Suggestion for a smart not-a-smart-phone

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices & Gadgets' started by lifeblood, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. lifeblood

    lifeblood Senior member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2001
    Messages:
    726
    Likes Received:
    6
    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?
     
  2. Red Storm

    Red Storm Lifer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Messages:
    13,161
    Likes Received:
    1
    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.
     
  3. TheStu

    TheStu Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    11,779
    Likes Received:
    1
    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.
     
  4. gorcorps

    gorcorps aka Brandon

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Messages:
    29,165
    Likes Received:
    35
    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.
     
  5. lifeblood

    lifeblood Senior member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2001
    Messages:
    726
    Likes Received:
    6
    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.
     
  6. lifeblood

    lifeblood Senior member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2001
    Messages:
    726
    Likes Received:
    6
    Looks interesting. Although I hate Walmart with a passion I might be able to hide my disgust for them long enough to do this.
     
  7. Red Storm

    Red Storm Lifer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Messages:
    13,161
    Likes Received:
    1
    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.
     
  8. evident

    evident Lifer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,984
    Likes Received:
    5
    international galaxy s2
     
  9. Deeko

    Deeko Lifer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2000
    Messages:
    30,163
    Likes Received:
    2
    Why not just keeping using that iPhone in wifi only mode? Or get an iPod touch to do the same.
     
  10. gmaster456

    gmaster456 Golden Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  11. lifeblood

    lifeblood Senior member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2001
    Messages:
    726
    Likes Received:
    6
    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.
     
  12. postmark

    postmark Senior member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  13. pm

    pm Elite Member <br> Super Moderator<br>Mobile Device
    Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2000
    Messages:
    7,397
    Likes Received:
    0
    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/phones/?filterbyfeature=24
    Alternatively, since the choices at Newegg are expensive, this would work:
    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Exhibit-II-Prepaid-T-Mobile/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".
     
    #13 pm, Jan 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  14. tdawg

    tdawg Platinum Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2001
    Messages:
    2,168
    Likes Received:
    1
    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.
     
  15. Raduque

    Raduque Lifer

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    12,163
    Likes Received:
    4
    Straight Talk is your answer. Fire AT&T.