(Update: As of 12/9/2012 this method is still accepted by Verizon – Thanks to everyone who has sent me dates for this still being effective!)
With the latest announcement of Verizon’s new
tiered “structured” data plans, which begin at $30 for 2GB, many people had to decide what to do. The choices were fairly straightforward, sign up before July 7th, 2011 and keep your unlimited data (until Verizon changes this – if/when), wait and get a new tiered data plan, keep your existing feature phone without data, or switch carriers (Sprint’s the last “Unlimited Data” holdout).
There is in fact, one more option. It turns out that you can get a smartphone activated on Verizon’s network without paying for any kind of data plan. While these phones ARE NOT the latest and greatest, they have many of the same features that modern smartphones do, i.e. wifi, exta applications available for download, calenders, word processing, full QWERTY keyboards, and more.
The smartphones that can be activated without a data plan are phones that were released before November 14th, 2008. The list is as follows*:
1.) HTC XV6800 - HAS WIFI (~$70 NEW / ~$35 USED)
2.) HTC XV6700 - HAS WIFI (~40$ NEW / ~35$ USED)
3.) HTC XV6600 (NA$ NEW / ~30$ USED)
4.) Samsung SCH-i760 - HAS WIFI (~80$ NEW / ~60$ USED)
5.) Samsung SCH-i730 - HAS WIFI (NA$ NEW / ~45$ USED)
6.) Samsung SCH-i830 (NA$ NEW / 40$ USED)
7.) HTC SMT5800 (NA$ NEW / ~40$ USED)
8.) HTC XV6900 (~60$ NEW / ~45$ USED)
9.) Motorola Q9M/Q9C/Q (add wifi thru sd adapter) (~100(M)/60$ NEW / ~45$ USED)
10.) Palm Centro (~50$ NEW / ~35$ USED)
11.) Palm Treo 700w/700wx (~70$ NEW / ~50$ USED)
12.) Palm Treo 700p (NA$ NEW / ~15$ USED)
13.) Palm Treo 750p (NA$ NEW / NA$ USED)
14.) Palm Treo 650 (NA$ NEW / ~25$ USED)
15.) Pantech PN-820 (NA$ NEW / NA$ USED)
16.) Kin One (40$ NEW / 30$ USED)
17.) Kin OneM/TwoM (100$ NEW / 30$ USED)
*Approx. prices taken from eBay auctions.
The best place I have found to purchase these phones is on eBay, as many are either brand new (in original box/packaging), or refurbished by Verizon (sold in a plain box typically). Make sure the phone you buy has a clean ESN (electronic serial number), otherwise Verizon will not activate it. Ask sellers for this information if necessary.
If you find a phone you like and decide to go this route, here’s how to avoid the expensive data plans:
Step 1: Purchase a phone from the list, or one released before the specified data (above).
Step 2: Call Verizon Wireless from a landline phone [(800) 922-0204 – Monday-Sunday 6am-11pm] and navigate yourself through the plethora of options, try hitting 0 to speak to a real operator.
Step 3: Tell them you want to activate a new phone on your existing line and give them the phone model. (They will then look up the phone and (hopefully) tell you, yes, you can activate it without a data plan!)
NOTE: Be sure to ask for a “Data Block” on your line. This prevents you from accidentally using the cellular network for data (and racking up huge data charges). They should be able to do this without changing your current plan.
NOTE 2: The data block is a must to prevent data charges (which is the point of this article) but as a side effect, picture and video messages will also be blocked. Only standard text messages will be let through. (I believe Verizon stores any picture/video messages sent to you on the website for later viewing.)
Step 4: Follow the rest of the operators instructions for activating a new/different phone.
Step 5: Assuming you completed all of the above steps, you should be all finished!
Comments? Questions? Problems? Leave a comment below!
Thanks to Vince for the writeup on his experience with Verizon customer service. If they tell you no, call back again and speak with another CS Rep.
“Works as of December 1st, 2011. Call Verizon 800 number
1. “I want to activate a new phone on an existing line, can you check if this phone is compatible.”
2. Give ESN
3. ESN is clean and can be activated. Would you like to activate it?
4. Yes, but do you need a data plan on this phone?
5. It doesn’t look like it’s asking for a data plan. Would you like me to remove the data block?
6. I actually don’t need the data, so you can keep the data block on.
7. Goes through *228 activation
8. Phone activated. Verify. So if I use anything that requires data now will I be able to use it?
9. No because you have data block on.
10. So I won’t be charged anything for data?
12. Thank you very much!”
**Disclaimer – Before purchasing a phone, please contact Verizon in order to be sure they can activate these phones on your plan (without changing/adding/or modifying anything). This is simply a guide as to how I activated my phone at the time of this post’s writing. Good luck!