Getting a new cellphone has become such a huge hassle these days!!! I recently had a friend who came to the United States to do her masters so I was trying to get her a cell phone and I did not realize how much things have changed since the last time I signed a contract for a new phone (about a year or so back).

First, let me just start of by saying I am not a huge fan of the mandatory data plans  and this is where most of my problem lies. So, the area where my friend lives ( southwest Illinois) has pretty bad network coverage for all providers except ATT. I started to look for cellphones on since they have the best deals and saw a few that my friend would like (smartphones obviously) but then I noticed the stupid $15 data plan and this would have been a total waste for my friend. She is not planning on traveling anywhere, she is new to the US, she has WIFI at home and she has WIFI at school and the data plan would have been a total waste of money. So I decided to stay away from a smartphone because of data plan and just get a normal phone so looked through a whole bunch of non smart phones and found a few that we liked and then I noticed that all these so called “quick messaging phones” had a mandatory data or messaging package requirement and the cheapest one was $20.

A required data plan on smartphones I can understand to a certain extent because of the subsidized handset cost and all that bull crap but having required services on stupid POS phones like pantech or some samsung propel/instinct does not make sense at all. Some of these phones are not even free on the ATT website and you have to pay for them so I dont understand what they are subsidizing and why they are MAKING me get a data/messaging package. On the ATT website if you choose to get with a non smartphone and a non “quick messaging phone” then there is only ONE phone left for Even having a smartphone does not mean that you need a data plan. I have a HD2 that I got out of contract and honestly I never feel like I need a data plan. I am around some sort of WIFI 24/7 and usually the only times when I am not near a wifi signal is when I am driving or out at dinner somewhere and things like that. The one time I did need a data plan was during my recent travels when I went out of state for about 6 days and I added a data plan for those 6 days and after I came back home I canceled it. It only cost me like 83 cents a day or something because of the pro rated plan.  I prefer doing that more than being tied to a mandatory data plan.

Anyways, back to the original story of trying to get a decent phone without the stupid add on services. In the end I decided the best thing would be to get a go phone pre paid service for right now and heck use google phone service as much as you can and then use the phone on only need basis. I think even this will cost her an average of like $45-50 which is what she would be paying if she got a plan but the only bad thing about a pre paid plan is you dont get any semi decent phones all of them are crap. Hope cell phone companies and specifically ATT take off the stupid mandatory data/messaging package requirement on the non smartphones. They can keep it on the smartphones but atleast take it off of the POS phones.


  1. No i do not think they will let me open a phone line without a phone. i dont think they will let me just sign up for a line without already having an account and yeah I could get one off of ebay but why would I want to do that when I am signing up for a 2 year contract with them? I dont think they would give me a plan for a month to month service if i told them i dont want a phone because then they would have no customers for their prepaid service.

  2. The carriers, especially AT&T, want to make sure you have a data plan so you can access their stupid spamware services, in the hopes of squeezing even more cash from your pocket. While many people have access to WiFi, there is no guarantee that everyone does, so AT&T increases their chances. You are already paying for the data so they figure you might poke around one of their other services. It’s all about money, and as such I don’t think it will ever change.

    Too bad you can’t get your friend on someone’s family plan to share minutes and text costs. Then $10 for the line, $15 for data, and maybe chipping in $15-20 towards the voice/text costs.

  3. you are horribly uneducated when it comes to buying a cell phone… firstly, if you have your own cellphone (aka you bought one used on ebay) then you can sign up for a monthly plan with NO CONTRACT, yes thats right, ATT will let you sign up no contract as long as there not subsidizing a phone… secondly, you said
    “I think even this will cost her an average of like $45-50 which is what she would be paying if she got a plan but the only bad thing about a pre paid plan is you dont get any semi decent phones all of them are crap.”
    think about what your saying, its the same amount of money she would have been paying on a monthly plan… am i missing something? seems to me like you just made your friend buy a gophone for no reason whatsoever other than you not understanding that there is no contract required if you have your own phone… and also, if you were to buy an unlocked and NON AT&T branded phone then you could have your smartphone and not have to add a data plan… i understand this is a rant but at least do SOME research or something before you go stating something so blatantly wrong.

  4. oh yeah, and the only bad thing about gophone is not just the quality of the phones, the coverage map is much much smaller than the postpaid map

  5. Well for one I dont have a phone that I bought off of ebay or anything I would like to get a new phone with the plan but all of the ones with the plans need the mandatory data/messaging packages.
    Well I do apologize i did not know att would let you get a line without having to sign a contract if you already have your phone. This is the first time I heard of it and I am glad to have learned something new. Thanks for that.
    Also I did not make her get anything yet. I am still deciding on what to do but I figured I could get some feedback from our readers and some advice and I am glad you left the comment you did and told me that i can get a line without contract if I have my own phone I will look into it. And I said $45-50 without the data and messaging packages and stuff.

    @Jimski I told her the same thing to get on someone’s family plan but she does not really know anyone and I dont have ATT to put her on my plan.

  6. 45-50 without the data and messaging stuff, but if she were to have gotten a gophone she still wouldnt have data and messaging stuff, and she would also have a shittier phone with shittier service, and also 15 dollar data plan is 360 dollars every 2 years, the average subsidy on a smartphone is about that much money, and also, (doesnt help your situation much but thought i would put it out there) if you have the unlimited family messaging plan (30$ for the all phones on plan to have unlimited text) then you do not need any other add-ons for the quick messaging devices. im not saying ATT is a big cuddly teddybear or anything, but misinformed or underinformed people have a tendency to bash AT&T when they’re no more evil than verizon (or google :P)

  7. i am not bashing att i am sure most providers do the same. i just picked att because that is who i am looking at right now also again i am comparing things to back when i signed my last contract. back then we still got the same discounts and did not have data plans and stuff being mandatory. i know they are trying to make money like any other business.
    i dont mind about not having data and messaging i just need to have minutes that is all i need with a somewhat decent phone like a samsung mythic or impression.

  8. also this not for myself on my own phone i have unlimited texts and stuff. i am just talking about it being hard for people who only want a minutes plan with a somewhat decent and partially subsidized phone but looks like att does not offer that at all because they have only one phone that would meet requirements to get a minutes only plan.

  9. if data or messaging is not needed then why the full keyboard phone? try and call around for a sony ericsson cybershot (c905) if you can find one of those kicking around you can probably scap it up for free with a contract and that suckers got a 8 MP camera and its loaded with a bunch of cool features (yes ones that AT&T didnt put on there) smile capture and whatnot. just not sure why your stressing over a phone with a full keyboard when it sounds like it wouldnt be utilized

  10. there are at least 7 phones (still current, not end of life) that you can sign up with for minutes only, not sure why only one phone showed up for you.

  11. The big phone companies are actually mandating those data plans for PR reasons. A couple years ago, there were regular news stories about a some poor guy who used data services without having a plan and racked up a multi-hundred dollar bill after usually having a $60 bill. The bad press usually meant that the company ended up deciding to forgive the debt.

    It was either annoy a very small number of consumers and just make data connections mandatory for devices that are designed to use them, or constantly look like the big bad corporation that’s beating up on the little guy.

  12. maybe i just need 200 texts and can add that for 5 bucks and dont want to be forced to get a $20 unlimited plan but that is not an option either on these “quick messaging phones” i don’t need a full keyboard show me any other phones that ATT offers with a minutes only plan and i just don’t see any.
    do you work for ATT by any chance?

  13. i dont work directly for AT&T but im very familiar with their products, there are numerous phones that only require minute plans, some that i would recommend, obviously the c905 cybershot, the nokia 6350, nokia mural, lg gu265, sony w518a, pantec breeze 2, motorola tundra, samsung rugby… thats 8 phones that dont require any text or data and all of them take a memory card (micro sd except for the sony product uses M2 memory), have at least a 2 MP camera, and will play music as well as have a calendar and all the other jazz that comes on a decent basic phone.

  14. My wife’s friend just went through the same thing on Verizon. I am on At+t, my daughter started using my old PDA, At+t was kind enough to add a 25 dollar data plan for us. I found it burried at the bottom of the bill. I called CS and got them to remove the charges, but she can’t use the Pda anymore, they would add the plan again when their system sees it. had to get her a new “feature” phone. Sad that it has come to this. It will not get any better as the phone companys are trying to increase revenue. I think we got off easy for the last 5 years. We need more real competition.

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