Smart phone without data plan?
December 6, 2011 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Smart phone without data plan?

I bought my son an AT&T-locked Backflip from eBay for its big keyboard & use an AT&T Go Phone (pre-paid) SIM for voice and text. I've installed an APN on/off app so it won't use even a bit of cell data, but he uses the browser & YouTube app with wifi. Now I have two issues:

1) crappy reception at my house. I might get a MicroCell: we used to have one & it worked great. However, reception all over Santa Clara county except at work (where its great because we have our own cell site) is spotty.

2) Maybe a post-paid plan could end up cheaper if I can get "unlimited" texts. He blows through a $10 1000-text package in just under a month. I don't want to limit that.

I have an iPhone and want to stay with iPhone, so its Sprint or Verizon for me (if we do a family plan). Two smartphones (his so he can continue to do "smart" things with wifi) are about $120 - $150 per month and on the websites, anyway, they don't let you order something like a Samsung Stratosphere without buying a data plan for it.

I'd rather get him an iPod touch and a feature phone, but he's in two households & also finds wifi when out sometimes. At the prices for service, I could get him *two* iPod touches though!

I can't just swap a SIM for Verizon or Sprint and I don't think they'd activate a phone I bought from eBay without a data plan, right? I think it's not just to subsidize a more expensive handset, but also because you'll use data & lots of it.
posted by morganw to Technology (3 answers total)
There isn't a SIM to swap for those carriers. They use CDMA instead of GSM and have no SIM unless the phone is a world phone. And Verizon will not let a Sprint phone on their network, and vice versa.

You could get a MVNO carrier like Page Plus and bring your own device. I have two Palm Pixi Pluses for my daughters with no data. One has 1200 texts and the other is unlimited. I'd recommend Kitty Wireless to buy the airtime if you go with Page Plus. The Pixi is available for $40 on Amazon with no contract.
posted by narcoleptic at 3:54 PM on December 6, 2011

Lifehacker: How Can I Use My Smartphone Without a Data Plan?
posted by canoehead at 3:59 PM on December 6, 2011

I recently switched from AT&T to Sprint. I live where I have crappy cell reception in my house, and let that be known to Sprint upfront. They loaned me an AirRave and it does help with reception in the house. My iPhone can now me used at home, yippee!

I also received about $115 credit when I turned in my old iPhone, credit was applied to the bill.
posted by 6:1 at 4:36 PM on December 6, 2011

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