Windows Phone Development - will any US carriers activate a smartphone without a data plan? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hello,

    Years ago, I was very active in developing for the Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 platform.  I purchased a Dell Axim x3i (integrated wireless) device and was thoroughly pleased with the experience.  Today no one sells standalone PDAs -- the smartphone market has taken over.  I have had several ideas I have wanted to pursue on a mobile platform for quite some time, however I continually postpone these plans as I cannot find a US wireless carrier that will activate phone service on a smartphone without wanting to bundle it with a data plan.  The thought of having internet on a phone is fantastic to me, however I'm not willing to pay extra for it (I already pay $100+/month for [faster] broadband at my home.  I'm not interested in paying my wireless provider for another Internet account, that has such a low bandwidth cap and would only be useable from the smartphone (not going to pay for tethering either...)  I only want to use the 802.11x functionality and phone network (voice calls inbound/outbound).  I'm fine with paying full price for the device as long as the wireless provider activates phone service without additional data fees.

    While a popular platform with many, I hate Apple's draconian "our way or the highway" approach to their products so I will not consider any of their offerings (plus I'm not going to buy a Mac and pay money for their sub-par development tools)

    That leaves Microsoft and Android.  As a professional who works for a Microsoft shop, I use Visual C++ and C# daily and therefore have a bias towards these familiar tools.  My current wireless phone is a flip phone and I am contemplating the possibility of upgrading to a smartphone if I can do so without having to pay for the unnecessary data plan.  My family is on the Sprint network... I'm rather disappointed in the selection of Windows phones that they seem to offer (only one?!!)  Verizon seems to have a much better selection, but breaking away from the family plan would not be a financially wise decision for me (I live in a metropolitan area and Sprint and Verizon coverage is excellent...some of my family live in regions where Verizon has only roaming coverage...hence the reason for using Sprint)

    I must admit, I'm not entirely sold on the Windows 8 metro look... I've used it on a desktop at work and its somewhat awkward to me.  It definitely makes more sense for touch devices like phone or surface tablet.  The Samsung Galaxy device looks nice, but then I'd have to use Java...and I haven't done anything with that since being a university student nearly 10 years ago.

    Anyways, is there a way to activate a Windows Smartphone with a US provider (preferably Sprint) without being billed a data fee?  I realize there are emulators that one can use for development (I used them while developing for my old WinMobile2003 PDA)... but the software I build I also want to use (it's what drives me to build it in the first place) so I want to actually use the software while mobile, not only while in front of my development environment.

    I just bought a new Samsung SmartTV a few months ago and I notice I can also build apps for that.. so if there is no way to activate a smartphone w/o internet fees today, I will probably explore the TV (Java...ugh) and wait for the day when the ISPs realize not everyone uses their phone as their only link to the Internet :)

    Thanks for your comments,


    Wednesday, June 26, 2013 6:00 AM

All replies

  • I don't see any replies to this question, so you would probably be best off directly contacting a carrier to ask them. 

    Matt Small - Microsoft Escalation Engineer - Forum Moderator
    If my reply answers your question, please mark this post as answered.

    NOTE: If I ask for code, please provide something that I can drop directly into a project and run (including XAML), or an actual application project. I'm trying to help a lot of people, so I don't have time to figure out weird snippets with undefined objects and unknown namespaces.

    Thursday, June 27, 2013 4:09 AM
  • I've been struggling to find any cooperative carriers -- everyone insists on the data plan if I want phone service active (which of course I do...what would be the point of carrying a phone if you can't use it as a phone?).

    And now I just learned that MSFT is charging [at least] $99 to do WP development.... (that was one of my gripes about AAPL's development program).  Not that $99/yr is going to break me, but I do see it as an unnecessary fee -- if anything MSFT should be paying ME for targeting their platform (selling point for WP devices).

    But whatever.  If I can't get a working phone without a data plan then it is a moot point anyways.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question.


    Thursday, June 27, 2013 4:49 AM
  • How much are you spending (or willing to spend) on your voice plan? T-Mobile has a $30/month plan with 1500 talk minutes. It also happens to include 30 MB of data, but you shouldn't care if $30/mo is acceptable for your phone service. See the bottom right corner of this page: http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-plans. You can provide your own GSM unlocked phone and just get a SIM card from T-Mobile.

    Personally if I was in your situation, I would avoid the carriers and just buy a phone for development only to use on WiFi.

    • Edited by mSpot Inc Thursday, June 27, 2013 8:12 PM rephrase
    Thursday, June 27, 2013 6:29 AM