by AccessoryGeeks / April 19, 2011 3:00 AM PDT

I've actually had a Blackberry Bold without the data plan. I'm not sure if you can still do this at all, but I've actually canceled my data plan after I had purchased the phone.

I got a 2 year contract with the data plan because they usually require it for all smart phones. I waited about a month and called At&t and told them I wanted to cancel the data plan and they just did it for me.

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Watch out
by Pepe7 / April 19, 2011 7:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Blackberry Bold

They still require it for all ATT branded smartphones acquired past a certain date, which does include the Bold. Some of us have older grandfathered smartphones though (mine's from a 2007 upgrade). I am frankly surprised that an ATT CSR was even allowed to do this via the computer on their end. Don't be surprised if you receive some sort of alert that you need to (re) add a data plan of at least $15/month. It happens. <shrug>

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