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Old 01-18-2013, 09:39 AM   #1
lifeblood
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Default Suggestion for a smart not-a-smart-phone

Anyone have a suggestion for a smart not-a-smartphone?

I have used smartphones without a data plan on AT&T for about five years. The data has always been turned off. I use Wi-Fi when at home or on campus. My current phone is a Palm Pixi plus. My wife has done the same thing since April with a hand-me-down iPhone 3GS.

Last night she received a text from AT&T saying she was using a smart phone (even though data was turned off) and because of that they had activated a data plan for us. We immediately called and we’re told that what we had been doing was technically not possible and that we had to have a data plan per smartphone. We switched her SIM back to her old feature phone and told them to terminate the data plan.

So we are now looking for a phone with a full keyboard (physical or on-screen) that uses a major OS like Android (ie, with lots of Apps), that does not use wireless (although Wi-Fi would be great). I suspect I’m dreaming but I thought I’d ask. I’ve asked Mr. Google but have had no luck so far.

Financially we haven’t lost anything, the hand-me-down iPhone is now an iTouch (which my 9 year old daughter is campaigning heavily to be given). Still, it pisses me off that AT&T is demanding money from me for the privilege of using a “smartphone” on their network, data use or not. I checked Sprint and Verizon and they say the same. Sprint has a shared data plan where I pay $40 a month for data PLUS $45 a month per smartphone. That’s utter rubbish. Pay for data AND to use a smartphone? They can kiss me where the sun doesn’t shine.

So, anyone got any good suggestions?
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:42 AM   #2
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Straight Talk. $45 a month for unlimited voice, texts, and 2GB data on the same AT&T network.

Uh, I believe there are certain phones that won't be "detected" by AT&T and can be used as you described without worry, but I don't know what those models are.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:43 AM   #3
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Check out pre-paid. I pay $45/mo for unlimited text, data and minutes. And I think they have a $30 plan that has unlimited minutes and texts and something like 50MB of data. This is on an iPhone 4 (unlocked) on Straight Talk.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Storm View Post
Straight Talk. $45 a month for unlimited voice, texts, and 2GB data on the same AT&T network.

Uh, I believe there are certain phones that won't be "detected" by AT&T and can be used as you described without worry, but I don't know what those models are.
I think those are pretty much gone. They've been tracking down phones like that for years now.

Basically OP what you're looking for doesn't exist. Any phone that runs Android is dubbed a smartphone, and as such will require a data plan regardless of where you bought that phone. Your best bet would be a "feature phone" that while not running android, will run a clunkier but similar interface that has a full keyboard.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorcorps View Post
Your best bet would be a "feature phone" that while not running android, will run a clunkier but similar interface that has a full keyboard.
I thought of that, and we'll do it if we must, but the problem is the apps. My wife uses certain apps for her research which have versions for iOS and Android (& soon Windows Phone), but that's it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Storm View Post
Straight Talk. $45 a month for unlimited voice, texts, and 2GB data on the same AT&T network.
Looks interesting. Although I hate Walmart with a passion I might be able to hide my disgust for them long enough to do this.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeblood View Post
I thought of that, and we'll do it if we must, but the problem is the apps. My wife uses certain apps for her research which have versions for iOS and Android (& soon Windows Phone), but that's it.
How much are you paying on AT&T? Straight Talk has both the $45/month for unlimited minutes and text with 2GB data. Or a $30/month for 1000 minutes and texts with 50MB data (basically none). Same network so your coverage doesn't change either. No contracts, and you already have an AT&T compatible phone.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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international galaxy s2
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:43 PM   #9
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Why not just keeping using that iPhone in wifi only mode? Or get an iPod touch to do the same.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:09 PM   #10
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I too recommend straight talk. I'm using the $45 plan on my nexus 4 and so far I haven't had issues. You can use any GSM phone which gives you a lot of options.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:18 PM   #11
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Why not just keeping using that iPhone in wifi only mode? Or get an iPod touch to do the same.
We're doing that. She took her SIM card out which turns her iPhone into an iTouch, but do you really want to go out into town or out into the field with both a messaging phone for calling & texting, and an iTouch for music & running apps? The idea is to consolidate, to carry less. I use to have an iPod Nano and a phone, now I just have a phone that also plays music. Things are much simpler.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:37 PM   #12
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If you have tmobile coverage in your area you can get a value plan for 2 lines with 1000 shared minutes, unlimited text for $60 per month with no data. They won't add it without you requesting it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:08 PM   #13
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So, yeah, you basically have two choices: change carriers, or get a phone that AT&T won't recognize as a smartphone. Most of the advice in this thread is to change carriers, and that's a valid solution, but for your original question, getting a phone that AT&T won't recognize, it's actually pretty easy, but usually not cheap.

So what you need is any GSM compatible phone that isn't branded AT&T. If it has an IMEI (a phone serial number) that doesn't correspond to an AT&T phone, they won't flag it as a smartphone no matter how "smart" it is. The only exception to this, as I understand it, is iPhones which flag regardless of where you bought it. So, any T-Mobile phone will work, and any international phone will work (except iPhones).
So go here, and click T-Mobile and any of them should work. http://wireless.newegg.com/eCommerce...erbyfeature=24
Alternatively, since the choices at Newegg are expensive, this would work:
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Exhibi.../dp/B00607JBNO

If you have doubts and want to check it before your return period is up, call AT&T and ask them if the phone shows up as a smart phone and they will tell you. And if you want to check it before you buy, that's harder but if you can get the IMEI number from the vendor, then tell AT&T that IMEI number and they'll tell you the status. But what you'll find is that they will say "we know your phone is a <insert brand> but we don't show the model and it's not flagged as a smartphone".

Last edited by pm; 01-18-2013 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:19 PM   #14
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What about those cases with sim card slots that attach to ipod touches and turn it into a phone? Pear, I believe? Not sure exactly how it works.

I second the move to Straight Talk or T-Mobile prepaid. I'm on t-mobile's $30 unlimited data/text & 100 voice minutes, but they also offer a $30 1500 voice, unlimited text, and 30mb of data.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:42 PM   #15
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Straight Talk is your answer. Fire AT&T.
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