Having An Unlocked iPhone On AT&T With No Data Plan Is Simply Not An Option

David brought his own unlocked iPhone with him when he joined AT&T nine months ago. He doesn’t use mobile data, so he didn’t sign up for a plan. So he’s not paying AT&T for the privilege of simply owning a smartphone that they didn’t subsidize, and that simply won’t do. Even if he turns off mobile data entirely and restricts all of the “smart” features of his phone to wifi. How unfair.

I have been using an unlocked iPhone 3GS on my AT&T account for the past 9 months without a data plan. Today I received a text from AT&T informing me that since I had an iPhone I was REQUIRED to have a data plan. This is frustrating as I don’t want a data plan. I do understand the logic behind requiring customers who purchase subsidized smartphones to have required wireless data plans as that helps to recoup the cost of the device. However, I paid for the device in full.

After two different phone calls with customer service I am left with few options. I had the most AWESOME CSR ever but even he can’t make AT&T an enjoyable company. The thing that is frustrating me besides not getting this resolved is the AT&T Wireless Data Calculator.

According to the Data Calculator I need 0 GB of data. And yet, AT&T will not allow this. I have wifi at home and at work and that’s the only time I need it. I don’t want data in my car or when I am in the mall, etc. And after putting in my stats (which are the default) the slider is below the first option of 300 MB. I don’t feel like I am nitpicking this detail. AT&T’s own data calculator is telling me I need NO DATA. Am I crazy or is AT&T sending me mixed messages.

data calculator

Yes, that’s what it says, but the Data Calculator isn’t legally binding. It doesn’t ask you to calculate how many of these things you’ll be doing on wifi, and it assumes that no one would want to own a smartphone and use it solely for talking and a little texting. Those sliders can go to zero, but that doesn’t mean that having no data plan is an option.

Should going without a data plan be allowed if a customer has brought their own phone? We’ll let you guess what our answer to that question would be.