Can I use a Smartphone Without a Data Plan on Verizon?
December 1, 2009 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Anyone successfully using a smartphone on Verizon Wireless without a data plan?

Similar questions have been asked here in the past, but I couldn't find information on how to keep a smartphone from switching to the VzW network if wifi connectivity is lost or whether you can change your plan once you sign up and buy a smartphone.

VzW told me in person and over the phone that the Droid required a data plan. However, if I check options for upgrading my current phone on their site, it shows that the Droid is compatible with my current plan. I'd like to keep my current voice plan and use the Droid for surfing on my wifi network only. Can it be done?
posted by Cheesoning to Technology (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: As far as I know, not with the Droid, yet. The various smartphones that VZW supports are blocked at the ESN level from being put on a non-data account.

The ones I've seen where they /did/ sneak a smartphone onto a non-data account(A Treo, IIRC) was by taking a smartphone and changing it's ESN to that of a regular phone, which dosen't work really great (The phone rejects OTA firmware and roaming capability updates(Because they don't work), and you wind up having to do all of this manually. You're probably going to need the help of Howard forums if you go that route.

Alternately, you might be able to set a Droid up on PagePlus, which is pay-as-you-go data, since they use verizon hardware.
posted by Orb2069 at 10:23 AM on December 1, 2009

I've got a Palm Centro on Verizon with no data plan. I bought the phone from Verizon when I opened the account with them, about five months ago, and have never had a data plan on the account.

Verizon let us change the phone associated with a phone number online (we had to replace Mrs. exogenous' phone). I suppose they could check the ESN at that time, but I wouldn't be surprised if the checks are less rigorous than for new accounts, so that you could sneak in a smartphone that way.
posted by exogenous at 10:36 AM on December 1, 2009

It seems that people have found out how to get the Droid to work without a Data plan by bypassing the activation screen. But it seems that if you skip activation of the phone, you are only able to use the Wifi and you don't get any of the features of the phone (including, well, phone calls) since it isn't on any network.

You should also take a look through the Verizon -> Smartphone -> Android forum at Howardforums. There's great info there and I'd bet a search would return a very similar discussion re: data plan.
posted by tommccabe at 11:14 AM on December 1, 2009

Also note that the threads about using data plans with Verizon seem to suggest that phones produced prior to 2008 could be used without a data plan, but newer phones require a data plan from Verizon. This could be why the Palm Centro works without a data plan.
posted by tommccabe at 11:16 AM on December 1, 2009

Also you might want to reconsider what you are looking for in a phone, I have a different android phone on a different carrier, but a great deal of the utility come from having my email/chat/maps/etc wherever I am. If i need that stuff when I am in an area with friendly wifi (home or work generally) i just use a computer. Furthermore I almost never have the wifi on because it burns through the battery, and 3g (at least on T-Mobile) is generally as fast as I need anyways.

Seems to me that without data you have a very expensive phone/sometimes pda that has crappy battery life.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:35 PM on December 1, 2009

So this is interesting: right now Mrs. exogenous has a data plan on her Centro, and I don't have one on mine; when I tried to remove the plan, Verizon would not let me do it! It says "To remove this feature, you will need to select another PDA/SmartPhone option." I guess me getting by without one was a quirk of getting both phones at once under the same account.
posted by exogenous at 4:37 PM on December 2, 2009

Response by poster: I still haven't seen a real change in Verizon's policies, but the LG Chocolate Touch doesn't seem to require a monthly data plan. If I can get past the name, I might go for that - it's apparently a decent phone with a decent camera and good media player.
posted by Cheesoning at 5:17 PM on January 11, 2010

Response by poster: Just to follow up - Verizon did change their plan structure. They now have Smartphones (require $30/mo. data plan), Multimedia phones (require $10/mo. data plan), and basic phones. Droid, Pre, etc. are in the first column. I got the Chocolate Touch because I could see adding $10/mo for mobile data, but it turns out the web stuff is really clunky and reminds me of my old 56K modems, speed-wise.

All told, I got some iPhone envy and wanted a cheaper version. Should've gotten an iPod Touch, I guess.
posted by Cheesoning at 7:20 AM on April 1, 2010

The Droid is pretty sweet. I bought one on fleabay and put it on my Verizon account to replace my Centro without the data plan. When I did so (online), Verizon required me to get the $30 data plan.
posted by exogenous at 5:18 PM on April 6, 2010

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