iPhone data service w/o paying for the phone part? (Seattle)
February 6, 2013 3:13 PM   Subscribe

My ideal situation would be basically an iPod Touch with unlimited 4G connectivity for $50-60/month. I'd love to figure out a way to still have all of the features I love with my iPhone, while simultaneously ditching the cost of making calls. Seriously. I have so many anytime minutes banked it's nuts. I'm grandfathered on unlimited data with AT&T (which means nothing really), except that I have a AT&T iPhone 4S to use once my contract is up next year. (Thought it might be pertinent for scenarios.) Not interested in carrying around a second device (e.g. mobile wifi). Thoughts?
posted by letstrythis to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have any friends who are doctors who would be willing to sign a form saying that you were deaf?
posted by Oktober at 3:20 PM on February 6, 2013

(If you can prove you're deaf, you can get a data-only plan)
posted by Oktober at 3:22 PM on February 6, 2013

Response by poster: I'd prefer not to commit fraud after posting a question about it on the internet, but thanks. ;)
posted by letstrythis at 3:26 PM on February 6, 2013

Unlock your 4S and use it with T-Mobile's $30/month unlimited text + 4G (up to 5GB) plan. The plan also includes 100 voice minutes.
posted by payoto at 3:27 PM on February 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

OK, sorry. It looks like the 4S doesn't have a 4G-capable antenna.
posted by payoto at 3:29 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: iPhone 4S, unlocked, on straighttalk wireless is $45/month for "unlimited" everything including 3G data, but no LTE. It's not really unlimited though, I think they throttle you after something like 2GB. You'll still have talk minutes, texts, etc. but it's under your budget.
posted by jeb at 3:35 PM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's technically a mobile wifi device, but this might be a solution for you, the Freedom Pop Ipod Touch Mobile Wifi Sleeve. I really thought about it and I'd rather not carry a Mifi either. They're using the Sprint network, I believe. Stunningly affordable based on data usage, too.
posted by sweltering at 3:59 PM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have Straight Talk, jeb's description of the service is correct. You can look at your past few bills on your current plan to see if the 2GB limit will be an issue, but if you mostly hang out in places with wifi it should be fine.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:06 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Master Gunner at 5:05 PM on February 6, 2013

Response by poster: The Freedom Pop -- does an iPhone fit, or is it built only for iPods touch?
posted by letstrythis at 5:14 PM on February 6, 2013

Response by poster: Straight Talk Wireless seems like the best deal, and I love the idea of prepaid. That's the only way to go. Might be worth breaking my contract with AT&T, depending on if they'll mitigate the early cancelation fee more or less a year and 1/2 in... Of course I'd be in bed with Wall-Mart... Good service/reception? Any testimonials?
posted by letstrythis at 5:28 PM on February 6, 2013

Freedom Pop doesn't fit an iPhone. They were working on an iPhone-compatible case early last year but that seems to have disappeared.

AT&T's cancellation fees reduce by $10 per month for every month you are a subscriber. If you've already made it to 18 months, your cancellation fee is ~$145 and will still be $95 on the last day of your contract.

Straight Talk Wireless, when using GSM (what you'd be using), is a reseller of AT&T and T-Mobile wireless service. Coverage is a bit more limited because prepaid customers can't take advantage of included roaming agreements, so your coverage may be spotty outside of the Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue area, especially going north between Everett and Bellingham off of the major highways. In-town use will be roughly identical to what you have now. Go to AT&T's coverage map and click "GoPhone." That will tell you more or less what the prepaid coverage looks like.
posted by fireoyster at 5:54 PM on February 6, 2013

Response by poster: That coverage isn't a problem for me. Doing a little Siri math it seems that I stand to save a couple hundred dollars by not paying what I'm currently paying monthly, even with the fee. Does canceling my contract ding my credit? If it does I'll wait it out. Otherwise STW seems totally worth it.
posted by letstrythis at 6:30 PM on February 6, 2013

Canceling early doesn't affect your credit as long as you pay the final bill on time.
posted by fireoyster at 7:49 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've had no problems with Straight Talk so far. It was relatively easy to set up and I bought it directly through their website so I could feel less dirty about the Wal-Mart partnership. However I have only used it on the east coast. I would say the reception in my tri-state area has been very comparable to my prior coverage with Sprint.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:20 PM on February 6, 2013

Check out AT&T's own GoPhone service. You can get prepaid data by the GB, with minimal recharges every month to keep things ticking over.

Or there's Oxygen Wireless. People either love them or hate them.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:10 AM on February 8, 2013

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