anti trust / mandatory data plans

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by hipeye01, May 4, 2011.

  1. hipeye01 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    #1
    Like a lot of people, I would be interested in an iphone or other mac compatible wifi phone but don't need the "always connected" internet access provided by a data plan. The problem is ,as far as I can tell, none of the major providers allow you to have a wifi phone without mandating the purchase of a data plan.

    At one point there were rumblings of an antitrust suit that would change that. As I understand it, the premise is that mandatory data plans may violate antitrust laws that prevent the "tying" of services. An extreme analogy would be a water utility offering residential water supply, but if it considers your home "sprinkler compatible" (and guess what, it has decided that all homes built after 1950 are) it will not sell you access to the water supply unless you also purchase a sprinkler installation and maintenance plan.

    I haven't seen much on the status of any investigations or suits since the FTC opened an "unofficial investigation" in 2009. Does anyone know the current status? With wifi coverage increasing and over a quarter of cell phone users owning smart phones, I would think this would be of interest to a lot of consumers (voting block).
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    That's ludicrous, an iPhone or other phone needs a data plan. Don't want a data plan don't buy an iPhone.
     
  3. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    Seems to me, the anti-trust laws would only apply if the carriers didn't offer any other types of phone that didn't require you to have a data plan. You don't have to get a phone that has a required data plan. It is your choice to do so.
     
  4. forcetactic macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #4
    Tmo lets you go without a data plan if you bring in your own phone or you buy a smartphone at an unsubsidized price
     
  5. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #5
    Exactly.

    AT&T and Verizon offer phones without data. And on the other side, Apple offers an iPod Touch without the phone parts.

    There are lots of options out there. And if the OP is really interested in data from AT&T but without a contract then they have the iPad for that!

    They'd have to kill all of these options before I'd take this complaint seriously.
     
  6. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #6
    The investigation will go nowhere. The iphone does not function as designed without a celullar data connection. It is a smart-phone and smart-phones need data service to do their smart stuff.

    Besides using a data connection for browsing, maps, emails and downloading apps... the phone also sends various statistics about usage back to the carrier.

    An 'anti-trust' investigation will not bear any fruit because AT&T offers many other phones which are designed to not need data at all.

    What you suggest would be like suing Chevy for not making a Corvette that can run on low-octane fuel
     
  7. BL4zD macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    #7
    Actually, if Chevy owned and produced the US supply of high-octane fuel, and then required you to fill it's Corvettes with only that fuel, they would be subject to anti-trust regulations--that's the purpose of those laws.

    Secondly, there isn't any reason iPhone users can't subscribe to edge services or pay-per-use 3g data. The only reason is AT&T is forcing subscriptions of their 3g data plans on all new smartphone users. That's how their behavior falls under "tying" of services.
     
  8. rotlex macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    PA
    #8
    Not sure about the law suit aspect, hate lawsuits and lawyers :D, but I totally agree that a data plan is not "needed" for an iPhone, or any smart phone. Seriously, you don't have data outside of wifi on an iPod Touch, so what's the real difference? For years I had a Treo with Sprint, no data plan, just phone, and used the "smart phone" part as a PDA. The iPhone, when syncing with a computer, and having wifi access, would be quite useable without the forced data charge every month.
     
  9. scaredpoet, May 5, 2011
    Last edited: May 5, 2011

    scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #9
    You DO know such a thing exists, right?

    It's called the iPod Touch.


    The difference is that the iPod touch isn't sold and is never subsidized by any cellular carrier, and it never accesses the cellular network (short of using a wifi hotspot... which requires... a data plan!).

    I agree that if you buy an iPhone outright, full price, no subsidy, then you shouldn't have to get a data plan, and on that basis, someone might have a case. But you don't really have a leg to stand on if you're one of those people who have taken advantage of 2-year contract pricing, and then have taken advantage again of the early upgrade opportunities. The reality is, those subsidies have to be recouped.


    Actually, GM does almost exactly what you describe, and has not caught any heat for it.

    If you look in the manuals of 2011 and later vehicles, they are requiring owners to use a GM-approved "dexos1" or "dexos2" engine oil in their cars. Engine oil vendors have to pay a license fee to get certified, and most certainly that cost is passed on to car owners at each oil change. If they find you haven't been using it, and your engine calls it quits, they have an out to not cover the repairs.

    But it's not really an antitrust issue... because you can choose to buy something else if you're not happy with what they require.
     
  10. JRoDDz, May 5, 2011
    Last edited: May 5, 2011

    JRoDDz macrumors 68000

    JRoDDz

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    No it doesn't. Many people have WiFi in their homes and jobs. The iPhone works like a regular phone without a data plan. I can make calls, send sms messages etc. without a data plan. Your point is moot.
     
  11. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #11
    And if you get yourself and iPod touch, you can get Skype, make calls, send SMS, and never once have to pay a dime to cell companies.


    It's not mute. It's not moot, either.
     
  12. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    London
    #12
    Actually it's a moo point. It's like a cow's opinion- it just doesn't matter.
     
  13. FSMBP macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #13
    Your point is horrible. The appeal of an iPhone is that it's an all-in-one. So, you're saying he should get an iPod touch & a cell phone? You would be carrying around two separate devices, making sure each one is charged, & keeping track of both.

    What I'm saying is, carriers should allow people to buy iPhones at a higher price & not require data (ex. 16GB iPhone 4 would be $299).

    Or, if say, I gave my old iPhone 3GS to a friend (as a gift), and he should be able to use that iPhone on AT&T without requiring a data plan; the reason for that is, I already paid for the iPhone, used it 2 years on AT&T and paid for data for 24 months.

    In the last scenario, AT&T is being more than greedy because its gotten the money back & then some.
     
  14. rotlex macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    PA
    #14
    That doesn't really fly though. (Regarding the subsidized pricing). How is that tied to any data plan? I'm still tied to a two year contract for cellular\phone service. The forced data plan is nothing more than a way of sucking more money out of a subscriber. (Kind of like charging $30 per month for unlimited family texting).
     
  15. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #15
    Ok, that'd be nice.

    How is it an anti-trust issue?

    I'd love for McDonalds to sell pizza and tacos along with hamburgers. They don't. But that doesn't mean they're breaking the law. I can't just say they are because I want those things.
     
  16. FSMBP macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #16
    Reread my post - I never said it was.

    My argument was that data-plans should not be mandatory (in the certain situations).
     
  17. Orion126 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    #17
    My sister got my 3G when I upgraded and she lives on campus that is covered with free wifi. She doesn't need it and luckily TMO doesn't require it.

    Really hop that doesn't change should AT&T acquire TMO.
     
  18. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    #18
    its only when you buy the phone on contract price you need the data, you cant get a iphone for $199 then not put a data plan on it thats why its only $199 they think they will get 2 years of data plan from you, just pay full price for the phone and you can use how you want
     
  19. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    #19
    why would they subsidize the price if your not paying for the "hidden" services that they used to come up with that subsidized price? i think most carriers let you opt out of data plans for around $200
     
  20. Bobby Corwen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #20
    This isn't about anti-trust, this is about not wanting them to do business. They provide a service that costs them billions to maintain. If you don't want to be a part of that convenience, dont pay the premium and go wireless-less.

    3G data is a priveledge and a premium service, not a right.

    Ten years ago there was no such thing.

    We built this industry on our backs in a decade and made this national network possible with those 40$ fees.

    So don't tell ME about fees...
     
  21. FSMBP macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #21
    Fine. Then by that logic, AT&T should not require a data-plan if you buy an iPhone at full price ($599)? Well, guess what? They don't do that. They still require any iPhone that is on their network to use a data plan.

    Also, they make it up for charging you $39.99/month a line. Especially since Voice usage in cellphones is decreasing & how they charge for texts(which costs them nothing), I think if AT&T offered a $299/Non-data requiring iPhone, they'd still make outrageous amount of money.
     
  22. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #22
    That is incorrect. It doesn't matter how you get the iPhone, if you use it on at&t's network they require you to have a data plan.
     
  23. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    #23
    wow AT&T are brutal i stand corrected, the carriers in Canada let you opt out of your data plan for around $200
     
  24. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    #24
    thats brutal that they dont allow you to pay to get out of the data plan
     
  25. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #25
    Yeah, it sucks, but that is the name of the game here in the US.
     

Share This Page