Required Smart Phone Data Plans

Does anyone else think it unfair?

Why are we required to buy a data plan for a smart phone?  That is like saying that your all in one printer / fax / scanner being required to send faxes.  Okay, so that is not a great analogy, but I think you get the point.  While you may have a DVD/VCR Combination at home, that does not mean you will be watching a VHS tape this weekend.

When I purchased my first iPhone, I was on T-Mobile and was unable to use it as a phone, but it functioned quite fine as a iPod touch (with phone capability).  After a year I decided to take the “brick risk” and free the phone from AT&T.  I used it for 3 years on T-Mobile before upgrading to a new phone and switching to AT&T due to a customer service issue with T-Mobile.

Pre-Paid Monthly No Contract Plans

When looking to get a local number I checked out the monthly cell phone plans.  I really did not want to have a contract for 2 years and was happily surprised to discover that it cost less money per month without a contract!

Why is that?

  • No discount on phones
  • Lower data plan rates

Hmm..that list was much smaller than I thought it would be.

Reasons not to sign a contract

  • Lower monthly rate
  • No contract
  • No data plan requirement

WiFi is Everywhere and Free!

Once in a while I do wish I had a data plan, but at the current prices, have not even considered it.  You can’t use a GPS function without it, but that just means you need to plan your route and print a map or get a GPS for you car which does not have a service charge.

Unlike data plan restrictions and rate increases, the number of free WiFi hotspots seems to be increasing.  Businesses realize that customers want the convenience and competition has dictated the need.

FiOS Expansion Halted?

I have heard rumor that the expansion of FiOS has stopped.  Service providers are focusing on wireless Internet access at high costs over the faster, lower priced hard wired cable and phone company connections.  Sure, satellite will always be an alternative to Cable TV, but will we have any options for Internet access in the future?

Help from the FCC?

I believe it was the Federal Communications Commission that has required GMS phones to be unlocked.  While it does take a little prodding from them, you will be provided unlock codes when available.  While I don’t believe it, AT&T claims there are no unlock codes for iPhones, though you can buy unlocked iPhone 3Gs for $350, 4G for $550, and 4Gs for $650 from a provider or Apple directly.

Why does the government not step in a stop the rapid increase in data plan rates and the tightening data use restrictions?  I am convinced there is price fixing going on between the various carriers. I also believe they have worked out an “understanding” to require those who purchase a “smart phone” to buy their expensive slow data plans.

Should we lock in on an Unlimited Plan before they are gone?

For now I am happy I am not locked in, but as the data plan costs go up and the amount of data is being reduced, I wonder if I should quickly lock in a low priced unlimited data plan before they are gone.  Not many companies still offer them, or if they do, they “throttle” down your data speed the more you use.

Free WiFi seems to be abundant, and someone near  you on the bus probably has a Data Plan you can mooch if you need to 🙂

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