How to get a SmartPhone Without the Stupid Data Plan

August 2, 2012 on 11:36 am | In Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Recently, the carriers have realized that voice and text are not nearly as potentially lucrative as data. AT&T and Verizon have recently restructured their data plans and are now offering tiered plans. If you thought keeping track of your monthly minutes was tough, try following KB, MB and GB usage.

Ironically, as these companies raise your cost for data, the actual need to have a data plan diminishes for many. That’s because wifi has exploded worldwide. Even the major cable companies in the US now offer their subscribers Wifi services for FREE. They all offer each others’ subscribers this service too which is handy when travelling.

Now the bad news… It is not possible to activate a SmartPhone with CDMA carriers like Sprint and Verizon. That’s because these devices do not utilize SIM cards for domestic service. It is also not possible to activate an AT&T or T-Mobile device without a data plan but that does not mean you cannot use a SmartPhone without having a data plan on these networks. I haven’t tried this personally with AT&T but do it regularly with T-Mobile.

We can activate any non smartphone on the T-Mobile network. Once it is active and we make a phone call with the device, we then remove the SIM and pop it into any T-Mobile branded or unlocked GSM Smartphone. Simply use wifi to get your data and there will mever be any monthly data charges. Ask me for details. 



Wifi service has exploded in the last year. In fact, if you are a cable tv subscriber of any of the major national cable companies, here’s some more good news. These companies have all agreed to offer each other’s subscribers access to their wifi networks for FREE.


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  1. I’m considering purchasing an unlocked iPhone 3GS ($375 ) and using it with my existing t-mobile account which is a family plan. I have heard that this works for a month or so, but then you’re billed for data eventually.. Is there anybody out there on T-Mobile that is using a IPhone without having T-Mobile for data?

    What I really want is an iPod touch with talk and text,and a few practical apps, like airline pass and the like. If I need the web or e-mail, I use my IPad.

    I’m not that important that I need the Web all the time, and I certainly don’t want to pay $30 + a month more for something I don’t need.

    I can see it If one is buying a subsidized phone from a carrier, But if one buy’s an unlocked phone, then the carriers shouldn’t be allowed to require a purchases of services the customer doesn’t need simply because of a phone’s capabilities. Shame on all the carriers for that type of collusion. Shame on all of us for simply shrugging our shoulders and saying. ‘oh well,.’.

    Comment by Chris — August 7, 2012 #

  2. I couldn’t agree more with you Chris. If I paid full pop for a SmartPhone, why should I be required to subscribe to a data plan if I don’t need one. I had an iPhone on T-Mobile years ago without a data plan and never had any problems. T-Mobile can tell what device you are using as the IMEI is displayed. My experience with them was they seemed thrilled that over 1 million iPhone users unlocked their devices to be used on their network. They didn’t have to give up a dime for equipment cost buydowns so it was all gravy. This may have changed but I haven’t heard otherwise.

    Comment by Administrator — August 8, 2012 #

  3. I have a t-mobile individual plan, but I do not want to pay for data as it is expensive. Can I buy an unlocked smartphone or blackberry, then put in my sim card, and have the new phone work without the data plan? I would only use internet when free wireless was available. Thanks for your help!

    Comment by Val — August 19, 2012 #

  4. I have a old T-mobile phone with an individual plan with no web access what so ever. I don’t even have data or anything else and pay every month for calls and texts. My friend gave me an already paid old Android. Do I just change the sim card? Do I have to pay for data and web now? I have wi-fi at my place from a different company so I can just use that instead of paying for a web plan? Do I just use the wi-fi for social networking sites and apps? Thanks for you help! I appreciate it.

    Comment by April — October 11, 2012 #

  5. I have an T-Mobile old phone without the web and data plan and stuff. I only text and call on it and pay each month (individual plan). My friend gave me another phone. It was also a T-Mobile Android. Can I just switch the sim card? Do I need to have a data plan? I also have wi-fi at my place from a different company(for router). Can I just use the wi-fi for social networking sites or do I need to pay for the web plan for apps, instagram, and facebook? I appreciate it. Thank you!

    Comment by May — October 11, 2012 #

  6. hello,

    I am a teacher and just received a donation of 10 Dell smartphones. I was just wondering how can I use the wifi on these phones? I don’t need the phone to make calls, I just want the use the Internet with my students (research, etc). Is this possible? Thanks!

    Comment by annie — November 6, 2012 #

  7. I purchased a Blackberry Curve 8320 from EBAY and I have T-mobile service (no data plan). I have spent countless hours researching how to use wi-fi on the phone and have tried a number of remedies. I have a number of threads posted on various forums, but to date, I am unsuccessful. Is it possible to use wi-fi on that phone with T-mobile (no data plan)?


    Comment by Chris — November 23, 2012 #

  8. Hi Dr Wireless,

    I have a Samsung Mythic with AT&T. But I want a Smartphone so I can search my contents on my cell easier, and also have a larger field to write my notes in (not limited like Mythic).

    Q: Which phone can I buy to do this with? I need to stay with AT&T, only need a Better Phone with No Data Plan.

    Thanks! :)

    Comment by Zorro — November 29, 2012 #

  9. Hi Zorro,

    I haven’t done this with AT&T but with T-Mobile, it’s easy and it should work the same. You just pop your SIM into a SmartPhone. You won’t have access to cellular data but you should have wifi. I know Verizon and Sprint don’t allow this. Verizon even blocks many of their unactive devices from using wifi. Try putting your SIM in a buddies smartphone if you are not sure.

    Comment by Administrator — November 29, 2012 #

  10. i tried it and it works, have some T-mobile smartphones unlocked and use it with ATT.
    Think thats the only Way, cause the EMEI # of that tmobile phone is unknown for the ATT Buttheads and so not be able to detect.
    On the other hand we all should have a class action suit for all Carriers if they pack on stuff (dataplan) that you don’t want to!! Look at Microsoft they got finally theis a** whipped ,too
    It can’t be legal to charge for something u don’t use nor want, agreed?

    Comment by achim E. — January 10, 2013 #

  11. Hi Annie,

    Sorry, i just saw this post. If the model is the Dell Venue Android, you should not need a SIM card or service to use with wifi. Simply go to setup and setup the wifi network. By using Viber, you can actually make global calls and instant messages for totally FREE.

    Comment by Administrator — January 10, 2013 #

  12. Sorry, I just found this post. I don’t believe you can use the BlackBerry in wifi mode without an active data plan but will have to do some checking. Androids are usually no problem for this.

    Comment by Administrator — January 10, 2013 #

  13. Dr. Wireless,
    My friend gave me his old HTC Amaze on T-Mobile. I was wondering, if I unlock it, and put my data-free AT&T SIM card in it, and turn off data usage, will AT&T start charging me for data?

    Comment by Jack — January 13, 2013 #

  14. I want to purchase the nokia n8 for talk text and the 12mp camera. How can I use this phone without a data plan

    Comment by richard williams — February 1, 2013 #

  15. Simple if you already have a T-Mobile account, just pop in the SIM. This should also work with AT&T but I haven’t tried it with them. We also have prepadi programs that don’t require a data plan and support that model.

    Comment by Administrator — February 1, 2013 #

  16. what are those pre-paid plan and with which carrier

    Comment by richard williams — February 2, 2013 #

  17. Hi Jack,

    Great question! I can tell you that technologically, AT&T will be able to see a different IMEI go out with your SIM card on their network. Unless they want to be total jerks, they should not hassle you. We do this regularly with unlocked AT&T Smartphones on T-Mobile’s network and they could care less..

    Comment by Administrator — February 4, 2013 #

  18. We support Simple Mobile (T-Mobile) and H2O (AT&T) and Net 10 AT&T and T-Mobile directly.

    Comment by Administrator — February 4, 2013 #

  19. If i were to buy a samsung galaxy either 3 I5800GSM or pocket S5300 GSM unlocked android phone, would I be able to us the sims card without a data package for either? Would the wifi work where ever there’s open/free wifi? We use t-mobile as our carrier. This is for my daughter, really dont want $20 data fee. Thanks for your input.

    Comment by Margie — February 21, 2013 #

  20. As long as it is unlocked and supports T-Mobile’s frequencies, you can use it without paying for a data plan. That is assuming you already have a T-Mobile line with SIM. In that case, simply remove and re-install the SIM in the new device. I would recommend turning off the cellular data on the device just to play it safe. You will be able to use wifi with nearly any Unlocked Android. Just don’t call T-Mobile and give them the IMEI number. They will see it register in their switch but don’t care.

    Comment by Administrator — February 21, 2013 #

  21. I too will be purchasing one of the new t-mobile iPhone 5′s when they hit the streets but I do not want to purchase a data plan either. I’m hoping that it’ll be a wi-fi enabled phone, but if not, will I be able to insert the sim card from my old phone into the new smartphone for Internet at home (or elsewhere)?

    Comment by Mike — March 11, 2013 #

  22. Hey Mike, No reason to wait for T-Mobile to debut their model. We are unlocking Verizon and AT&T iphones that work great on T-Mobile as does the unlocked models bought at the Apple store. The reason you shouldn’t wait is that yourgoing to pay full pop anyway, with a data plan. I would buy one outright and put it on a value plan.

    Comment by Administrator — March 12, 2013 #

  23. I have a droidx smartphone, my son has a basic phone. If I switch him to T mobile will i be able to activate the droidx without data plan. he is a handicapped individual and uses it to watch videos we downloaded to the sd card, he does not use internet. we want to us ilife 360 a child locator app with it. how do i go about using this phone but no activating data?

    Comment by Rhonda — March 27, 2013 #

  24. If the Droid X is a GSM model compatible with T-Mobile’s network, no problem. If it is a Verizon model, it won’t work. The trick is to activate a non data phone and merely swap the SIM out into a data device. That way you can turn off cellular data on the device and just use Wifi.

    Comment by Administrator — March 27, 2013 #

  25. Thanks for the information.

    I have just bought a T-mobile Comet used phone on Ebay. I took out my old sim card. And use for minutes only, i.e. voicemail also.

    Then, for the data portion, I just use wi-fi.

    I have a question regarding other T-mobile android phones, or Windows t-mobile phones.

    For example,
    Samsung SIII mini
    HTC One
    Windows Lumina

    Could I use just my sim card, and use wi-fi without signing up for a data plan. This is for the phone mentioned above.


    Comment by Richard — May 16, 2013 #

  26. Hi Richard,

    Yes you could. In fact, I am even using an Samsung S2 (T-Mobile) with no SIM card. I make phone calls with VoIP applications and can access the web, check e-mail and everything else, anywhere I have wifi. As long as you don’t tell T-Mobile that you are planning to use a Smartphone without data plan, they don’t care.

    Comment by Administrator — May 20, 2013 #

  27. Hello,
    I am leaving my family’s Verizon plan and I want to switch to an individual T-Mobile plan. I want to buy a basic phone with a SIM card, activate it, and then put it in an unlocked smartphone to use wifi. Do you know how to sign up for a T-Mobile plan that doesn’t include any data? Only calling and text?

    Comment by Amanda — May 23, 2013 #

  28. My contract is finally up meaning I can turn in my 3 year old worn out Samsung Gravity 3 for a brand new phone. I have been wanting a smartphone for a long time, but each time I go into the T-Mobile store or WalMart or Target or anywhere else that sells T-Mobile phones, they say a data plan is required to get a smartphone, and all their other non-smartphones (which are like 2) are actually a downgrade from what I currently have, and mines about as basic of a phone as you can get. I found some phones I would really like on the web, such as the Samsung Corby 2 and the LG GT350. They are both for AT&T, but I was wondering, could I just buy an unlocked version of one of the phones and then just pop in my T-Mobile sim ccard and not be charged for data? Or buy one of the AT&T phones and personally unlock it? Which choice is better? Will I be able to just use the phone for calling and texting and WiFi, and stay on the family plan I’m on and not be charged for data?

    Comment by mikayla — May 25, 2013 #

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    Thanks, Virginia

    Comment by web page — October 14, 2013 #

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    Comment by Heather — October 22, 2013 #

  31. If you just starting T-Mobile service on a smartphone are you then required to forever have a prepaid data plan on the phone? I see many comments regarding switching the sim cards out of a basic phone, but I would be buying t-mobile prepaid service for the first time. I heard that I would have to pay for a data plan for the first month of prepaid upon activation, but then after that I can drop it and use the wifi only. Is that true?


    Comment by Mary — November 13, 2013 #

  32. Hi Mary,
    If you buy a T-Mobile phone that is subsidized by the carrier, you cannot drop the data plan without being penalized. The smart move is going with one of T-Mobile’s many resellers that don’t have this requirement. I personally like Solavei, which is $49.99 for Unlimited Everything. Unlike TM, the 4G data is not throttled at 500MB, they give 4GB.

    THis is a month to month plan that you can quit anytime.



    Comment by Administrator — November 14, 2013 #

  33. Hi, I currently have a dumb Verizon LG phone. I want to get a Wi-fi-capable smartphone to use for the internet but do not want to purchase any plan with this new phone. I want to keep my Verizon phone plan on the LG for phone purposes, while using the smartphone without any plan for free Wi-fi.

    Can I just buy an unlocked GSM Wi-fi-capable phone and purchase a Sim card online to stick into it? Or does the phone NEED its Sim card activated for me to use the Wifi on it? I see some ‘Sim card activation kits’ on ebay- would that work? Or must one go to the phone store & get a plan for a phone to be activated?

    Or, as you alluded to with Annie, do certain phone models (Dell Venue Android?) not require Sim card or activation to use the Wi-Fi, even with no plan at all?

    Comment by Beth — June 5, 2014 #

  34. (I want to buy a USED GSM Wi-fi-capable phone online to save money)

    Comment by Beth — June 5, 2014 #

  35. Hi Beth, Most GSM phones will work on wifi without the SIM card being active. Yes, you can get a GSM device and just use it in wifi mode.

    I’m puzzled as to why you would want to keep a dumb phone active on Verizon when you could get Unlimited voice, text and data for as low as $40 per month on T-Mobile retail plans without a contract, and as low as $20 on their corporate plans. Not only that but T-Mobile offers free global data and text roaming in 120 countries, free call forwarding, faster data speeds than Verizon and no chance of ever paying data overage fees.

    Comment by Administrator — June 5, 2014 #

  36. That’s easy! I would look at or e-bay but make sure the person has a track record that they value or you may have a bad experience. You can get a new one for next to nothing if you know how to do it. I’d buy a T-Mobile prepaid device from one of their resellers brand new and not renew any airtime with it before buying a used one.

    Comment by Administrator — June 5, 2014 #

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