Justin says he has done something that many iPhone users have discussed, but haven’t been able to accomplish. He claims that AT&T let him drop the voice plan from his account, and plans to use VoIP in order to make any voice calls he needs. Is this even possible? Is it a good idea?
I just had AT&T drop my voice package on my iPhone (I asked it to start on my next billing cycle in Nov). I was actually considering the change before they announced they would allow VoIP over their 3G networks, but now it’s a no-brainer. It’s pretty pointless to pay for voice service if you live in an urban area.
This change is actually very clear if you read the data terms of service found here.
Then click on section 2) WIRELESS DATA SERVICE TERMS AND CONDITIONS (applies to all customers)
Scroll down to the voice section:
Voice: If you have a voice-capable device and do not want voice service, you may request voice blocking or select a data plan that restricts voice access and all voice calling capabilities (except for outgoing calls from the device to 911 or 611) will be blocked, including without limitation, calls from 911 or 611 to the device. If you do want voice service, you may select a qualified voice plan or the default rate for voice calls will apply: 40¢ per minute on the AT&T wireless network; 69¢ per minute for domestic roaming off AT&T’s wireless network (rates are subject to change without notice). Additional taxes and surcharges may apply. See AT&T Nation® map at store or att.com/wireless for default wireless voice coverage area.
So it appears that this is theoretically possible, as long as (a) Your contract period is up, or you’re willing to eat an ETF, if a prorated one, for ending the voice period of your contract, and (b) you don’t mind having regular voice service turned off entirely, or don’t mind paying 40 cents per minute to make and receive regular voice calls. That’s higher than GoPhone prepaid rates, but without the failsafe of having your phone shut off once you make a few $5.00 phone calls too many.
It’s probably also not a good idea if you ever intend to make phone calls outside of 3G coverage areas. Conversely, it could also be problematic if you live in an area where the network is congested enough that data service is spotty or slow, and you don’t have regular access to wi-fi.
Would you consider carrying a data-only smartphone? We hope to check in with Justin in a few months to see how he likes his new voice plan-free lifestyle.