iPhone without an imposed data plan?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by BeyondtheTech, Sep 7, 2010.


If you had the option to drop your data plan on your iPhone 4, would you do it?

  1. Yes

    6 vote(s)
  2. No

    44 vote(s)
  3. Maybe

    4 vote(s)
  4. Other

    0 vote(s)
  1. BeyondtheTech macrumors 68020


    Jun 20, 2007
    Before everyone gets all riled up and flinging insults and frivolous comments at me or each other, I am hoping people can put their emotions aside and their thinking caps on, so I can get educated and well-formed responses on this matter.

    I am a big iPhone and Apple fan (had every generation on their opening days), and I am somewhat in that "70%+ satisfied group" when it comes to AT&T Mobility (nothing beats simultaneous voice/data, SIM swapping, and generally accepted technology around the world). I know that if it was exclusive on any other carrier, we'd probably having similar growth issues, as stated in the Wired article.

    And, since I'm a big supporter of Apple, the iPhone, and AT&T, I'd want everyone to have it, too. The $199 starting price is a fairly easy pill to swallow for a device that does so much.

    That being said, I've run into a number of people who are resistant in getting the iPhone, or any smartphone for that matter, simply because of the imposed data plan. Granted, AT&T recently made that pill easier to swallow also with the new data plans of $15 and $25 for 200MB and 2GB, respectively.

    Some of these people, including my parents and grandparents, are constantly at home or in a Wi-Fi area, making even that extra $15 a month nothing more than wasted money.

    So my question is, why should a smartphone be charged a "premium" for cellular data that might not or definitely not be used?

    You're probably itching to reply back, but let me bring up some additional detail and arguing points.
    • For those who will say, "Why not get an iPod touch? There's no contract," or "If you can afford an iPhone, you should be able to afford everything that goes with it." The iPhone is still a phone, whereas the iPod touch is not. If I needed to contact my grandmother, for instance, that number and her iPhone would ring, regardless if she was in a Wi-Fi hotspot or not at the time. The iPod touch would have to be in a Wi-Fi hotspot in order for a VoIP application to work. Also, $15 is $15, no matter how you slice it, and I know you wouldn't willingly throw $15 into the wind every month for two or more years straight, knowing you'll get nothing out of it.
    • A data-less iPhone is not a useless device. Not everything requires data service. There are hundreds of thousands of apps in the App Store, and some of them run perfectly in Airplane Mode or in a tunnel on the subway. Not everyone wants or needs multiplayer, nor do many apps require you to be connected to the cloud to use.
    • Wi-Fi is more than enough for a lot of people. FaceTime is Wi-Fi only for now, and since AT&T and its users were bitching enough about their network issues for the past three years, they should be more than willing to accept iPhone users who don't want to suck up their 3G data, so long as they can get past the huge green dollar signs in front of their greedy, beady eyes. Wi-Fi hotspots are more prevalent now than ever before, and they're only getting bigger and more spread out, making 3G data even secondary in some places.
    • The data plan does not apply towards the subsidy. Although it's been argued many times and many threads before, it's the actual voice plan and contract that really holds the key to the subsidized price and therefore the ETF.
    • Even if you were to cancel your contract or buy an iPhone straight out, placing that iPhone on an AT&T account may be subject to a data plan automatically tacked on to the number. This is due to the database of IMEI numbers that AT&T knows about, and the only way around this is by purchasing an iPhone outside of the country. If you haven't gotten a text message warning on your no-data iPhone 3GS or 4, you're just lucky.
    • AT&T maintains that they had these new plans in place to prevent unnecessary overages. However, it's known that Cellular Data can be turned off in the iPhone's Network settings. In fact, you can't (legally) turn on Internet Tethering without calling AT&T to turn it on, so why can't they just turn data off the same way? Also, the iPad 3G is a perfect example of where a SIM card without an activated data plan will simply prompt to you activate with AT&T, and you'll get no data if you don't, or if you go over. So, the overage thing is bunk.

    I'm really happy with the iPhone 4, and dumbphones are going the way of the dodo. I just don't want to see people choosing something dumb (pun intended) because of these impositions by AT&T, or any other carrier, for that matter. Just as people argue that they shouldn't be charged the additional $20 for tethering feature (with no added bandwidth, mind you), I'm also for people being able to get an iPhone 4 or any smartphone without having to cough up a data plan, especially when it really can be turned off at either the network or the phone's end.

    What's your take on this?
  2. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    My take is that people should have a choice or the option to accept or decline a data service. Unfortunatelly with most carriers posing the same rule I don't see it changing any time soon.
  3. forcetactic macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    Yes, I'd drop it. I have wifi almost everywhere I go and there's absolutely no need to check emails/facebook/twitter 24/7
  4. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    I'd still keep it but yeah, it should be an option to not have it.

    It's not gonna happen, though. I'd sure like to have a free Macbook Air, too. Doesn't mean anything.
  5. Subwaymac macrumors regular


    Apr 1, 2009
    The iPhone is a mobile device, just because some old folks stay home and play with it dose not mean everyone will. Those old people should have a iPad or iMac and a go phone
  6. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2009
    In a way the mandatory data plan has been a blessing. A lot of people (myself included) would have never signed up for the data plan had we had the option of not having it. Yet now we would never have wifi data only.

    But the answer your question, the only reason we can sell our iPhones every year for =/> what we bought them for is because AT&T pays that insane subsidy for the phone and they only do that because they know the data plan will make up for it. Sure the data plan isn't officially part of the subsidy/contract but AT&T sure as hell uses it to makeup the subsidy which is great for us because it keeps the no-commitment price insanely high keeping the resale value high.
  7. quarmace macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2008
    The mandatory data plan was the main reason I decided to go with Tmobile for my wife and my iPhones. There's free wifi at about 80% of the places we go - so there's no point in paying $720 a year for a service we don't need. We still enjoy every feature of the iphone (including FaceTime, which is fantastic).

    We'd probably be with AT&T if it wasn't for this.
  8. narimonk macrumors regular


    Jul 15, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    Although I understand where a lot of people come from not wanting to have data forced onto them, I have to say it's good thing for the majority of iPhone owners. If we didn't have that data plan the price of the phone would be 600-700$ And considering the phone is designed to have constant internet access. And if you don't want the data plan you don't have to get the phone. God(Jobs) has made the iTouch for you dataless people to enjoy!
  9. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I would still have the data plan even if it wasn't required. I don't want to have to search for wifi when I'm out and about.
  10. Showtime3 macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    i would pay another $5 for unlimited data. i did the whole tmobile/iphone/wifi thing and its for the birds. i love being able to go anywhere and be able to quickly look something up. it was just annoying having to approve a wifi connection anytime i used data. now with 3g unrestictor i can facetime over 3g. those luxuries are definitely worth $1/day
  11. quarmace macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2008
    I guess it depends on your situation. If you don't live in an area that has wifi readily available, I can see how data plan would be worth it.
  12. Jetaray macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2010
    Rollingstone, MN
    I don’t agree turning off the data plan is just a flip of a switch item. AT&T would NEED a system in place to do this task and that will cost money (how much I have no idea). As a business AT&T would never implement a system that in the end will reduce revenue. In the future they may make changes, but it will not happen until the consumer votes with their pocket book.

    Below is an example of why things may not change for a while.

    My brother and his family all have smart phones, not one of them needs a data plan. The only thing they use these phones for are voice and texting. They bought these phones just because of its features (keyboard and size) and looks (style, color, or design) not for using them on the web or transferring data. If they did use any data it was by mistake. This is the result of good advertising that entices people to buy even though they are some what clueless about what they are buying. It simply makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    If you use data you will love people like my brother as it helps reduce the cost for real data users. If you don’t want to be charged for data don’t buy a data capable phone. When you buy a package deal and are told upfront the cost, you really have no leg to stand on.
  13. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    So everyone that doesnt want or need a data plan is old?
    And who are you to say what people should and should not have or use?
  14. Jetaray macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2010
    Rollingstone, MN
    I don’t think he is saying that only old people do not use data or telling them what they MUST buy. Only that they made a decision to buy a product and now for some reason may no longer want to pay full price for its use. We all know in the current market (USA) a smart phone requires a data plan. Just because they are not going to use all features of their product they are not entitled to a lower price.

    I doubt there are any consumers who would not LIKE more choices but if you made the decision to buy an iPhone you will pay the going rate. If they wanted things to change then they should have not purchased a smart phone. We would be fools to think a poll or comments will influence any basic product like a phone.
  15. azhava macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2010
    Arizona, USA
    If I didn't have a data plan with the iPhone, I probably wouldn't have an iPhone in the first place. There aren't many wi-fi hotspots where I live and I use the web, map apps, etc. multiple times a day.

    We traveled over 300 miles today to a town I'd never been to, and I spent plenty of time in the car (as a passenger) looking up stuff about the town on Safari, using Google Maps and Mapquest to get where we were going, etc. I certainly wouldn't want to have to stop and search out a wi-fi hotspot every time I wanted to look something up. That may be fine if you spend all day sitting in a Starbucks playing with Facebook and Twitter, but wouldn't do me any good while traveling through the middle of nowhere with the nearest wi-fi 50-75 miles away at any given time.

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