View Full Version : You don't have a data plan.

08-04-2015, 05:49 AM
I replaced my iPhone with a Droid phone about six months ago. The old handset sat on my desk gathering dust until my roommate expressed an interest in buying it. He already had an AT&T account with a Go-Phone he'd bought a year before, and had been keeping it running with occasional infusions of cash.

He bought the iPhone handset, because I owed him about a zillion dollars, and had his number transferred. I cleared the phone and handed it to him, along with the instruction manual and charging cables and all the various accoutrements I'd gathered since buying it in 2009. I did warn him, lavishly, that since he was buying a 3GS, some of the options were unavailable - there was a reason I traded up, after all. No problem, he said.

Until he tried to use the browser.

The phone worked fine. He could send and receive calls. And, he could use the Internet within spitting distance of WiFi. Nothing else worked. I asked him if he had a data plan. He said yeah, he'd transferred his account over from his old Go-Phone.

...Not a Go-Phone account. A data plan.

He insisted that there were forty dollars in that Go-Phone account and that AT&T was perfectly happy to credit it to the new phone. Therefore, ergo ipso facto, the phone was "charged up" and should work.

I tried to point out that he wasn't going to generate any data with an account from a burner phone. He'd bought minutes, not megabytes. He kept insisting that the money he'd spent should have paid for data.

We went to Boston to do some tourist stuff. He spent about two not-fun hours in the Commons poking at his phone trying to get it to work. At one point, I took it from him to have a look and see what he was trying to do. He had the browser open. The error message actually said "To use this browser to view the Internet, sign up for a data plan with your cell phone service provider."

I handed it back to him. "Get. A. Data. Plan."

By now, he was convinced that the phone was hopelessly broken and that I'd ripped him off. A couple of days later, we were in an AT&T store. The clerk ran some tests, checked my roommate's account, and said, "Your account doesn't have a data plan."

"A data plan?" said my roommate. "What's that?"

I saw double for a couple of minutes. Still, my roommate went back and forth with the clerk a couple of times, insisting that there was something wrong with the phone, because he'd paid his money and it should work.

I'm not sure why he had amnesia regarding data plans, either. He was with me last time I went phone shopping, watching me try to balance the cost of a new phone against various exhorbitant data plans. When I bought the new phone, a robust data plan was a major concern.

Still, something seemed to sink in, or at least he was more readily accepting, because he left the AT&T store with a big smile and a working phone. I walked out silently behind him, black smoke coming out of my ears.

He loves his new six-year-old iPhone GS, at least.

08-04-2015, 02:35 PM
He sounds like my one boss. Who is also technologically challenged. part of her problem, as I suspect was your roommmates, is that they don't know or understand a. the correct terminology for things, like data plan vs. minutes, and b. are clueless about how things like that work.

Drives me batty, when I hear my boss on the phone with whoever, trying to figure out why something doesn't work. and cringe when I hear her using the incorrect terms for things, which I know confuse whoever is on the other end.

In contrast, my 80 year old mom has both an ipad and imac. Last year, she asked me to help her with some things re: her ipad. She wasn't quite grasping the concept of the cloud, but got it when I explained the cloud is where you store things, apps, photos etc. that you don't want taking up space on your device. And you download them when you need/want them.

mom finally said, oh like a basement or an attic? I get it now. I heart my mom. She isn't afraid to try new things, and realizes she needs to "get with the program" :)

08-04-2015, 05:23 PM
Actually, your roommate may been using data on his Go Phone. I have a Go Phone and I can use it for browsing - the data charges come out of the money for my minutes. Granted, they charge about 10x as much for data so I don't use it for anything short of dire emergencies.

08-05-2015, 03:19 AM
I have an old Nokia flip phone that I can use to tether my laptop. No data plan, no data charges; it just uses minutes of my time. After 9 at night and all day Saturday and Sunday, not even that. Of course I've been on this plan since 1998; you can't get it anymore.

08-05-2015, 09:10 AM
Ah, "heritage plans". I wish I had one like that, one that I could pass down to my kids and grand kids.

08-06-2015, 11:44 PM
Actually, your roommate may been using data on his Go Phone. I have a Go Phone and I can use it for browsing - the data charges come out of the money for my minutes. Granted, they charge about 10x as much for data so I don't use it for anything short of dire emergencies.

Yeah, when I used a burner phone at a convention, I had the same deal - send and receive E-mail, send a text, or just talk on the thing, and it all came out of the same account. It was just odd that every resource at his fingertips, including the phone itself, was screaming at him to get a data plan, and it didn't even occur to him to talk to a salesperson. In a city stiff with AT&T stores, no less.

I think he got a little buyer's remorse, even though he didn't actually pay cash for the handset, and convincing himself that the phone was broken was a way to weasel out of the deal. It was very hard to convince him otherwise - he had to actually see data pouring into the browser to admit that the phone worked.