Well, for the most part, Verizon Wireless is the best wireless company, at least in the mid/south west. The coverage in the entire USA is the best, and the network is more far reaching than ATT’s. Plus, there are no roaming charges anymore since 2007, so even if I am out of network or in a non-home area, there are no roaming costs anyway. However, the one thing that Verizon does that is annoying, is force users of Smartphones to have a data package. Just like ATT does with the iPhone, where you are required to have the iPhone data package just for owning an iPhone, Verizon does the same with all Smartphones (Windows Mobile and Blackberry/Palm devices)
So, recently my wife and I decided to downgrade our plan and phones, to save money. We both have Windows Mobile phones, and we both have unlimited data plus tethering (using phone as a modem). Well, that, plus 1400 shared plan minutes between us was almost $200 a month. We decided to revisit this since we both together only use about 400 minutes total. So, if we go down to the 700min plan, and remove all the data junk that I was intensely using, yet could live without, then that shaves about $90 off our bill a month
The problem here was that I knew about the forced data feature that Verizon implemented at the beginning of 2009, however since we were removing data that meant we would have to switch to non-Smartphones right? Well, after a LOT of looking, and in-hand comparisons at different Verizon stores (as well as Sprint stores, since they are also CDMA phones), I found that nothing compared to the ease of use that Windows Mobile gives you. All the other phones were using proprietary OS’s, and for the most part were extremely limited and hard to use. Not to mention that you cannot install any 3rd party apps. So, as I was in one of the stores, I asked if there were any Smartphones that did not require the forced data package. One opf the representatives told me that the “Motolola Q9c” or “Q9m” did not require it. So, although the Motorola Q was a REALLY old phone, and I hated the design, it was still Windows Mobile based, so I would not have to relearn anything, plus I could install all my favorite Windows Mobile apps, like TomTom, and games, etc…
So, after more digging, and using the online help chat on Verizon’s site, I found that the Motorola Q was not the only Smartphone that was available w/o data after all! In fact, here is the list of available Smartphones that do not require data: Palm Centro, MOTO Q9c, SMT5800, XV6900, and the SCH-i760.
I was pleased to see the XV6900 (Vogue) in the list, and also pleased that my wife’s current phone was in the list as well (SMT-5800), so she will not even have to change anything. My new phone, the XV6900, is is a Windows Mobile based phone, and ALSO has a development community online on various sites, namely PPCGeeks.com and XDA-Developers.com, with programmers who “cook” up custom ROMs for the device for people who just don’t want the standard bloated ROM image that ships with the phone. This is something I have enjoyed with my Touch Pro, and with my old phone, XV6800 (Titan). So, long story short – I ordered the XV6900 for $49.99 (low price for 2-yr contract extension). For all of you nay-sayers out there, who say “Oh, you had to extend your contract”….so what? Cell phones are not going out of style, plus these days it is pretty much a necessity, and Verizon still has the best network, so if it was a 10-year contract I still would have done it. I have not had one dropped call from my end since I have been on Verizon (8 years). I have been talking to people on T-mobile, and ATT and they get cut off on their end all the time due to their lack of coverage, then they call back and blow it off as how it happens all the time with people they talk to. I tell them “You know, it doesn’t have to”, ha, but they just ignore me.
At any rate, this is not a rant about Verizon being better than ATT, but rather a post about how if you are wanting a Smartphone on VZW but do not want to be forced to use data, then get one of those. One last note: I asked the representative why the list is so small. She said that only older Smartphones can be activated without data, and that they have dates in their system on when a phone was released, and if it was released before November of last year then you can use it without data. I told her that there were TONS of more phones than that short list that came out before then. She said she cannot confirm that, but that is the list they were given that is allowed w/o data. I though that was sort of ludicrous, since my old phone the XV6800 was released in 2007, yet when I asked about it she said that the XV6800 requires a data package. I asked her literally, “Think logically about this, why is an older model, the XV6800, required to have a data package, yet the newer XV6900 model doe snot require it, based on your rule that it must be released pre-November of last year?” She repeated the allowed list to me, as if I had not heard it the first time and totally ignored my question. Note to self: Never ask a wireless company representative to ‘think logically’.
Bottom line: There is good news for those who want a Smartphone, yet do not want to pay for data. Pick one of those models.
Here is the list again, with photos of each model…
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