Humberto Saabedra is the Editor-in-Chief of and an occasional columnist for He can also be found musing on things at @AnimeNewsdotbiz

27 responses to “AT&T Forcing Data Plans on Unlocked and Unbranded Smartphones? (Updated)”

  1. JJ

    Att is crap. The only thing keeping them afloat is the iphone. If verizon ever gets the iphone they will lose thousands maybe millions of customers. The reason people have unlocked phones is because they don’t want to be tied to anything. I hope someone sues them for this stupidity. Why pay for a data package when you can barely get 3g speeds?

  2. Jeff

    Were/Are any of these customers get something for nothing without the data add-on? If not, I don’t think this change can hold.

  3. trevor83

    It is their network and they don’t have a monopoly. If the government steps in when there is no monopoly you should be very concerned about your own freedoms. There are plenty of other alternatives and many that are cheaper. I am in no way standing up for AT&T, I’m a Verizon guy. But its still their network to do with as they please. If you don’t like it you can move to another, side effect of living in a free country with options. How would you like it if the government told you how to run your business?

  4. ray

    unpleasantly surprised by their high price for data…..i’m unpleasantly surprised by the 30 monthly charge you force onto me without prior notice for something that I don’t want. I wanted a so call smart phone for a bigger screen, not for all the smart phone features.

    just like sprint wanting me to change my plan to use a decent phone. All I get extra is gps, which I have a gps unit already and have no want or need for a gps on my phone, but required for sprint and everyone else on the family plan.

    Where is my monthly subsadized discount for when I don’t upgrade my phone right after 24 months?

    It’s all BS. All the cell phone companies are full of shiazzle.

  5. Rob

    Ray I understand your point and it is a very valid one. But remember these companies receive government(the peoples) money by the Universal Service Fund and many other ways. Also as many at&t subscribers point out, they bought the phones with no subsidy and at&t has a terrible 3G network to be forcing people to pay for crap.

  6. Daniel

    I am really amazed at how AT&T can still keep their customers. Forcing data plans on unlocked smartphones, very poor 3G coverage (however, the speeds are fast if the coverage is there). Wouldn’t this technically be an out for customers still under contract (assuming that AT&T actually follows rules)?

  7. JJ

    Well I hate to say it but every major cell company requires a data plan so this is probably going to happen and no one is going to be able to do anything about it. I thought that because your phone is unlocked and you didn’t subsidize it they couldn’t do that but what about when your no longer under contract with sprint and you buy a phone on ebay and add it to your account, they force the update on you. Either way it doesn’t matter to me. I will NEVER get ATT. Its either sprint or verizon for me and in the end I’d rather choose tmobile over att or even metro pcs he he.

  8. Chuck

    I dunno what the point of a smart phone is if you don’t want data on it. Sure, its great to have the ability to choose if you want data or not, but I would think most people want it. I guess if it had wi-fi, you could use that ,but really, having a data plan just makes sense.

    People get mad because its being forced instead of them choosing to get it. I am not saying its fair, but I totally understand the mentality the carriers have when they do it.

  9. JJ

    Understandable. I think about 85% of smartphone users need to have data and want to have data. That is why forcing data plans on smartphones will not backlash for any cell company. The one thing I have a problem with is forcing certain phones on certain plans like sprint does. They all use the same data and yet they say you need a special plan for them to be on. Thats what gets people riled up. So far I haven’t made the switch to Android for that very reason. Either way having data on a smartphone is a good idea especially when you have tethering available. This way you can stick it to the man even more.

  10. SaltyDawg

    Well we all knew this was coming. This is the sole reason I left AT&T for Sprint a few months ago. Once AT&T announced this was their new policy, I left the next month.

    And I am one who has a data plan on my smartphones. However, if times ever get hard and I can’t afford a data plan anymore, I want to be able to cancel it.

    Sprint doesn’t make me have a data plan- they just include data in their plan.

    I actually prefer AT&T to Sprint, but I had to voice my disagreement with this policy iin the best way I know how- with my wallet.

    And for the record, in my area we have WiFi blanketing the entire downtown area. So I can easily see why someone might not want to pay for a data plan.

  11. SaltyDawg

    Oh yeah, one more thing- as long as these companies are using public airwaves, and running lines using public right of ways (going through people’s backyards and other private property) then they are absolutely subject to government regulation. It is not the same as every other private business.

  12. jim

    If I didn’t have data on my smartphone it would be a total paperweight. Sprint doesn’t “iforce” data plans on you, they just “include” it? So what’s the difference? You pay for it either way. No matter, eventually the whole phone system will be IP-based anyway, and whether minutes or megabytes, it will ALL be just DATA.

  13. SaltyDawg

    What is the difference with Sprint’s data you ask?

    If I have a smartphone it costs the same amount as a dumbphone, for one thing. I think that has to be the biggest difference. Unlimited data is unlimited data and it doesn’t matter what type of phone you have.

  14. Chuck

    The thing about relying on wifi is that most wifi networks are not open. You can be downtown in NYC and get 10 wifi access points near you, but how many can you actually use without known any passwords or whatnot?

  15. SaltyDawg

    I don’t know about NYC, but out here the whole downtown area has blanketed wifi coverage- all free and open. In addition to that, just about every fast food joint, doughnut shop, and coffee shop has free wifi.

  16. Daniel

    To get back on topic here,…

    I agree with SaltyDawg. Consumers need to be able to choose if they need data plans or not. If money is getting tight, then I have the ability to call my carrier and switch to a cheaper non-data plan without giving up my phone(s).

    More than likely to happen is that I will in the near future get the data plan back, all because the option was there to help me.

  17. Baddodgeman

    I think it is total bs i pay the bill i should have the choice of having a data plan or not if i use data then i will pay for it . Lets say you go to the mall just because you have a kid you have to pay to go inside does that make any sense??? No, my service my money my choice

  18. nulle

    people who use verizon or sprint better not travel abroad. Typical AT&T and T-MObile users do leave the country and their phones still work (with change of SIM cards)

    That’s why I am steamed about the AT&T forcing a data plan.
    Is there some retailer willing to change the IMEI number to mimic an older phone?

  19. casyu

    We need find a group of lawers who willing to class action law suit, like Garden City (?) who brought class action law suit to MCIWorldcom.

  20. Christopher Price

    At this point, Casyu, I’m not sure if it’s still being enforced. Since AT&T switched to metered data plans, it’s unlikely AT&T is still removing data plans from customers at all.

  21. Qui

    ATT still force anyone who using smartphone even if they brought at full price. I f anyone file class action law suite I will join

  22. Predrag

    I was given an Old iPhone, got data blocked and kept my current talk/text plan up until June 2010. That’s when the data plan was forced onto me. F AT&T. You make a deal with the devil and you’ll get burned. This kind of leadership and these types of business decisions is what got AT&T broken years ago.

  23. lxglobus

    I’ll join too if there is a class action against this greedy ATT policy that charges data plan automatically on old smart phone users who don’t want the data plan. In my case, it’s more outrages. ATT added data plan, without activate my old iphone. Essentially they charged me for the service I didn’t sign up for and that service doesn’t work.

  24. Nathan

    Okay… how do we get high pay per use charges when we cannot even access their network??

  25. WC Jordan

    Adding data plans to phones that do not have 3G capability is illegal and should be discontinued at once. If I reaquest a data block on my phone but want to have a WiFi capable smart phone to use around my house, what business is it of AT&T to add a monthly data plan that is not used or requested? This is illegal and it needs to be stopped in court. Has anyone filled a class action against AT&T for this attempted monopoly. Data plans have been added to phones that are no more capable than the phones AT&T sells without requiring a data plan (because they were not purchased through an AT&T store).

  26. SK

    AT&T should not decide how customers want to use their smarphones – especially when they don’t subsidize them. Sign this petition if you agree:

  27. Kevin Smith

    It’s too bad cell phones companies decided to cram data charges on all their customers without mutual agreement. If you can afford it, fine. If you can’t, the drop them. Money is the only voice they understand and if they loose enough money on this deal, they will change it back. Once my phone gets beyond repair, I do plan to drop them. Maybe i’ll try magic jack or prepaid phone, or just give it up all together. I’m pretty sure I was living just fine before cell phones. Yes, I know it’s possible to live just fine without them. Bye bye VZW, bye bye T-mobile, audios At&t, hasta la vista Sprint – ya greedy !@#$%^%^!, 😉