Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Buying a New Phone Without a Data Plan - is it Possible?

After some recent phone browsing, which was brought on by my wife wanting a new phone that featured a QWERTY keyboard, I came to realize that just about all cell phones on the market now require a data plan.  I"m not just talking about smartphones, as it's understood that if you buy a smartphone your getting the complete package that does everything a phone can do, but phones like the EnV Touch and Chocolate Touch, which are multimedia phones, not smartphones, also require a minimum data plan to function.  It was my understanding that you could get a pretty nice phone for just texting and calls, and just not use the web/data features, but apparently that is no longer the case.  Since my carrier is Verizon, I figured I would shop around to AT&T and T-Mobile and see what my options are.  With those carriers, I found the same VERY small selection of phones that didn't require a data plan, but I also found that their required data plans on those carriers cost the same or even more than Verizon.  So for just about any multimedia or smart phone, you are looking at an additional 9.99 or more to your calling and texting plan.  It was already apparent that smartphones like the iPhone are taking over the cell phone world, but it's happening faster than we realized.  Right now there are only a few phones that don't require data plans, but if your looking for any sort of music or video phone, your probably going to get hit with a data plan.  It doesn't make sense that a person can't even choose to not use the data and use their phone for talking and texting only, but with all carriers doing that, there isn't much choice in the matter.  Apparently there isn't much argument to this either, as anywhere you go now you see people texting, chatting, facebooking, surfing etc. non stop on their iPhone, Droid, and many other smartphones.  It's become an addiction that the cell phone carriers have capitalized on, so shelling out for a data plan is soon to be just another common cell phone charge....like it or not.