AT&T Cracking Down on Smartphone Use Without Data Plan


Last Updated: 2012-12-10 04:19:57
  1. itsallgood

    itsallgood Well-Known Member

    This is just a warning to all those that might be doing this. I gave my son my old Motorola Backflip phone last year in Nov. (He was coming from a featured phone.) I had no plan to obtain a data package and just let him use the wifi in our home and AT&T wifi hotspots around town.

    Well today, we got an e-mail thanking us for our changes to our wireless plan. So I was puzzled about this since we never made any changes. To make a long story short, after talking with customer service, their computer made the change automatically to the 3GB plane for $30. I was told that all smartphones have to have a data plan, even if you don't use data. (Some how the system can tell if its a smartphone.) Was told they are cracking down.

    I think its crazy seeing that you can't use that data anyway, without the data plan, or am I wrong?

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  2. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Well-Known Member

    Nothing new. They've been doing that for a while now (since 2008 or 2009, I think). They don't always catch it instantly but if AT&T knows the IMEI for your phone is a smartphone, sooner or later, the system sweep is gonna automatically add a data plan to your account. One reason why you're better off getting a smartphone on subsidy rather than paying full price.
  3. Lebo

    Lebo Well-Known Member

    You can convert the smartphone to a GoPhone account and then not buy data for it. Smartphones on the GoPhone((prepaid)) service are cut off from data unless data is bought seperately. So they CAN do it your way but good luck on getting them to do so.
  4. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

    While I usually lean on the side of "don't buy it" I have to side with you here. Mandatory data plans are utter nonsense IMO.

    It's like trying to charge someone extra for a phone line because they have a fax machine.
  5. here4kids

    here4kids Member

    I bought my husband (who does not want data) a tmobile sidekick that was unlocked for ATT. it does not use the same data configuration that ATT does, so it is perfect for him. he has a qwerty keyboard, a very decent phone, and ATT can't charge data. Though, he can't get on wifi either, like your son would want to do.
  6. dolaku

    dolaku New Member

    I bought a smartphone from ebay, put in my SIM card, and the next morning received a text that told me they started a data plan appropriate for my phone. So instead, I put that SIM card back into my old dummy phone, called AT&T and told them my friends were messing with my phone and switch my SIM into one of their smartphones. They gladly removed the dataplan after checking the IMEI code and making sure it really wasn't a smartphone.

    Then I hung up, waited a minute or so, and called AT&T again. Now talking to a different phone staff, I asked if it was possible to block data from being sent to my phone (SIM is in the dummy phone). I know this is possible because my mom used to push the internet button on her phone all the time accidentally and getting charged extra, so we blocked her phone from that ability (no matter how many times she pushes the internet key now, wooo).

    After they turn off your SIM card's ability to receive data, you can switch it into your smartphone and surf the web all you want with wifi.

    If you want to make sure this actually works, during your next billing cycle, log into AT&T to view your account, click [Add/change features], and under [Moble Web Packages] it should show that your current selection for data is opt-out, which costs nothing!

    Enjoy! :D
    IOWA likes this.
  7. Aokusman

    Aokusman Well-Known Member

    This does work. Its robbery to force data on customers.
  8. onecent

    onecent New Member

    If you ask AT&T to block the data plan, will you still be able to download pictures?
  9. unixphish

    unixphish New Member

    I called in the past to have data blocked so we would not accidentally hit the internet. When I did this, texts and picture downloads were also blocked. The ATT rep claimed they could not distinguish the difference between internet, text, and picture data, which is BS because calls on a digital phone are data, and they charge separately for pictures/text and internet access data.
  10. dangeorges

    dangeorges New Member

    SMS is ok - works fine in this scenario because it uses the cellular radio version of AT&T's network

    MMS will not work, since that uses the "internet' portion of AT&T's network.

    Note: SMS (short message service) is "text messaging", MMS (multimedia messaging service) is for sending pictures or text.
    IOWA likes this.
  11. semenzato

    semenzato New Member

    I'll post this to a newer thread if I find it, but in the meanwhile:

    My daughter uses an unlocked Nexus S, which we used successfully for over a year without paying for the data plan (and without using data, of course).

    Upon returning from vacation in Italy (where cell service is better and cheaper) we forgot to turn data off and the phone was auto-enrolled in the $30/month plan. I noticed it when I received the first bill.

    I called AT&T and explained the situation, and asked to cancel the plan and turn off data so that we would not be accidentally re-enrolled in it. The operator did both without any objection. The web site reflected the change after a few minutes. (Note that the web site does not allow this change---you need to talk to an operator.)

    That's good because I would have (quietly) switched to T-Mobile otherwise (and I may still do so...).

    Small consolation because, as far as I am concerned, we are still in deep doo-doo with consumer choice and protection in the wireless industry. But better than nothing.
  12. tonythedamb2

    tonythedamb2 New Member

    I've had my Backflip for 2 years with no problem and no plan. Purchased it unlocked, and put in a Puretalk SIM card that costs me $10/mo. I get 130 minutes and (since I don't use the phone much) never exceed that. How can they force me to buy their plan? I own the phone, or don't I? Don't make me become a political activist, please!
    Tony in Rindge, NH
  13. oilwellsjb

    oilwellsjb New Member

    I read this thread with great interest. I am one of four in my AT&T family plan, two kids have iphones while my wife and I stuck with the old flip phones and we have data blocked on those oldies so that we can use SMS and voice only. A smartphone sounds fun but I don't need to have cel-based internet or immediate email delivery - I'm happy to wait until I can use wifi. Just want a phone to make calls - but it would be nice if it had a big screen, played games, had a visual contact list, wifi access for email downloading etc.

    With that in mind, I called AT&T customer service and asked them what would happen if I put my SIM into a Nexus S, HTC Freestyle or similar. I was told that their system would, within a few hours, detect the smartphone and even though data was blocked on the old phones, a data plan would be established for that phone. I asked if that were to happen could I then call them and ask for the data plan to be cancelled and data to be again blocked (as semenzato suggested). I was told that was not something they would be able to do for me.

    So, was this guy bluffing me? Anyone else tried this approach and got past AT&T's smartphone security?
  14. masonjar97

    masonjar97 New Member

    I have been using a Samsung Captivate for 2 years now without a data plan. I have a data block in my SIM. The key to doing this is getting the phone out of contract. I was due for an upgrade, when my dad "lost" his phone, so he called AT&T. He used my upgrade to replace his phone. He then gave me his new phone and pulled his "lost" phone out of his pocket. It has been working fine since. Just remember to keep Cellular Data off.

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