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Comments on news posted 2013-02-05 14:49:33: Back in late 2009 both AT&T and Verizon decided to make it mandatory that smartphone owners must have a data plan, even if you have no interest or never actually use data. ..

page: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · next


gigahurtz
Premium
join:2001-10-20
Palm Coast, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House

I don't like the mandatory data plan, but...

If you aren't happy with it then switch to a pre-paid provider. There are many options now that are just as good as AT&T and cost much less. Buy a Nexus 4 and get T-Mobile's pre-paid plan for $45 a month including data.

It should be considerably less than what you're paying with AT&T and the service should be decent. Unfortunately, the only way the consumer can send a message is if they talk with their wallets.


PinkyThePig
Premium
join:2011-05-02
Tempe, AZ
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

1 recommendation

Signing for contracts

Is it even legal to sign them up for something without their permission? If I were this guy I would pay my bill with a credit card then charge back the data charge portion as that was never agreed upon when signing up. I'm curious as to how AT&T would handle that whether they would cancel the whole thing, charge some rediculous ETF or some other wonky setup.

EDIT: Forgot to add that he should check the original service agreement he signed and see if it talks about adding additional charges for data if using a certain phone



morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000

That is obnoxious

That is unbelievable. I'm sure he has a legal case if he wants to pursue it.

I wish he would have stated if he plans to stay with AT&T despite this policy or is leaving for another provider. I can't imagine that he would stay.



Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to PinkyThePig

Re: Signing for contracts

Legally, unless you are under contract, they can do whatever they want. Wireless contracts usually last 2 years. Note that the guy wasn't "forced into a contract", AT&T just started charging him for data. He is free to leave if he wants.

Yes many people are "grandfathered" in under certain packages, but there's no law that says AT&T has to keep those around after the contract expires. AT&T could force "grandfathered" users off those plans at any time.

If you are outside of a contract they can pretty much do whatever they want. If you don't like it, leave them. The problem is that with little nationwide competition and the major carriers playing the same game (*), it's not a question of if you'd like to get wallet raped, but by who.

(*) - Yes there are smaller resellers, that don't do this, but they have their own problems and you never know when one will get bought out by one of the big boys.

--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.



MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

1 edit

Eh

Given that AT&T doesn't directly control or even in some cases control at all the software on smartphones, I have to say I understand mandatory data plans. better they automatically put you on a plan, than someone swaps sims to a smartphone and they charge you at 1.99/mb for the GB of data you use in a month. I'm sure this case is far more prevalent than those trying to use a smart phone will skipping a data plan.

Maybe it's just me, but having a smartphone without a data plan is somewhat useless. I know people are going to argue this point, but these companies don't lift a finger to accommodate every user profile, they are looking at the average user.


tanzam75

join:2012-07-19
reply to PinkyThePig

Re: Signing for contracts

said by PinkyThePig:

Is it even legal to sign them up for something without their permission?

No. However, you gave permission by agreeing to the 50-million pages of the Terms of Service.

(Note, however, that the blog post makes it clear that he's off-contract.)

The problem is that the carriers charge extremely high fees for per-MB data if you do not have a data plan. Thus, if you have no data plan, forget to turn off data on the phone, and try to use data, then you could easily rack up thousands of dollars in charges.

AT&T judged it better to upset the minority of users who have the discipline to have no data plan and use Wi-Fi everywhere, rather than to upset the users who cut the data plan and then continue to use data.

There are two obvious solutions to the "stupid users" conundrum: (1) Don't charge so much for data off a data plan! (2) Disable per-byte usage if you don't buy a data plan. But, well, we know that obvious solutions are never adopted.

AT&T can force every smartphone onto a data plan, and pick up additional revenues. Or they can lower prices and/or turn off data, and forgo the revenues. Which of these two options do you think they'll pick?

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
reply to MovieLover76

Re: Eh

If this "automatic" enrollment of a data plan just renewed his contract for another 2 years, that ought to be illegal. If not, he's free to leave. That's what I would have done to begin with.


en103

join:2011-05-02
reply to morbo

Re: That is obnoxious

This has been AT&T's policy for 'years' now.

I had an old HTC TyTNII which had the old 'pay per use' data plan - in which I was able to disable the data and use it as a WiFi smartphone (back when 3G was not very well built out or stable)

When iPhone and Droid phones started becoming highly sought after, AT&T basically stated that phones are either 'feature' (plain phones) or 'smart' phones, and all smartphones (they don't care where you got it from) are subject to a smartphone data plan to be used on a standard plan.

The only part I hated on that - was typically if I switched phones, even temporarily, I'd be subject to 'scanning' and having a different plan applied.

It now gets 'worse' - to the point that there are 'iPhone', 'iPhone 5', and just about every model/make plans.
Why ? Because you effectively 'could' keep your plan for a very long time, and AT&T would like to make sure that if you have a new phone, it gets a new(er) plan and rate

Verizon and Sprint never had to deal with this in the past, as all phones were driven by ESN, and 'unlocked' phones may exist, but carriers wouldn't activate them. GSM based AT&T/T-Mobile use SIM cards which allow you to swap phones. So instead, they're using the IMEI (phone identifier) to id the model/type and be obnoxious through that means.


tanzam75

join:2012-07-19
reply to morbo

said by morbo:

That is unbelievable. I'm sure he has a legal case if he wants to pursue it.

He does not. His only recourse is to leave AT&T. (Which I highly recommend!)

AT&T's Wireless Customer Agreement requires a data plan for smartphones:

»www.att.com/shop/legalterms.html···reement&

6.3 What Are The Voice And Data Plan Requirements?

A voice plan is required on all voice-capable Devices, unless specifically noted otherwise in the terms governing your plan.

An eligible tiered pricing data plan is required for certain Devices, including iPhones and other designated Smartphones.


openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
japan
kudos:2
reply to gigahurtz

Re: I don't like the mandatory data plan, but...

said by gigahurtz:

Buy a Nexus 4 and get T-Mobile's pre-paid plan for $45 a month including data.

Or better yet, the $30 plan that I just signed up for while I'm back in the states.


MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1
reply to Network Guy

Re: Eh

No it shouldn't be able to renew your contract, if it triggers that it needs to stop. But I'm not sure that's what AT&T actually does. I've changed minutes, messaging and data on AT&T before without renewing a contract.


Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online

Guess AT&T is different.

Sprint used to renew the agreement for another 2 years whenever I'd switch plans. There's no changing minutes at Sprint, just plans.

The data and messaging components were add-ons though, didn't affect agreement.



IowaCowboy
Want to go back to Iowa
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Contract language

When you sign up for service, you agree that if you connect a smartphone to their network, that you'll pay for a data plan. Using a smartphone without a data plan is a breach of the contract, which makes it technically an unauthorized connection to the network and can expose the user to legal issues. It's technically theft of service as it equates to buying basic cable and removing the filter at the tap and getting more channels than you pay for even though you don't watch the unauthorized channels and you get those channels from another TV service.

If you want a smartphone, pay for the data as it is required as a term of service. They have it buried in the fine print that if you attach a smartphone to your account, then you must buy a data plan.

As an iPhone owner, my data plan is important. I go to a lot of places that do not have Wi-Fi. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority buses do not have Wi-Fi, nor do the city parks. The city library has Wi-Fi but I use my own mobile hotspot. The only time I've used public Wi-Fi is at Baystate Medical Center as the Verizon signals do not penetrate their complex maze-like facility. BMC is so complex to navigate I don't know how the residents (student doctors) can get to a patient in code blue quickly enough without getting lost.

I personally avoid Wi-Fi, I just prefer to use my data plan unless the signal is 1xrtt.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


tanzam75

join:2012-07-19
reply to gigahurtz

Re: I don't like the mandatory data plan, but...

said by gigahurtz:

It should be considerably less than what you're paying with AT&T and the service should be decent. Unfortunately, the only way the consumer can send a message is if they talk with their wallets.

"Math is hard. Let's go shopping!"

Consumers generally cannot do math. That's why they get fleeced.

If they could, then it would not have taken until this year for T-Mobile's no-subsidy plans to take hold. And prepaid would be far more popular than it is.

pkorx8

join:2003-06-19
San Francisco, CA
reply to tanzam75

Re: That is obnoxious

Aren't all contract disputes bound to ATT's arbitration courts?



ohreally

@claranet.co.uk

Europe ftw

Oh how I am glad that across the Atlantic we don't have any of this crap.

I pay less than £10/mo for my contract (no subsidised phone), I can use it in any phone I like and if I want data I can pay a little more (I decide, not the network). That's not the most attractive deal, there are better ones if you want to put up with a lower quality network.

They clearly know what phone I have as their automatic system tells me when I call them.

The joys of having a truly competitive mobile industry with all the network operators using the same standards and frequency bands...



n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Sprint

Sprint forces you to have a data plan AND pay their "premium" data charge. I do not use the data service on my iPhone 4S because, in a word, it stinks. I opt for using WiFi. However, since I am not paying the bill and had no choice in the matter, I just ignore it and leave the data turned off on the phone. My battery lasts a heck of a lot longer than it did when I used to leave it on. My billing period ends on the 10th and my usage so far this cycle is 0.0MB.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.



Murph1

join:2005-09-02
New London, CT
reply to MovieLover76

Re: Eh

said by MovieLover76:

Maybe it's just me, but having a smartphone without a data plan is somewhat useless.

I've often wondered if I could get by without a data plan. My house, my job, the gym, girlfriend's house, numerous bars, restaurants, etc. all have wifi.


FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
reply to MovieLover76

said by MovieLover76:

Maybe it's just me, but having a smartphone without a data plan is somewhat useless.

Not true for a lot of people. They use WiFi almost exclusively for data needs on their smartphones. And if you use IMs from Facebook, Apple, etc instead of txt msgs there is no real need to have a data plan. Most phones let you disable data over the cell network.
--
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.

itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to tanzam75

Re: That is obnoxious

said by tanzam75:

said by morbo:

That is unbelievable. I'm sure he has a legal case if he wants to pursue it.

He does not. His only recourse is to leave AT&T. (Which I highly recommend!)

AT&T's Wireless Customer Agreement requires a data plan for smartphones:

It depends. In 2008 (when he says he bought his phone), was AT&T requiring data on Smartphones.

If someone had a contract from before this clause existed and never upgraded or even contacted AT&T at all the only valid contract would be the one they signed. That contract may not have that clause so he may be able to actually sue them.

They are banking on people taking the latest contract as the one you are bound to. But if the original never included such language and you never signed another one you can't be held to it.

tanzam75

join:2012-07-19

1 recommendation

reply to IowaCowboy

Re: Contract language

said by IowaCowboy:

It's technically theft of service as it equates to buying basic cable and removing the filter at the tap and getting more channels than you pay for even though you don't watch the unauthorized channels and you get those channels from another TV service.

Not the same thing at all.

The guy does NOT want data service. He's not trying to steal data service from AT&T. And what's more, AT&T could simply block data service, and that'd be the end of the matter.

Unlike cable TV, data is bidirectional. The guy can hack his equipment all he wants, but if AT&T blocks data on his account, then he ain't getting it.

AT&T already has a voice-only plan for non-smartphones, they just refuse to provide it for smartphones. In other words, AT&T preferred to lose a customer, rather than provide voice-only service.

Imagine if the cable provider required a subscription to premium channels for anyone with an LCD or plasma TV. Want basic cable? Sorry, the only way you can do that is to use a CRT TV. That's what AT&T is doing, by requiring a data plan with every smartphone.

en103

join:2011-05-02
reply to Network Guy

Re: Eh

Not really... he can still use a 'non smartphone' without a data plan. The contract is/was on the 'voice plan' for 2 years. Dataplans are required for smartphones on 'American Thieves and Thugs'.


Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
reply to IowaCowboy

Re: Contract language

So you are implying he is stealing service that he isnt even using. How in the world did you come to that conclusion?

Being you dont know what was in his contract you cant speak for any fine print that may or may not have existed. He was either under his old contract as it is still in effect but just expired or he is not under any contract and any terms or provisions in the expired contract do not apply. Both him and AT&T take the implied risk of there being no contract between them.

Regardless of that, AT&T's choice should have been to contact him to explain the situation and give him X days to comply at which time they terminate his service.

AT&T should not have taken it upon themselves to add cost to his bill that he has not explicitly given authorization to. The phone companies have been sued and have lost on those very grounds concerning renewing of contracts.



Boricua
Premium
join:2002-01-26
Sacramuerto
reply to Murph1

Re: Eh

said by Murph1:

said by MovieLover76:

Maybe it's just me, but having a smartphone without a data plan is somewhat useless.

I've often wondered if I could get by without a data plan. My house, my job, the gym, girlfriend's house, numerous bars, restaurants, etc. all have wifi.

I can definitely get by without the data plan. I really don't care for it, no matter what the justification. I already have a desktop, a laptop and tablet. The only reason I would want a smart phone is for the better graphics to watch a movie that re-encode to be played on a Samsung GSIII (what I want).
--
Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian. Robert Orben

Kearnstd
Elf Wizard
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to IowaCowboy

Re: Contract language

I prefer wifi but since it is not everywhere I have a data plan. But a good router and a good broadband will blow any LTE from the water when one has a chance to use wifi.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
reply to n2jtx

Re: Sprint

You have Sprint??

I'm sorry



MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1
reply to Murph1

Re: Eh

Well for me the biggest utility of a smartphone, relies on the data plan and GPS, looking up restaurants, things to do etc on the go. Looking up something I need on the web when I'm out.

Anyone could get by without a data plan, until 6 years ago almost none of us had one, but it sure makes a busy life easier, and that benefit really needs a data plan.

Having to look for wifi, just kills most of those immediate perks.



n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY
reply to Network Guy

Re: Sprint

said by Network Guy:

You have Sprint??

I'm sorry

So am I!
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.


Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA

And AT&T succeeded by having so many (including here

with posters) act like anyone using above 2gb was somehow killing the network.

Hell, we still have posters act blaming 3gm a month data users that they are "slowing" down the network

What a joke


tanzam75

join:2012-07-19
reply to itguy05

Re: That is obnoxious

said by itguy05:

If someone had a contract from before this clause existed and never upgraded or even contacted AT&T at all the only valid contract would be the one they signed. That contract may not have that clause so he may be able to actually sue them.

When you go month-to-month, the provider is entitled to change the terms on you at any time. He would be covered by the latest version of the Customer Agreement.