AT&T sweeping and forcing data plans on all iPhones, CSR computers can't disable

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by leodavinci0, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. leodavinci0 macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2006
    I haven't seen this posted, and thought I would warn everybody.

    I've had the original 2.5G iPhone for about 1.5 years now, and I of course bought it full price (i.e. not subsidized). I don't need data, since I have wifi everywhere but the road, and couldn't justify it so turned it off. When I did that I of course lost SMS, Visual Voice mail, and the "E" in the top left corner of the menubar disappeared. It was like this for the last 1.5 years, until 2.5 weeks ago.

    I noticed the "E" had appeared again, but I still could not receive internet over the cell network. About two weeks ago though, I suddenly realized I had internet over the network. I called and spent quite literally 1 hour, then 2 hours on the phone with CSRs about the issue. It turns out AT&T has now mandated (and is blaming Apple for forcing this by the way, which is BS) that all iPhones, regardless of whether you bought them full price or not, have a data plan. They had turned on pay per use on my phone, and not told me about it. I now had a bill for ~$250 dollars of data ($1 per 100 KB). I told them I bought mine full price and shouldn't need data, the CSR said that the specific wording in the new manual was that all 3Gs have data. Having the 2.5G I said it doesn't apply. Her tech support and manager agreed, but their computer systems were modified to not allow them to turn off data, or to even put a data block on, it was impossible. They erased my ~$250 bill, but said they were only allowed to erase these types of charges once per customer ever. The conversation ended with bascially "tough, you have a data plan now." I, in a little anger, said I would swap SIMS and just have it turned off, then swap back the SIMS. Their response was that they are now sweeping for iPhones and doing this to everyone. And if they caught me doing this, I would not be able to erase the charges again.

    Thus, beware everyone. AT&T is presently acting like a big ass, I only hope Verizon gets the iPhone in 1/2010. With Verizon before I switched, and with AT&T up to now, everything was great. Now I am one of those who hates AT&T. I should not be forced to have a data plan if I payed full price, period.
  2. YoungLew macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    Could you not just unlock it and change carrier?
  3. Engteach macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    If they're only charging you for data that you use, don't use it. Problem solved, right?
  4. theMaccer macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2006
    Personally I dont see the point of having an iPhone without a data plan.
  5. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I'm not for or against apple or att - but when you buy an iphone it's made 100 percent perfectly clear that you have to have a data plan. That you have to sign a contract. What is and isn't included. The fact that some people think they should be able to do whatever they want is irrelevant. If you want to have an iphone, you have to agree to certain terms. Otherwise - get another phone. No one is forcing the phone into your hand. If you decide to do some hack, work around, unlock or whatnot and ATT or Apple becomes aware, they have every right to take action.

    This seems to be a difficult concept for some to understand.
  6. MBHockey macrumors 68040


    Oct 4, 2003
    New York
    That's great, because he was asking for your opinion right?


    The original iPhone was unsubsidized and did not require the $20 unlimited data plan. It is well known that you could simply call up after the phone was activated and remove the data feature.

    But I agree with post #3. Don't use the data if you don't want to pay for it.
  7. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    He's not talking about the first.. he's talking about 2.5, no?

    Am I mistaken?

    And if it's the case of original iphones having a problem - then ATT has no basis and you can remove yourself from the contract. But as I imagine it has been more than 2 years - a contract was up - and you are either on month - to - month (and can cancel) or somewhere you resigned a contract and agreed to the new policy of needing a data plan. In either event - you have options
  8. seand1111 macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    SL, Texas
    If you (and all the others out there that "Cant wait for Verizon to get the iPhone" ) really think that Verizon is not going to make you pay for a data plan, then you are sadly mistaken...Verizon, like ATT, is all about selling and forcing the data plan on its customers with Smart Phones.

    In fact, at Verizon, you can not have a Blackberry without the data plan (well, your not supposed to, but I am sure there are some that do, just like there are some that have iPhones w/o the data plan on ATT).

    Point is, those of you that think Verizon is going to magically do away with the data plan once they get the iPhone, are just being foolish.

    See the attachment...notice the red wording below the 3rd option...Verizon REQUIRES you to have a BB email/data plan. I would bet they would do the same for an iPhone...

    edit: Oh, and i agree that if you pay full price for a phone, you should be able to manage how you use it and what features you want and do not want.

    Attached Files:

  9. abijnk macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    2.5G = 2G = first gen = original iPhone in MacRumors member parlance.
  10. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    But, but Verizon is the Jesus Network! That can't be true!?

    With Verizon the iPhone's going to work much better, never drop calls, have MMS and Tethering (for nothing)....... :rolleyes:
  11. TheNewsPaperBoy macrumors regular


    May 10, 2009
    Go to an AT&T DEALER location, we can't sell the iPhone, but we are able to add and remove iphone features when ever a customer needs us to, so you shouldn't have an issue. You didn't sign a contract at the point of purchase with your 2G mandating that you HAVE TO HAVE a data pkg with your iPhone. The 3G however now mandates you do. Go and have that feature taken off if you dont want it, they cant force you. If not have a location change your IMEI number on your LINE and then remove the feature, fooling the sweeper thinking you have a different phone and you will be good to go. :)
  12. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    The 2.5G iPhone IS the original iPhone. ;)
    And yes, you can (at least up until now) have the data plan removed.
  13. agkm800 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2009
    This is why I decided to go with [iPod Touch + cell phone] over [iPhone + AT&T data plan]. It works for me since I don't need 3G.
  14. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    There have been various ways to get around this, but this OFFICIAL way disappeared when the 3G (not 3GS) came out. Up until that time you could call and have it removed or even remove it yourself via the web page. Not anymore unfortunately.
  15. leodavinci0 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2006
    I can't not use the data plan. The iPhone will automatically use it with certain third and first party software. For example, if I accidentally click the Mail app, it will automatically check the mail and download it even if I have it set to manual. If you are on pay per use, it is impossible to not use some data. And at $1 per 100 KB, it is expensive.

    As others have said, if you pay full price you should be given full control of your features since their is no subsidization. Turning off the data plan was fully legit with the first (2.5G, there technically never was a 2G) iPhone. I only made the comment about Verizon since I only hope Verizon is different and will allow turning off the data if you pay full price. Quoting the BB data plan, or any other subsidized phone is different. For those who don't need data since they have mobile wifi, or are always around a wifi spot, it is cheaper to pay full price and not pay for data, then to buy subsidized.

    No, I am under contract until February.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Well when I purchased my iPhone last year it was stated painfully clear that I was on the hook for the data plan. There's little to complain about since its assumed that most people want/use the data plan. If you're part of the minority just do what others have - cancel the data plan. There's enough threads here detailing the steps needed to cancel it. Basically I believe its telling/lying to ATT that you don't have the iPhone anymore. I think there's more to that but that's where you start the process.
  17. leodavinci0 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2006
    I will check this out again, thanks. Unfortunately I am told that the computers were modified to not allow these changes no matter what. I will check about the IMEI change though, thanks.

    On a side note not directed at you NewsPaperBoy: It's amazing how many people chimed in here without knowing anything about what they are talking about. I wish people would only make educated comments....

    With the original iPhone you were not on the hook for the data plan as you were with the 3G, or if you paid full price for the 3G. The point of the post is that you can't cancel the data plan no matter what, and if you pull the SIM card switch trick, they will simply turn on pay per use and force you to pay up big fees at the end of the month without telling you they did it. This is why I dislike AT&T. And yes, I am in the minority, but there have been many people in many forums that have turned off data since they have mobile wifi, or simply are around wifi hotspots constantly. This trick that may cost many a lot of money is why I'm posting.

    I can not remove myself from the contract, I tried that and they said "absolutely not, sorry." Another reason I dislike AT&T now, and hope Verizon is different. Like I said before, I was on Verizon before, and they helped with many issues; I wouldn't see them doing this.

    Install the fake APN. It will block all data (except for wifi) so you won't get charged. Also, it does NOT require a jailbreak. Go here:

    Problem solved.

    Thank you Spaz, I will check this out later on.
  18. macrumors 65816

    Jun 17, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    haha. the sad thing is people actually believe this would be true. Verizon = free cell service + no problems ever in life... oh, and I think Verizon cured cancer too... :D
  19. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    If the scenario you presented is accurate (and I'm not saying it isn't) and the conditions of the contract changed while under that contract, you have every legal precedent to get out of the contract and they can't refuse you. It's not an option. I would escalate your case within ATT legitimately (and politely) before trying a work-around as you'll have more of a case if they don't see any wacky behavior going on in your account/data/etc.

    Again - this will only work if they changed the terms while you were under contract. Not if they changed it before you resigned or whatnot

    But it should be a simple case

    I bought the phone and paid full price and the agreement I signed with you (ATT) was that I was not required to maintain a data plan.

    I am now being forced to pick a data plan because of a new policy at ATT which goes against the contract I have with you.

    I either want out of my contract, or for any data plans/fees to be removed from my account until my contract expires at which time I'll decide whether or not to continue my business with ATT
  20. leodavinci0 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2006
    They were much better when I had them before, and probably wouldn't do things like force a data plan on unsubsidized phones, or phones out of contract. Stop exaggerating what I wrote and embarrassing yourself.
  21. seand1111 macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    SL, Texas
    While I agree that you should have control over the features if you pay full price..., even when you go to Verizon and select the "month to month" price (full price) for a BB, you still HAVE to select a data they are the same way.

    Keep this in mind...Data is the "new" big $$ maker for wireless carriers. They are going to try and force you to pay for a data plan, even going so far as to refuse selling you a phone if you don’t accept the data plan.

    There was actually a pretty good new article on this exact thing the other day on one of the big networks. Talked about Data plans and the big carriers forcing customers to pay for data, even if they pay full price. Comparing that practice to what the carriers overseas do (customers dictate what they do and don’t need in most places since they normally pay full price for phones overseas). Etc. etc.
  22. leodavinci0 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2006

    I thought the same thing. But I talked to management about this, not the CSR. They were the ones that said no. I guess I can try again... but I expect the same.
  23. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I would call back a few times and be VERY nice about it. Don't sound angry, annoyed, etc. Just state things very clearly and sincerely. This is not what you agreed to.

    Also - you could try asking for the retention department (i.e. you're cancelling your service) I know from my days and Sprint, that the retention department has more power than most managers and CSRs because their ultimate job is to not lose customers...

    Not sure if ATT has the same structure
  24. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    I do understand your situation, but I totally understand why AT&T is doing this. They subsidize the iPhone and depend on the data charges to make up for that. I know they didn't subsidize yours, but they've decided to not allow iPhones on the network w/o a data plan, or in your case, for unsubsidized iPhones you have to pay the $/KB charge. Do you really think Verizon wouldn't do any different?
  25. leodavinci0 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2006
    I can only wish. I guess we'll find out soon enough. It would be great if you could pay a discounted mobile wifi fee if you have a data plan, thereby computer and cell phone internet plans wouldn't be so redundant.

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