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.