Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

Former Employee

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

...  I am questioning how they are getting away with it. ...

 

By giving you other choices, why don't you get it? You have decided that you must have something buy you're not willing to pay the price for it, it is your problem, you're doing this to yourself. It's perfectly legal and honest on their side, they make it very clear that this is their policy, no one is stopping you from going elsewhere, no one is making you to buy a smartphone. Are you saying that you are not given any options? 

Message 16 of 78
Tutor

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

"You have decided that you must have something buy you're not willing to pay the price for it." 

 

I want a smartphone with wi-fi capability, and I am willing to pay full sticker price for it from a 3rd party vendor.  What I have a problem with is paying for something that I am not receiving and do not want, which is the 3G Data Plan.  I think you seem to be missing that.  Wi-fi and telecom data services are completely separate.  However, simply because my phone has 3G capability, I am charged. 

 

My wife's phone has 3G, it is great and I love it; we pay $30/mo. for that service.  I do not need / want it on my phone, but I want a smartphone capable of wi-fi for notes, email, web surfing on my own personal wi-fi networks (at home, at the office, or at free wi-fi hotspots).  I am being forced to obtain a data service plan because the telephone portion of my smartphone will be on the AT&T network; let me clarify for those of you who do not seem to understand the difference between 3G and wi-fi: At no time will my smartphone EVER be connected to the telecom's data network; all data radio functionality will be shunt and the carrier will block any incidentals with a data block.  This should not be this difficult to understand; the carrier has no business knowing that my phone is even a smartphone at all.  They only need to know that it is a GSM-capable device used for making/receiving phone calls only. 

Message 17 of 78
Professor

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

plain and simple as said before, if you don't want the data package don't buy a smartphone, its that easy, your not being forced to use it becuase you have a choice on what phone to use...if you dont like it, oh well go somewhere else.

 


I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
Message 18 of 78
Scholar

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???


wingrider01 wrote: 

Why exactly should unlocked phone be excluded? Do they magicly use less data just becasue they are unlocked? Sorry no MAJOR carrier allows the addition of a smartphone without a mandatory data plan. T-mobile may, but then again they don;t rank as a major player in the game, more a regional one.


In the Turbo universe, said unlocked phones would use NO data, as Turbo & family use no data. A data block would be the way to accomplish that.

 

In other words, Turbo and his kin would prefer smartphones because of build quality, apps, calendar, wi-fi, and other PDA functions and not because of using DATA. 

 

The unlocked phone issue comes to play because of subsidies. If AT&T subsidized the phone, I can see their point. If I went to Fry's and got a $250 Nokia 5800, out of my own money, AT&T should have no reason to force data plans. 

Message 19 of 78
Master

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???


turbo46032 wrote:  

The unlocked phone issue comes to play because of subsidies. If AT&T subsidized the phone, I can see their point. If I went to Fry's and got a $250 Nokia 5800, out of my own money, AT&T should have no reason to force data plans. 


 

The data plan has nothing to do with the subsidy of the phone.  The phone subsidy is to recover the cost of the phone over the course of the contract.  The contract is on your rate plan on and not on your data plan. So locked or unlocked doesn't matter.

 

You can stop using a smartphone on the line even while on contract and have the data removed.  The data plan doesn't change your contract or have anything to do with the subsidy. 

Message 20 of 78
Expert

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???


drumn_bass wrote:

...  I am questioning how they are getting away with it. ...

 

By giving you other choices, why don't you get it? You have decided that you must have something buy you're not willing to pay the price for it, it is your problem, you're doing this to yourself. It's perfectly legal and honest on their side, they make it very clear that this is their policy, no one is stopping you from going elsewhere, no one is making you to buy a smartphone. Are you saying that you are not given any options? 


 

Because YOU agreed to it when you entered into a legally binding contract with ATT, bottom lime - read and understand everything you sign that is legally and financially binding for an extended period of time
Message 21 of 78
Expert

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???


hme83 wrote:

wingrider01 wrote:

turbo46032 wrote:

Awesome. When my contract with AT&T runs out at the end of 2010, we'll switch our four line family plan to T-Mobile. They have their moments, too but at least understand the basics. It's not like AT&T coverage is going to get any better any time soon...

 

I would have no problem with mandatory data plans if bringing your own unlocked phones were excluded. 


 

Why exactly should unlocked phone be excluded? Do they magicly use less data just becasue they are unlocked? Sorry no MAJOR carrier allows the addition of a smartphone without a mandatory data plan. T-mobile may, but then again they don;t rank as a major player in the game, more a regional one

 

You want premium, expect to pay for premium. Give the simple fact with the cost of the mandatory data pla, your contract ending at the end of the year, how many smart phones you want it woud probalby be cheaper to etf and go to the regional carrier, this is not Sprint where their etf is 350 on smart phones and the etf is prorated.


The point is not whether non-branded phones use more/less data than branded phones do - the issue is whether users who don't want to use cellular data *at all* should have a $30/month mandatory data plan forced upon them just because of their particular preference in a device. Smiley Wink  Data usage is determined by the individual user, not the device type or whether the purchase of it was subsidized or not.

 

Of course it is really no more "fair" for purchasers of at&t branded equipment to be subject to the requirement.  But in that case the consumer is receiving additional equipment discounting in return, and the consumer can purchase a non-branded phone instead - so at&t does have every right to impose the policy on their own branded/subsidized equipment (even if I don't agree that it is the "right" thing for carriers to be doing).

 

It's no different than at&t saying no phone will be sold by us *at all* without an appropriate mandatory unlimited data plan, whether it is a feature phone, a QMD, or a designated smartphone - and I will not be surprised if that's the eventual outcome.  Better for the customer?  Absolutely not - but all the same "issues" that allegedly caused at&t to make the move for smartphones exist regarding feature phones as well, so they may as well take advantage of their customers there too. Smiley Mad

 

It's also no different than at&t automatically adding/requiring the subscription for every location based service they offer (i.e. Navigator, etc.) just because the particular model comes equipped with a GPS chip.  Again, they would be well within their right to do so for their own subsidized phones, but I certainly don't see that as being "fair" just because a user happens to use a device that comes with a GPS chip (several do which are not classified as "smartphones" by at&t).

Message Edited by hme83 on 02-13-2010 09:59:59 AM

 

If it is in the contract that you agree to, then thye can do it - data plans where made mandatory, now if you purchase a QMD type device - you get texting added mandatory. As with the corporate wired world of network access - you want to attach your device to my network you will comply to my standards and requirements or keep it away from my corporate network and go somewhere else
Message 22 of 78
Expert

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???


MrKroppcircles wrote:
plain and simple as said before, if you don't want the data package don't buy a smartphone, its that easy, your not being forced to use it becuase you have a choice on what phone to use...if you dont like it, oh well go somewhere else.

 

lets add the new requirement - if you don't want a texting plan added, don;t buy a QMD labeled device. As mentioned, don;t like it go somewhere else
Message 23 of 78
Professor

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???


wingrider01 wrote:

MrKroppcircles wrote:
plain and simple as said before, if you don't want the data package don't buy a smartphone, its that easy, your not being forced to use it becuase you have a choice on what phone to use...if you dont like it, oh well go somewhere else.

 

lets add the new requirement - if you don't want a texting plan added, don;t buy a QMD labeled device. As mentioned, don;t like it go somewhere else

 

thanx i forgot to throw that in there.

 


I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
Message 24 of 78
Scholar

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

The "it is their network, they have the absolute right to control what gets connected" has eerie resemblance to the fun that IBM went thru regarding peripherals, or the whole issue of CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) back in the days where the poor serf consumers could not even OWN their own telephones (http://www.porticus.org/bell/pdf/tattc.pdf). 

 

True, AT&T can demand that only AT&T branded firmware phones be connected to their network - and I would welcome such a move, as it would attract regulators like honey does to flies. AT&T can also continue their arbitrary and anticompetitive practices regarding customer equipment (i.e. smartphones) and that, too, will attract attention. I'd like to be a fly on the wall during the de rigeur Congressional hearings when some AT&T dude is asked how is it that the GSM system has survived with unlocked phones for 20 years in every country of the world except the US... 

 

The "everyone else is doing it" mantra will only help attract even MORE regulation. Wait and see...

 

PS: to understand what 'arbitrary' means. AT&T has yet to explain what distinguishes a smartphone from a non-smartphone; also, I see reports of people activating old AT&T smartphones like Blackjack and Blackjack II and  escaping the mandatory data plans, even with Customer Service's blessings and information that "The Blackjack is not a smartphone" (quoted to me by a coworker).

Message Edited by turbo46032 on 02-14-2010 07:47:45 PM
Message 25 of 78
Master

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

Well, until the regulators step in, those are the rules.  All the major carriers now require data plans with smartphones (and data or text plans with messaging phones).  You can call it arbitrary, anticompetitive, just don't call it late to dinner.

 

Unfortunately, the old definition of what made a smartphone doesn't fit anyone.  AT&T should clearly designate certain OS's as smartphone OS's and be done with it (if they haven't already done so).  And don't confuse arbitrariness with poor training on the part of AT&T CSR's.

Message 26 of 78
Expert

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???


BrianfromNO wrote:

Well, until the regulators step in, those are the rules.  All the major carriers now require data plans with smartphones (and data or text plans with messaging phones).  You can call it arbitrary, anticompetitive, just don't call it late to dinner.

 

Unfortunately, the old definition of what made a smartphone doesn't fit anyone.  AT&T should clearly designate certain OS's as smartphone OS's and be done with it (if they haven't already done so).  And don't confuse arbitrariness with poor training on the part of AT&T CSR's.


 

They tried - they lost, bill from 3 years ago that went no where.

 

The DO indicate what phones are considered smart phones and what phones are consided QMD,  the end user just needs to take a few minutes and read what is shown on the website

 

http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phones/pda-phones-smartphones.jsp

 

If it is an unlocked phone, check the carriers that actually subsidize the phone, if they list it as smart phone and require the data plan then ATT will also. Breif idea of smartphone OS

 

1. Window Mobile

2. Iphone

3. Android based phones

4. RIM based phones

 

Another great indication (although it might change) phones with wireless access are more then likely considerd a smart phone.

 

Don't forget the new QMD designation also, the phones require a messaging plan. Again, like smartphones, ATT has a selection to isolate these

 

Personally do not call the requirement of a data plan or a messaging plan being mandatory anything but a business decision, ATT just was the last in the line of MAJOR carriers to require it.

 

Message 27 of 78
Scholar

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

An OS does not make a phone a smartphone.

 

Symbian S60 runs on various Nokia flip phones (the free ones :-)) while the exact same software on a QWERTY S60 phone makes it a smartphone (i.e.my e71x)

 

QWERTY by itself does not a smartphone make (pre-QMD).

 

802.11, sure, but there's lots of smartphones without 802.11

 

The regulators did not face in 2007 the same situation that exists now. Pre 2007, there were no mandatory data or messaging plans for anyone, and coverage was more or less honest. Enter the dragon in 2007 (iPhone), the AT&T network handled it, let's just say, not as well as it could, outages, no service, mandatory this or that, continued pressure by VZ and AT&T to move away from unlocked phones (unlike the rest of the world) and the perfect storm could be as close as http://klobuchar.senate.gov/newsreleases_detail.cfm?id=281970... The regulators did not 'lose', the bill is still out there, and you better believe that if enough citizens raise the issue it will keep moving. 

 

Also, ETF's were a 'business decision' and we all know how well this worked in the court system. The next shoe that will drop soon will be the revocation of 'unlimited data' as the AT&T guy himself indicated in a trial baloon... Let's see 7,000,000 iPhones grandfathered in while any new iPhones are NOT, and maybe then you'll see what happens when 'business decisions' meet the spotlight.

 

 

Message 28 of 78
Professor

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

You might consider using a dumb phone and an iTouch.
Message 29 of 78
Tutor

Re: Charging for Data Plan even with all data turned off? How is this legal???

Thanks for the advice, Ron, but that's actually what I already do (a little Nokia 6030 and something other than an iTouch) and how all of this started:

"I want to upgrade my phone.  I have no text messaging, no data plan, just phone calls.  I have other wi-fi capable devices that I use at home or on the road that do not make phone calls.  I do not use any telecom wireless data services.  I see no reason not to combine them into a single device such as a smartphone that has telephone and wi-fi capabilities under one roof.

 

It seemed simple enough, I just wanted a new phone with great apps and wifi; basically what I already have but in one package.  Yet because the phone portion is on AT&T's network, they would charge me as if the wifi portion of the phone were on their network (which it is not).  Oh well, when my wife's iPhone contract runs out, we'll just switch to Cincinnati Bell.  It'll be ~$10 cheaper per month, but we'll both get unlimited data (currently only she has data on her iPhone)... and it's funny because we'd still be using AT&T's towers/network. 

Message 30 of 78
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