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Why Is Buying a New Phone Without any Add-on Services so Hard??

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.