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Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

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Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

I have 3 lines in a family plan. One of them uses an old iPhone 3G that is finishing its 2-year commitment (the other 2 use iPhone4s). I don't want to use the data plan on this 3G anymore, since my daughter only uses it for messaging and (very few) phone calls. However, she does use the "iPod side" of the 3G and sometimes its wifi so she really wants to keep her 3G while I really want to stop paying for a $15/month service I don't use at all.

I'm aware that an iPhone requires a data plan, but can't I use the iPhone as just a normal phone within my very same ATT family plan? I'm not talking about jailbraking or unlocking, but just to use my current (uncommited) iPhone as a normal ATT phone that happens to be also and iPod and a "mini-wifi-only-ipad".

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Message 1 of 93
Master

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

No you cannot.

 

If you use an iPhone with AT&T you are required to have a data plan attached to that line of service.

 

 

Message 2 of 93
Professor

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

You said it yourself, the iPhone requires a data plan.

Message 3 of 93
Scholar

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

You can, of course, use the iPhone as just an iPod with Wi-Fi access, but if you want cell phone access, you have to have a data plan also, I use the $15 200MB plan, and I am doing quite well with it. Haven't exceeded my 200MB yet. I try to be sure that anything that requires heavy network usage (tunes download, etc.) are done with Wi-Fi.

 

Have you thought about just getting a cheap cell phone for calls and text?

Message 4 of 93
Tutor

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

Thanks for your reply and for taking the time to address my question.

Yet, I don't think this is quite settled to me. I understand, and included in my message, that if I want a smartphone (being an iPhone or not) then I must have a data plan. I also understand that I must keep this data plan for 2 years as part of my contract. I did both for the required contractual period.

However, The question that I have is a bit different because:

1 - I don't have a contractual obligation to keep my data plan.

2 - My iPhone has no liability with ATT (i.e. its an ATT phone that I've already paid for the subsidized portion by keeping my plan for 2 years)

3 - I don't want to use a smartphone as a smartphone, just as a basic cell phone

If so, what prevents me to use it as I'd use any regular cell phone in a regular voice account? 

To see this from a different perspective, suppose I have a pospaid account (i.e. regular, monthly paid, voice only service) and use a basic cell phone with it. Then, further imagine that I get this old smartphone with no subsidies and simply insert the SIM card in it while disabling its data features. Why can't it just work as a phone if I am:

A - Not using any data feature or planing to do so

B - Not attached to any contractual obligation (e.g. as when you buy a subsidized phone)

C - Still paying ATT for my sole and legit use of its voice network

My own feeling for the scenario above is that had I been using any other smartphone this would be simply a matter of exchanging the SIM from the basic phone to the smartphone while disabling the latter's 3G/Edge services.

That is, anyone with an unlocked, non-Apple smartphone (with its data features disabled) can simply use it as a normal phone in a regular ATT voice-only contract (or anywhere else around the world).

If that is true, then the only issue I have is the fact that iPhones (as mentioned many times in this forum) are locked by default in conformance to Apple's and ATT's policies. Again, I'm ok with it since I have fulfilled my commitment and I'm not changing carriers, but I think it is unfair to force one to unnecessarily buy a basic phone when he already has a legibly bought device that can handle basic phone calls.

Please, let me know if any of you has heard of or has had any experience on this (i.e. using an unlocked smartphone with disabled data features as a regular phone with ATT).

 

Message 5 of 93
Professor

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

What prevents you from using a smartphone without a data plan is the terms of service.  Regardless of having a contract or not, you must agree to the terms of service to have service with AT&T.

 

If you do not agree to the terms of service, then find another provider that will allow you to utilize a smartphone without a data plan.

 

 

 

Message 6 of 93
Former Employee

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

There is no required contractual period, as long as you use an iPhone (or any Smartphone) you're required to have a data plan. Even if you use an unlocked smartphone, as soon as AT&T's systems recognize what phone it is, and they will recognize it, a data plan will be automatically added to it. Save your time, it has been discussed many times before, with countless, good arguments on both sides, final answer: there is no way around it.

Message 7 of 93
Tutor

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

@smalcom:

Thanks for your reply. I only saw your message after posting my reply to the other two posts attempting to answer my original message.

Yes, simply buying a basic phone for messages and voice is an option I'm considering (#4 below). 

At this very point my daughter is using her iPhone 3G as an iPod that handles her ~3000 monthly messages and few occasional phone calls. In addition to the 700 min family plan, I pay for the unlimited messaging and for the $15/month 200MB data plan. However, she only accesses data when at home (wifi) for downloading apps once in a while. Last month her data usage was 8mb, and even this most likely had happened when my son came from college vacations and used her 3G for a day. That is, in the end I'm paying and extra $180 every year just to avoid her carrying multiple devices (i.e. cheap cell phone plus a phone-disabled iPhone).

To avoid this, my strategy is to try each of the steps below (in priority order):

1 - Try to show ATT how ridiculous this is (i.e. being forced to carry an extra phone when you really don't need it) and simply ask them to allow me to use the iPhone as a phone.

2 - Buy an unlocked, non-Apple smartphone, open an ATT voice-only plan and use this smartphone as a regular phone (my daughter would still have her messaging, music, and apps all in one device) - I know this is expensive, but the whole issue is every day becoming more a matter of personal frustration that logical reasoning at this point.

3 - Quit ATT for a carrier that allows me to do #2 above (come on, I've been a loyal customer for many years, why can't I just use a phone as a phone? - Besides, I still pay ~$150/monthly for the 2 iPhone4s my wife and I use)

4 - Buy the cheap phone and force my daughter to carry yet another device in her purse.

 

On a separate but related issue, I'm all but sure to face the same issue when my iPhone4s plans come to an end next year. If #1 above proves to be a solution then I'll simply upgrade them for iPhone5s (at a cost of two years of contract with ATT @$1800 year + the voice-only account) and handle one of the iPhone4s to replace my daughter's aging 3G when the right time comes. If #2 is ok then I'll move to androids or Blackberries (as much as I like the iPhones, this is really frustrating). If #3 is ok then I'll be sadly leaving ATT and iPhones altogether . If #4 is the only option then I'll look further and consider other alternatives.

Again, thanks for taking your time to help me out on this.

 

 

 

Message 8 of 93
Tutor

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

@satchev:

Thanks! I believe you settled it. I'll start my search for a provider that allows me to do it and will phase out my lines with ATT as they reach the end of their respective 2-year periods.

Any recommendation is welcomed! 

 

@drumn_bass:

Your reply is much appreciated. I did browse the forum and found most of what you properly summarized in your post. Although this seems to be a petty savings discussion from my part, the matter of fact is that I simply feel betrayed by having a $250/monthly bill and yet being prevented to trim the extra $15 I'm paying for nothing, specially considering that I did it for 2 years as required so it is hard to justify being forced to keep with it. I know this is largely a personal matter so I won't be venting my frustrations here (more than I already did) and will simply follow satchev's advice. 

Message 9 of 93

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

i sent you a pm. please read before making any decisions.
Message 10 of 93
Professor

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

No one has been successful with #1, getting AT&T to let you use an iPhone without a data plan. You aren't the first person to ask, by far.
Message 11 of 93
Tutor

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

@dwill05:

I see. It is understandable that they wouldn't allow a new smartphone to be used as a phone, since they are subsidizing it and need the two-year commitment to square out the costs. Also, they get brand loyalty with it, since one is less likely to change carriers after a 2-year contract in which no major issues happened and the service was fine. However, once this is done, it becomes less than justifiable to prevent a long term user to use his device as a simple phone. They are basically forcing me to carry an extra device for no reason and pushing me to other carriers out of frustration.

Message 12 of 93
Master

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

 


adelfi23 wrote:

@dwill05:

I see. It is understandable that they wouldn't allow a new smartphone to be used as a phone, since they are subsidizing it and need the two-year commitment to square out the costs. Also, they get brand loyalty with it, since one is less likely to change carriers after a 2-year contract in which no major issues happened and the service was fine. However, once this is done, it becomes less than justifiable to prevent a long term user to use his device as a simple phone. They are basically forcing me to carry an extra device for no reason and pushing me to other carriers out of frustration.


Unfortunately until others do the same and leave in mass for the same reason, things will not change.  Keep in mind the opposite situation, you do not have a data plan, you try to do everything possible to cut off cellular data which is difficult to do and you get a Hugh bill and are looking for some relief.  Most carriers are following the same policy; if you have a smart phone, you must have the data plan.  If you switch to a basic phone for the term of your contract to meet that obligation, you may drop the data plan.

 

_____________________

For service or support questions including existing order status, call:
Customer Support: 1-800-331-0500

Information on iPhone unlocking can be found here by copying this link into your browser:
https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/
Message 13 of 93

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

i sent you a private message. read it. it will help you out.
Message 14 of 93
Highlighted
Professor

Re: Using iPhone 3G with no data plan

The only solution that I see for you is to go to T-Mobile as an Even More Plus customer.  You will have to get phones that will work on T-Mobile's network at the off-contract price.  That way, you are not required to have the data plan on a smartphone.  However, you will pay a considerable cost upfront. 

 

If you really want your daughter to be able to keep the iPhone on T-Mobile, the solution to that can't be discussed here.

Message 15 of 93
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