Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

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Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

I would like to understand the legal justification for AT&T to require a customer to take the data plan with an iphone.  specificaly, if a customer acquired an iphone from a former ATT customer  (i.e., bought on ebay an iphone that was no longer on contract), and simply put in their existing voice-only SIM card, what legal grounds does AT&T have to require the customer to take the data service?

 

in this 'hypothetical' case the customer has the 3G turned off and is only using the GSM voice network connection.  the iphone is being used just as any other simple voice phone would after the SIM card installed.  All local applications run (cocntacts, games, etc), but no data service other tha Wi-Fi connection.

 

several key legal rulings over the last 100 years have established that the phone company can not tie the service to the device unfairly and this would seem to apply here.   seems analogous to charging differently rates for Samsung versus Motorola phones with same capability.

 

I understand the AT&T believes and states "it is required" but i am trying to understand whether anyone has real data and info on the legal grounds for AT&T's position here.

 

thanks

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Message 1 of 9
Master

Re: Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

If you want real data on the legal grounds go out and hire a lawyer.

 

If you want want peoples speculations you can ask here.

 

To date is has stood up as being valid and there has been no sucessful cases that I can find that have challenged it.  If anyone had won since last year when it went into effect it would have already been posted.

 

So right now your options are to get a phone that requires it and accept the data plan, use a phone that doesn't requires the data plan so you don't have to accept it, or get a lawyer and challange it.

Message 2 of 9

Re: Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

Currently do to limitations of the "ruling bodies" who govern the telecommunications industry, the carriers are pretty much able to run "free" and charge as they'd like. These terms are directly listed in their terms of service. The carriers took huge hits on data ppu charges in the past few yrs w/ the popularity of the web on cellphones and the enhanced versions nowadays cuse more confusion. The carriers began to protect themselves from having issues w/ customers calling for credits for "unauthorized" charges by making the plans mandatory. AT&T particularly tried using data blocks, highly recommended unlimited data plans, and even data notification msgs that would alert a customer as to when they hit certain points in their data alottlement but the MAJORITY of the users didn't pay these no mind UNTIL they got the steep bills the following month. Now, such mandatory plans are covered whereas the carriers can charge them. Even MetroPCS, the seeminlg low cost prepaid service provider has joined the mandatory data plan wagon trail as well by having plans that are unlimited for basic phones and then those that are unlimited for smartphones and those unlimited for blackberrys. So everyone's doing, just at a different price.

 


I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s positions, strategies or opinions.
Message 3 of 9
Scholar

Re: Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

 

The problem is that turning off 3G does not turn off data.  Your iPhone will still do its thing, and apps are still able to get on the internet.

 

Technically, AT&T can turn off the data for any device they like.  They've done it, and if you pop a prepaid SIM into an iPhone, there is *no* data.  It's that they choose not to block data, and whether or not that is a tying contract is not for me to decide.  I have to believe the reason they get away with it is that some young lawyer looking to make a dent hasn't produced a good argument or taken a case pro bono.

 

Maybe you'll be that test.  Until then, they'll continue to charge for it.

 

 

Message 4 of 9

Re: Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

That's a good point, with phones which you can turn off data in the phone without any issues you'd probably have the case, but with so many iphone features relying on data, that you can't actually turn off, other than airplane mode, but on the iPhone it relies on data for so many automatic functions that using an iPhone without data becomes very difficult.

 

For instance the GPS on the iphone is A-GPS which uses data, they could argue the support calls due to non functioning items on the iphone without a data plan would be cost prohibitive.

 

Their is one way to get around the data plan required, pre-paid, of course you need to buy the phone outright, which is 600-700 dollars, but it doesn't require a data plan, any data used is charged at $.01 / KB, which relates to $10/MB so you better be sure that your phone really isn't using data.

 

Data on pay as you go can also be bought in packs of $5/1mb or $20 for 100mb but they expire after 30 days

I myself plan on using a pay as you go card with an extra android phone I'm getting for development purposes, since I won't be using text or minutes it's cheaper to just buy 3G data at $20/100mb when I need it, rather than getting a full plan 

 

I don't normally argue for cell phone providers, but given the huge subsidy they provide on smartphones I can't really argue with them requiring data plans on a device that is designed to expect it always has data access and can't be used to it's potential without data, also with lower $15 data plans for light users it becomes much fairer sounding than the old $30 no matter how much you use model for light users.

 

Now for heavy users like me on my iPhone the new plans suck, which is another reason why I'm not adding my development android phone to my AT&T plan, possibly causing a new contract not just a renewal and hence losing my grandfathered unlimited data.

Message 5 of 9

Re: Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

I missed your point on particularly if you acquire the phone from a friend or online, like I said the prepaid option might be their loophole, you can technically use the phone on prepaid without a data plan, using the phone without data is simply not compatible with postpaid, which could very well be a legal loophole for AT&T.

Message 6 of 9
Expert

Re: Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service


tlh53 wrote:

I would like to understand the legal justification for AT&T to require a customer to take the data plan with an iphone.  specificaly, if a customer acquired an iphone from a former ATT customer  (i.e., bought on ebay an iphone that was no longer on contract), and simply put in their existing voice-only SIM card, what legal grounds does AT&T have to require the customer to take the data service?

 

in this 'hypothetical' case the customer has the 3G turned off and is only using the GSM voice network connection.  the iphone is being used just as any other simple voice phone would after the SIM card installed.  All local applications run (cocntacts, games, etc), but no data service other tha Wi-Fi connection.

 

several key legal rulings over the last 100 years have established that the phone company can not tie the service to the device unfairly and this would seem to apply here.   seems analogous to charging differently rates for Samsung versus Motorola phones with same capability.

 

I understand the AT&T believes and states "it is required" but i am trying to understand whether anyone has real data and info on the legal grounds for AT&T's position here.

 

thanks


you don;t need 3G to be able to use data and browse

 

when the phone goes to sleep wifi is turned off, when it wakes up the carrier network is in use so any push when the phone is blacked out will ignore wifi and go to the carrier network. Have cleared the usage statistics at night and checked the new morning to see sent and recieved data, with wifi being off it went out over the cellular network.

 

As mentjoned you want opinions - ask here, you want legal advice pay the lawyers per hour fee and ask them to have their people research it for you.

Message 7 of 9
Mentor

Re: Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

I can tell you right now:

 

 

pre-paid ATT services do NOT work on the Iphone,

 

 

that being said, 

 

ATT has every right to charge you for what ever they feel like. Data is no free, in fact, they are investing billions into making a betting network for data users (and talkers of course) 

 

Is internet at home free? then why should ATT be any different. Id love to pay nothing, but I think the prices are fair, and i think it is worth every penny. ATT is not the only that does this, every carrier charges for data on any smart phone

 


I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represents AT&T's position, strategies or opinion.
Message 8 of 9
Highlighted
Teacher

Re: Question on legalityof requiring iphone data service

Legalities do not play in.

 

ATT offers iphone as a package of voice and data. Buy or Pass.

 

Here is an analogy.

 

Go to the supermarket. See a box of oatmeal cookies marked $3.99....pay it or pass. You cant go to the manager and say "But I dont want the raisens and I want a price without them".

Message 9 of 9
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