Mom needs AT&T phone

fireshot91

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jul 31, 2008
4,719
0
Northern VA
Hey guys

My mother needs a new phone. She doesn't have a dataplan right now, and doesn't need one. But, she also has an iPhone and has grown used to it, so something similar to an iPhone (Basically a smartphone) will be fine.

So, I'm looking for a smartphone which doesn't need a data plan... I know AT&T phones all require one, so basically I'm fine with buying internationally.


My criteria: Smartphone, run on AT&T bands, no data plan, faster than a 1st gen iPhone.

Any ideas?
 

VPrime

macrumors 68000
Dec 19, 2008
1,720
82
London Ontario
You don't need a data plan to use the phone.. They make you get data plans to buy the phone.
just go in
AT&t tell them you already have a phone, just need service. They should give a sim card, and you pop it into your iPhone.
Go into settings and disable cellular data do you don't get charged for accidentally launching the browser or email.
 

fireshot91

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jul 31, 2008
4,719
0
Northern VA
^^ That's not completely how AT&T works. If they see a phone's IMEI number in their system that they recognize as a smartphone, whether you have data enabled on the device or not, they'll put on a data plan onto your account.


The trick is to get a phone with an IMEI number that AT&T does not have in their system (So they don't know if it's a smartphone or not). Which phones those are, I have no idea about...hence why I came here.

Just wondering what's a good phone (Not top-of-the-line phone, but not something crappy either) for my mom.
 

neiltc13

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2006
3,115
6
If you don't have data included in your monthly plan and you get a smartphone and use data, then surely all AT&T are going to do is charge you for the data you do use per MB/GB?
 

e²Studios

macrumors 68020
Apr 12, 2005
2,104
5
If you don't have data included in your monthly plan and you get a smartphone and use data, then surely all AT&T are going to do is charge you for the data you do use per MB/GB?
No they will just add a smartphone plan (The 3GB one) to your account for you. Unless the phone isn't on their network and not in their IMEI database you will never be able to get past this.

Buy a unlocked smartphone abroad that AT&T does not carry then you can get a IMEI from a feature phone and get $10 unlimited data. Slip that SIM in the unlocked phone and you have unlimited data for $10 and a working phone. However if AT&T ever starts to carry that phone (even under a different name) you will likely be getting a text/email telling you they have added a smartphone plan to the account.

This is the email you will get:
Dear Valued Customer,

We hope you are enjoying your Smartphone! We appreciate and value your business and want to be sure you are aware of a change we've made to your account to ensure you have the best possible experience with data usage in the United States.

Smartphones are made for data consumption-surfing the web, social networking, email and more. That's why we require a Smartphone data plan in conjunction with our Smartphones. This ensures that customers with data intensive devices are not unpleasantly surprised with high data pay-per-use charges.

For whatever reason, our records indicate your Smartphone does not have an eligible data plan. We have added an appropriate Smartphone data plan for your device.
 

sysiphus

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2006
815
1
Officially, any smartphone in AT&T's database (anything they've sold, plus a few more like the Nexus series) will automatically trigger a data plan that they will require. Your best bet if she wants something without the data plan is an unlocked/unbranded Android or Symbian-based Nokia device. As an example, I used to have an HTC Hero that was originally for Telus (Canadian carrier) which did not show up as a smartphone to AT&T.


That being said, the original iPhone could be used on a pay-as-you-go plan which would let you turn off the data on the phone, and thus never be billed for data usage. That program died away with the 3G models, though.


However, you can theoretically do what you want with a newer phone, if you talk to the right person at ATT--my girlfriend got a 3GS secondhand and somehow got them to not force data on it...but don't count on being able to get this.

Good luck.
 

Jb07

macrumors 6502
Oct 31, 2011
433
1
Dallas
I’ve known kids who get hand-me-down iPhones from their parents but don’t have data plans on them. If she already has a SIM card, she can just put it in the 3GS, without buying a data plan.
 

e²Studios

macrumors 68020
Apr 12, 2005
2,104
5
I’ve known kids who get hand-me-down iPhones from their parents but don’t have data plans on them. If she already has a SIM card, she can just put it in the 3GS, without buying a data plan.
They will add the plan for you, even with a data block on the previous phone. There is no way around this, while some can escape it for a while others (This happened to me when I put a feature phone sim in to a HTC Inspire) get the message 24 hours later.
 

wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,559
32
Sometimes if you have a data block on your account, and you enter put the SIM into the iphone they won't add a data plan.
 

e²Studios

macrumors 68020
Apr 12, 2005
2,104
5
Sometimes if you have a data block on your account, and you enter put the SIM into the iphone they won't add a data plan.
I had data block on a sim, I put it in a smartphone and in under 24 hours the number had a 3GB data plan. You're giving false information, so long as AT&T has a IMEI that says its a smartphone you will get a smartphone data plan one way or another. There is NO way around this unless you have a smartphone that is not in AT&T's IMEI database...
 

wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,559
32
I had data block on a sim, I put it in a smartphone and in under 24 hours the number had a 3GB data plan. You're giving false information, so long as AT&T has a IMEI that says its a smartphone you will get a smartphone data plan one way or another. There is NO way around this unless you have a smartphone that is not in AT&T's IMEI database...
You are wrong.

A line on my account has a Blackberry without a data plan, and it's been like that for over 2 years. And we regularly switch it out with an iPhone and nothing happens. A long time ago, AT&T didn't require internet on a smartphone, so older accounts like that won't add a data plan.

That's why I said that it works sometimes, because I don't know when the OP renewed that line last, and with what.
 

wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,559
32
It's really hard to say unless you try it yourself.
I don't think AT&T would add a data plan to that, but Thats not based on anything
 

MusicEnthusiast

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2010
433
45
Los Angeles
Are you strictly limited to AT&T?

I'm paying for Red Pocket Mobile, a prepaid carrier that uses the AT&T prepaid coverage map (almost identical to the actual AT&T coverage map). I'm able to use a non-unlocked AT&T phone with their service, with 250 MB of HSPA+ (technically 4G data) and unlimited minutes/messaging. It's $49.99/month, but you could always go with the $39.99/month for 10 mb data (which is essentially not having a data plan at all). There is a $29.99/month plan too, but it doesn't have unlimited messaging or minutes.
 

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,893
842
Uhm, why are you getting a smartphone is you're not going to be using any data. You're pretty much only going to have this phone for calling (and texting), so wasting money on a smartphone who's features are now inaccessible because of no data plan is a waste of money. Get a feature phone. They're easy to use and quite nice actually.

Here's a really nice one:
http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phone-details/?device=HTC+Freestyle+(TM)+-++(Refurbished)&q_sku=sku5220247#fbid=wX2tGlzxCdH

Easy to use, nice design, nice OS, and requires no data plan. It's literally got almost every feature a smartphone would have, with no data required, as well as being faster than an OG iPhone.
 

js81

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2008
1,199
16
KY
I'm with one of the above post: Are you tied to AT&T? (AKA, a contract?) If not, I would strongly consider StraightTalk - their GSM phones use AT&T towers (so the same coverage) AND they now have a plan where you can use ANY AT&T phone. We pay $45 a month for unlimited minutes, 3G data, and texting. My wife has an iPhone 3GS and it works great. You can use any iPhone or Android with this plan, too.

Oh, and its prepaid - so no contract. :)

I, however, am stuck on AT&T - my phone is free-to-me (AKA, my parents still pay for it, even though I've been married 7 years - don't look a gift horse in the mouth!) BUT I don't/can't have a data plan. I can speak FROM EXPERIENCE that AT&T WILL add data to your plan, even with a data block, if you put your non-data SIM into an iPhone/smartphone. Happened to me when I got a hand-me-down 3G. So I'm back to my feature phone... currently a Samsung Impression that's on its last legs. I just ordered a Pantech Laser to replace it, though. I refuse to sign a 2 year contract for a feature phone, though. ;)
 

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,893
842
Only because of ease of use.

She's used to one, and knows how to operate it.
Then you have two choices.

1) Get an unlocked iPhone from another country that would have a different IMEI than a registered smartphone for AT&T, put a SIM from AT&T in it and turn off cellular data. Cost = $$$$$$$

2) Get the HTC Freestyle. Very easy to use and understand, and doesn't require a data plan. Cost = $

Your choice.