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Thread: Android, smart phone without the data plan?

  1. #1
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    Android, smart phone without the data plan?

    I know most companies require a data plan when you want to activate a smart phone, and like most people, I can't afford a data plan. I've heard people say to just use Google voice with talkatone or some other means of wifi calling, but it seems kind of useless in areas without WiFi.

    I have a dumb phone with Bluetooth, and I can use a device like Garmin GPS to make and receive calls with it. What I was wondering was if an Android phone could be turned into something similar. I would still be using my old cruddy phone, but using my Android as a hub. Does anyone know if this is possible with an app? Or if Android is even capable of making such software work?

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    I find your post confusing. I'll explain why and see if you can clarify based on that. Either I'm reading your post wrong or you have the wrong idea of how these technologies work. Whatever the reason, I can't tell what you're wanting to accomplish.

    A data plan is a way to get on-the-go Internet access (to do web surfing, email, etc), provided by the carrier (Verizon, AT&T, etc). Yes, as you say, most carriers require data plans for smartphones and, yes, data plans are expensive.

    However, WiFi calling isn't about making up for the lack of a data plan. WiFi calling is about using WiFi networks (the kind of wireless network commonly used by computers) to make free calls instead of using minutes on the voice plan you have with your carrier.

    A standalone GPS device (such as your Garmin) is about location, and only location. The GPS device pings three satellites orbiting the Earth and the satellites respond. The GPS device measures the response times to triangulate its position and compute the longitude and latitude. By repeating this process, the GPS devices tracks your movement from one set of coordinates to another set of coordinates. The GPS device then combines this with locally stored maps to give turn by turn directions to your desired destination. That's what a GPS device is for. That's all it does.

    Your GPS device is not the the thing that makes your dumb phone able to make calls. GPS has no ability to make calls or transmit voice or Internet signals. What makes your dumb phone able to make calls is your carrier (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc). To make calls your cell phone sends radio signals over the air to the nearest cell phone tower owned by your carrier (or by a roaming partner). The cell phone tower then uses its backhaul (a wired connection) to connect calls into the plain old telephone system (POTS). This applies similarly to text messages and cellular data.

    The way to use a smartphone without a data plan is to use a carrier that doesn't require a data plan for smartphones. For example, Page Plus in the US (but there are several others). The carrier would provide your phone with voice and text service, and then for Internet use you would be limited to WiFi. JiWire has a large database of WiFi hotspots around the world, and it makes a WiFi Finder app for Android. There would be no reason to keep using your dumb phone. In your question, I'm not sure what it is you think your smartphone would be providing to your dumb phone.

    Note: With WiFi calling, you can use WiFi networks to make free calls when you are connected to WiFi, but when you are not connected to WiFi you would use the voice minutes provided by the carriers. So, free calls when you have WiFi, but you can still make calls when you don't have WiFi (using regular voice minutes from the carrier). WiFi isn't primarily about making voice calls. It's just a way to access the Internet (or another TCP/IP network) on a computer, phone, tablet, etc. It just so happens that on the Internet there are services like Google Voice, SIP, and Skype which can be used to make voice calls.
    Last edited by Slinkwyde; 03-28-2013 at 02:34 AM.

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    Perhaps you were thinking of using your smartphone to run apps and use WiFi (when available), but you wanted the smartphone to somehow share its voice and text ability to your dumb phone? That's not possible, and if it were it wouldn't get around a carrier requiring data plans for a smartphone.

    You could carry a deactivated smartphone with no cell service plus your dumb phone with voice and text service, but at that point your smartphone would just be operating separately from your dumb phone, rather than providing something to it. You'd also be carrying two separate devices for no real reason, instead of carrying only the smartphone and using it by itself for voice, text, and and WiFi on a carrier that doesn't require data plans for smartphones.

    Were you saying that your Garmin GPS can also double as a Bluetooth headset for your phone, allowing you to make calls using a microphone and speaker on the GPS? That makes much more sense, but I've never heard of a GPS device that was able to do that.

    Maybe I'm just reading your post wrong in the wee hours of the morning, but I hope you see now why I'm confused. Sorry for being longwinded.

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    More complicated than I wanted

    I meant using my smartphone that isn't activated as a device that can make calls with my dumb phone. Example: dial a number with my smart phone and it makes the call with the service on my dumb phone, and when I get a call on my dumb phone, the smart phone can answer it. I used the Garmin device as an example, Garmin does not have the phone service, but it can utilize the phone service through my dumb phone. This is what I'm asking of a smart phone, can it act in a similar manner as the gps unit's ability to utilize my dumb phone's call service. All I want to do is have my dumb phone sitting in my pocket and only have to use my smart phone. Attaching a photo diagram to hopefully clarify. And thank you for the responses, sorry I wasn't clearer with my question.
    Name:  diagram.jpg
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    Was wondering if there was an app or if it was possible to create an app to make such a thing happen. I don't want to have to pay for a data plan if I can avoid it, I'm fine with carrying 2 devices, I just didn't want to have to switch between devices if I could combine the power of both with the smart phone. So if there was an app that worked a lot like the Bluetooth dialer function in the Garmin device, that would be fantastic. I don't need to use my carrier's data network if I can use WiFi for data.

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    No it is not possible to route smartphone calls through a dumbphone.

    You can carry a "MiFi" type hotspot, which will fit in your pocket and use a smartphone to make calls and texts using Google Voice over VOIP. With that setup you would only have the monthly cost of the MiFi, and wouldn't even need to have the smartphone activated on any network....and you would have data since you would be a walking wifi hotspot.

    There also are still some options for having a smartphone with no data plan. AT&T GoPhone is one of them. You can pay as you go for calls and texts with a smartphone and not even have a data plan with GoPhone service. Then you would need to rely on wifi only for data.

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    The only way you could make calls with a Smartphone not activated is over an open enough Wi-Fi connection using VoIP and Google Voice or something similar. But you could try T-Mobile's prepaid. They'd let you do text/phone and no data (just be careful).

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    Page Plus doesn't require data plans for smartphones. You can ask them to disable cellular data on the account. You'd only pay for voice and text, just like what you have now with your dumb phone. For Internet, you'd use WiFi.

    You'd carry only one device (the smartphone), and you wouldn't have to pay for a data plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lavadolphin View Post
    ut it can utilize the phone service through my dumb phone
    You Garmin GPS is just a Bluetooth device connecting to your Bluetooth enabled dumb phone.

    Why would you want to answer your calls with your smartphone from your dumb phone?

    Just get your cell phone service transfer ed to your new smart phone and then you can still use your Bluetooth Garmin GPS with your Bluetooth enabled smartphone.


    Good Luck

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    The point was to have a cell number that could be called and received on a smartphone without having to pay for both a data and a voice plan. Verizon as well as most major cell providers force you to get a data plan with a smart phone. I was hoping to bypass that by using my dumbphone on my current non-data plan and was hoping my dumbphone could just sit in my pocket while I answered my smart phone when my dumbphone recieved calls. As I said, the garmin was an example, I wanted to use my smartphone with my dumbphone in the same way my garmin uses the dumbphone, but from what I can tell that's currently not possible unless the smartphone's been modded in some way.

    I looked into MiFi, looks like an interesting solution to my problem, there's some nice plans out there for 2gb/mo for $20/mo, do you know if voip uses anymore bandwidth other than making and receiving calls? or just during the call session? and also, is there a cheap solution to getting a local voip number? I can only get free ones outside my area code it seems. I assume that affects the people who call me and receive my call on their bills as long distance if they don't have unlimited LD.

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    You seem to be stuck on using your dumb phone and its plan. Others have already explained that it would be far simpler to just activate you smartphone on a prepaid MVNO, paying for only talk and text. Is your dumb phone on some contract that you're stuck with for awhile? That's the only explanation I can come up with for what you are insistent about. If so, use your smartphone as a wifi-only device - like an iPod - and use your dumb phone like you've been doing. If your dumb phone is not on a contract, port your dumb phone number to a prepaid MVNO (like Page Plus) attached to the ESN of your smartphone, and ditch the dumb one.

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    I think the decision to use carrier plans is based on people's monthly usage. If they are type of people who don't do phone call that much, but love to use internet and text, then they can go to unlocked phones instead. Some of providers have great deals on internet data cost per month and the cost of texting is usually cheap.

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    Re: Android, smart phone without the data plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slinkwyde View Post

    A standalone GPS device (such as your Garmin) is about location, and only location. The GPS device pings three satellites orbiting the Earth and the satellites respond. The GPS device measures the response times to triangulate its position and compute the longitude and latitude.
    Welll, no. The GPS does not PING the satellites, it just receives the signals from MORE than 3 of them, then calculates your position.


    --Tapatalk on SGS3.

  13. #13
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    I don't know if this will help the OP, but I will give it a shot anyway.

    I am a very light talk and text user that mainly uses his Android Smartphone for everything but talking including surfing the web and checking email via wifi when available. I currently own an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Nexus that I current use on AT&T GoPhone (Pay-As-You-Go) 10 cents per minute plan that has no data plan available. I use wifi when available and go without data on the go. There is no monthly plan whatsoever and I currently put in $100 into my account every year to keep in active. I can talk and text on the plan.

    If you want something cheaper and the coverage works for you, I would suggest T-Mobile Pay-As-You-Go plan that also offers 10 cents per minute and no monthly fees. T-Mobile has wifi calling, but I have never used it. The only reason i don't use T-Mobile is because the coverage in my town and the next town over is terrible to doesn't exist.

    The GPS, just use it to get from point A to point B in your car and that's it. And loss the dumb phone and upgrade to the Android Smartphone. Good luck OP.

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    I am NO expert by any means but just recently I was able to (ACCIDENTALLY) do this but I had to have 2 services set up. I had service with Straight Talk then NET10 $45/mo plan pre-pay --which I don't recommend to any one who expects to have internet access. Once THEY say you have exceeded your data limit they block your wi-fi access as well-- & Verizon pre-pay $1.99/day for calls & 2cent for text. Verizon was a dumb flip phone & Net10 was a smart phone. I could text & call on flip phone and had my calls forwarded to the NET10 smart phone. Forwarded calls still charged my account $1.99 for the day when a call was forwarded but I could answer on my Smart phone. Then I could notify people of my new number. I was in transition to find what service worked in my area & everyone had my Verizon number already. Tell the service you have on the dumb phone you want call forwarding to phone number of smart phone. I have since gone back to Verizon's NEW pre-pay $35/mo 500mins calls, unlimited text & pic text & (supposedly) unlimited data on the flip phone. The jury is still out on how much data is allowed.
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Also if you use the un-activated smart phone on wi-fi ONLY there is Text Free, Text Plus, Voxer, Pinger etc FREE apps (from Google Play Store) that you can make & receive phone calls from people who also have the app for free but they assign a different phone number. Calls cost your account if you call a number not with assigned app phone number.
    Last edited by Roadtripinblues; 04-19-2013 at 06:31 PM. Reason: added foot note

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    Totally free via wifi

    Quote Originally Posted by lavadolphin View Post
    I know most companies require a data plan when you want to activate a smart phone, and like most people, I can't afford a data plan. I've heard people say to just use Google voice with talkatone or some other means of wifi calling, but it seems kind of useless in areas without WiFi.

    I have a dumb phone with Bluetooth, and I can use a device like Garmin GPS to make and receive calls with it. What I was wondering was if an Android phone could be turned into something similar. I would still be using my old cruddy phone, but using my Android as a hub. Does anyone know if this is possible with an app? Or if Android is even capable of making such software work?
    I understand the post completely is there a away at all to send and receive calls from one device TOTALLY FREE VIA WIFI AM I CORRECT

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