advertisement
Deals | News | Forums

The Forum is sponsored by 
 

AAPL stock: $102.99 ( +0.52 )

*Cached every 60 seconds. For live updating, Click Here

You are currently viewing the Tips and Deals forum
Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 08, 2012 01:27PM
son is graduating HS 5/25 and my gift will be an HTC Vivid which i'll subsidize for a year. BUT, for reasons too tedious to go into, i don't really want to add his data plan to my bill until my billing cycle renews. if i give him the phone at graduation will he be able to use the wifi without the phone part being activated? i think playing around with the android OS will occupby him sufficiently for the few weeks.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 08, 2012 01:45PM
Yes.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: Robert M
Date: May 08, 2012 01:55PM
Gray,

Interesting question. I know it's definitely possible to use an IPhone as a WiFi only device and without cellular service of any kind. Not even phone service. I gave my old IPhone 3GS to my mom to use as an iPod Touch. Works great. If she wants to, she can even use it as a phone over WiFi via services like Vonage Mobile. Not sure if you can do this with an Android phone. If you can, it leads to a different issue.

The problem is that giving someone a smartphone without a data plan is giving him/her a crippled phone. Free (or paid for) Wifi is available in many places but it is not available and reliable enough to replace cellular data while out and about. He can use it as a phone for calls but he'll have to find a place that has wifi, free or otherwise, for data features otherwise the phone is only going to be useful for tasks that do not require a data connection of some sort, i.e. playing games, watching/listening to content already stored on the device, etc.

It's a workable situation for my mom since, due to extenuating circumstances, she always has wifi available to her. The same is unlikely to be true for your son and he'll find himself very frustrated with a phone that won't be much use to him because he can't get a wifi connection.

One thing to be careful of is to make sure the cellular data is turned off and unable to be used at all. If you don't, you could find yourself with a _significant_ data bill. That and many smartphones require a data plan. You can't even use it as a phone only without ordering a data plan to go with it. This is the reason my mom doesn't have a smartphone. She has my old Sony Ericsson W810i for calls and used the old IPhone 3GS as a wifi only device.

FWIW, the idea to give my mom my old IPhone 3GS was to get her used to the iOS Interface in preparation for buying her an ipad. She has an ipad now, so she doesn't use the iphone anymore.

Robert



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2012 02:04PM by Robert M.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 08, 2012 02:14PM
Quote
Robert M
Gray,

The problem is that giving someone a smartphone without a data plan is giving him/her a crippled phone. Free (or paid for) Wifi is available in many places but it is not available and reliable enough to replace cellular data while out and about. He can use it as a phone for calls but he'll have to find a place that has wifi, free or otherwise, for data features otherwise the phone is only going to be useful for tasks that do not require a data connection of some sort, i.e. playing games, watching/listening to content already stored on the device, etc.

It's a workable situation for my mom since, due to extenuating circumstances, she always has wifi available to her. The same is unlikely to be true for your son and he'll find himself very frustrated with a phone that won't be much use to him because he can't get a wifi connection.

One thing to be careful of is to make sure the cellular data is turned off and unable to be used at all. If you don't, you could find yourself with a _significant_ data bill. That and many smartphones require a data plan. You can't even use it as a phone only without ordering a data plan to go with it. This is the reason my mom doesn't have a smartphone. She has my old Sony Ericsson W810i for calls and used the old IPhone 3GS as a wifi only device.

Robert

it would be wifi only for a just few weeks. he is already on my family plan with a dumb phone and phone wise he could keep using that in the interim. i'm buying the phone off ebay so it won't be tied to a contract. i did some billing changes to my ATT bill last month and i want those changes to shake out in a billing cycle before i activate the HTC and add a data plan for my son. he'll have the 3G plan unlike his 200mb mom. i plan to keep smart limits on his account just to make sure he CAN"T go over the data limit!



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 08, 2012 02:16PM
Yes. Since upgrading, I use my old Nokia e72 as a WiFi only device. Works well.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 08, 2012 02:21PM
that's what I did with my personal phone: bought a "prepaid" phone from T-Mo and just use it on wifi. it's a cheap-o chinese brand using the A-OS and it's ok by me. I'm too cheap to pay for a data plan, and it's what works for the rest of us.



“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
- John Lennon
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: May 08, 2012 02:32PM
"it would be wifi only for a just few weeks. he is already on my family plan with a dumb phone and phone wise he could keep using that in the interim."

Just make sure that he understands that if he decides to put the SIM from his current phone in to the new phone, that you will have to kill him.

: -)

My nephew has his phone on my sisters AT&T family plan. When he went off to college he decided to put his SIM in a friends iPhone just for an evening to see if it worked. It did and the result was that his mother got an instant and unwanted addition to her data plan.



Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 08, 2012 02:34PM
Quote
lafinfil
Just make sure that he understands that if he decides to put the SIM from his current phone in to the new phone, that you will have to kill him.

actually i was thinking of rigging it so the HTC would implode immediately in his ear if he did that. winking smiley



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: bik
Date: May 08, 2012 06:11PM
Quote
graylocks' son
Thanks for nothing, mom.

I've read your reasons for the "few weeks" delay, but... What kind of gift is that?
If your kid is graduating on time, give him a gift on time.
Crippled gifts are just plain tacky, and a few weeks is forever to a teenager.

I'm hoping this is the "bonus gift," and the real gift is something that will be fully functional at the time of giving.

I know this is rude and I don't intend it to be. I'm honestly just trying to advocate for a non-crappy gift for your son.

If he's a typical high school graduate, he'll really not be impressed by a gift with a catch.
If he's not typical - if he's a "really good kid who'll be patient and understand" - all the more reason for you to step up and reward him.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 08, 2012 06:14PM
Quote
bik
I know this is rude

apparently, you don't.

you don't walk in my shoes and i didn't ask you to try.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: vision63
Date: May 08, 2012 06:35PM
My buddy bought a used Vivid and he loves it. He got extra batteries on the cheap from eBay. He drives a Limo and uses the Google Maps GPS all day.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: bik
Date: May 08, 2012 06:58PM
Quote
graylocks
Quote
bik
I know this is rude

apparently, you don't.

Yeah, I did know that it sounded rude, but that wasn't really my intention.

Now, I KNOW this is rude, but I guess that's where we're at now:

You have some excuse about your data plan and it has nothing to do with your son and his accomplishment. This data plan thing is your deal, not his.

I thought maybe it hadn't occurred to you what a @#$%& gift this would be, and I was trying to let you know before it was too late. Clearly you don't care. Good for you.

As your son grows, I hope he learns somewhere not to give his loved ones crappy half-gifts with bundled excuses. Obviously he won't learn that from you.
---
That's what it would have been like if I intended to be rude.

And don't worry - I wouldn't walk in your shoes if you paid me.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 08, 2012 07:07PM
Quote
bik
You have some excuse about your data plan and it has nothing to do with your son and his accomplishment. This data plan thing is your deal, not his.

my son is mature enough to understand that mom doesn't take this gift lightly and whatever she needs to do to make sure all her billing ducks are in a row so she can successfully undertake the additional responsibility is going to be fine with him. i consider myself blessed to have a child who will not have the reaction you apparently would in a similar situation. I raised him well.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: Winston
Date: May 08, 2012 07:14PM
Be careful if you are on AT&T. As lafinfil mentioned, some smart phones used on AT&T (not just iPhones) automatically trigger a data plan.


Good luck.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: bik
Date: May 08, 2012 07:27PM
I wouldn't have a bad reaction. I would have a gracious reaction for any kind of gift. Because I know how to properly receive AND GIVE a gift. It's not about the reaction, it's about the gift. Or half-gift, in this case.

It's better to give than to receive. It's even better to give something real and complete, and unfettered by ones own artificial handicaps.

If this is about money, well, I apologize for being a jerk. But maybe then you should rethink the whole thing.
If it's just about "ducks in a row," well, as I said, that's your deal. Don't make excuses. Make it happen. Reward the kid you say you raised well.

BTW - I'm probably as old as you are, or close to it, so don't act like the wise old grandma talking down to a foolish child.

With that, I'm done. I tried to help, and that was my mistake.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 08, 2012 07:51PM
Quote
Winston
Be careful if you are on AT&T. As lafinfil mentioned, some smart phones used on AT&T (not just iPhones) automatically trigger a data plan.


Good luck.

- Winston

i assume as long as he doesn't insert his current sim it shouldn't trigger anything prematurely. last time i checked seems ATT requires a data plan for all smartphones.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: Robert M
Date: May 08, 2012 08:46PM
Graylocks,

Not necessarily. It could still trigger the addition of a data plan, even if you've not signed up for it. I've heard AT&T will tack it on the moment it detects the use of a iphone (or smartphone).

Robert
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: rgG
Date: May 08, 2012 08:47PM
Quote
graylocks
Quote
Winston
Be careful if you are on AT&T. As lafinfil mentioned, some smart phones used on AT&T (not just iPhones) automatically trigger a data plan.


Good luck.

- Winston

i assume as long as he doesn't insert his current sim it shouldn't trigger anything prematurely. last time i checked seems ATT requires a data plan for all smartphones.

As long as he doesn't move the SIM, it will be fine. Until a SIM is inserted no network can see the phone. He might even be able to set up VOIP calling by installing SIpDroid. That way he could make calls over WiFi until you give him the OK to move the SIM. I haven't been able to get it set up on my daughter's old Droid, but I know it can be done.





Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta suburb)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2012 08:50PM by rgG.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: Robert M
Date: May 08, 2012 08:57PM
rgC,

I used Vonage Mobile on my IPhone 3GS when my wife and I were in Italy on our honeymoon. Worked great over WIFI. I'm betting there is a Vonage Mobile for Android. Another option might be the Magic Jack app. It's available for the iphone qand, likely, for Android. I've used it successfully on my Iphone 4S.

Robert
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 08, 2012 09:18PM
Quote
Robert M
rgC,

I used Vonage Mobile on my IPhone 3GS when my wife and I were in Italy on our honeymoon. Worked great over WIFI. I'm betting there is a Vonage Mobile for Android. Another option might be the Magic Jack app. It's available for the iphone qand, likely, for Android. I've used it successfully on my Iphone 4S.

Robert

except for the geek joy of making it work i doubt my son will bother trying VOIP as he has a working phone. what he is going to enjoy doing is exploring the android OS, store and apps. he specifically wanted an android phone as he feels he gets enough Apple jollies from his iPad and iMac.

not to mention that he rarely talks to anyone on the phone anyway. text - yes. talk - not so much.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2012 09:19PM by graylocks.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Can you wifi a smartphone w/o cell service
Posted by: rgG
Date: May 08, 2012 09:37PM
Robert,
Thanks for mentioning the MagicJack App. I was looking for something like that. I just installed it on my iPad and it seems to work.





Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta suburb)
Options:  Reply • Quote
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login