08-24-2008 11:07 AM
If this question has already been beaten to death, I apologize. I just received my new Blackberry 8120 in the mail. Setup went fairly smoothly; it seems like a nice little phone.
But the main reason I bought it was because AT&T finally offered a phone that would allow me to access my home wireless network, or the Wi-Fi hotspots at airports, hotels, etc. in order to check my e-mail (GMail) or get info from Web sites. I am not interested in VoIP. But after spending hours on the phone with AT&T technical support, I finally learned that I must sign up for a data plan in order to use my phone's built-in Wi-Fi features. This doesn't make and sense (to me) at all, since I bought the phone so I wouldn't have to pay for AT&T's broadband data access. All I want to do is access Wi-Fi networks, just as I do with my laptop computer!
Anyway, AT&T tech support said to call Blackberry, and they gave me a number to call. But the automated answering system asked me to enter my tech support contract number or something, which I didn't have, so I came here instead. My main question: has anyone found a way to access Wi-Fi from the Blackberry Pearl 8120 phone without signing up for an (unneeded) data plan? I don't care which browser I use, just as long as I can access the Web. I'd also love to know why AT&T / Blackberry imposes this requirement on their customers, since I know of no technical reason why broadband access is a prerequisite for Wi-Fi. If I can do it on my old laptop, why not on the 8120?
Any suggestions or explanations are most welcome!! Thanks in advance to any advice you folks can offer this newbie!!
Solved! Go to Solution.
08-24-2008 11:19 AM
08-30-2008 08:59 PM
I was about to post the same problem verbatim. However, I did ask tech II customer support @ AT&T if I had to have the blackberry data plan for the wi-fi to work correctly and they could not confirm that. I was told they had no information on the wi-fi access and could NOT help me with any connection problems regarding that. I took that meaning they dont force you to buy the plan to get wi-fi access. They told me to contact Blackberry tech support...hence why I'm reading the forums.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advanced
08-31-2008 08:58 AM
After nearly three hours of troubleshooting, my tech support guy finally found someone at AT&T who told him about the data plan requirement. He got back on the line with me and sounded really embarrassed that it was their software that was causing the problem. That got my curiosity up, so I pursued the matter with AT&T management, asking them why the 8120 had that restriction. It took me awhile, but here's the official answer I got from them. It would be funny if it weren't so ridiculous:
I wanted to get back with you on your inquiry regarding the AT&T BlackBerry 8120. The Wi-Fi capability on the BlackBerry 8120 is a complementary feature to the AT&T network to provide additional coverage for data applications, while also adding the capability of simultaneous voice and Wi-Fi data access to those applications, Web browsing, and corporate (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) and/or personal (BlackBerry Internet Service) e-mail. Due to the architectural and service relationship we have with RIM, BlackBerry data traffic is routed via RIM's network versus direct access via the Internet, so Wi-Fi only access is not an available service on the BlackBerry device. In order to do Web browsing and e-mail, service access is initiated and available by AT&T to RIM, and this is why a data plan is required for the device. It enhances the mobile experience when the customer has access for their data needs to both the AT&T wireless data network and Wi-Fi hot spots, including the AT&T Wi-Fi network, which covers 17,000 hot spots nationwide. We believe this bundled solution gives our customers a great experience at an affordable price.
If you are looking for a device for Wi-Fi use only, you might want to consider a Windows Mobile device, such as the AT&T Tilt. Unlike the BlackBerry 8120, Windows Mobile devices provide direct browsing access over the Internet and do not require an AT&T data plan.
09-02-2008 01:57 AM
Okay, so I ordered one of these 8120's today (AT&T Wireless), the main reason being that I would be able to access the internet without paying out the rear for a data plan that is WAY overpriced. I don't want to pay half a grand so I can check email. I wanted to get WiFi so that I could simply hook up to my wireless router (much as the above users) at my place, at school, and at friends' houses. After reading the former posts, I have become extremely frustrated. I haven't even got the phone yet, but this seems about like the type of crap that AT&T likes to pull. I read everything, even the fine print in all the contractual stuff that I signed (I'm simply upgrading a phone, not buying a new plan and contract) and NEVER did it ever mention anything about a mandatory data plan to use features except pushing email; not something I was worried about. The only time it said anything about needing a data plan, was to use the mail in rebate of $50.
To conclude this rant, I do have an idea: is it possible that if you "unlock" the phone, could you somehow access the WiFi without having a data plan? I thought that if you somehow unlocked it you may be able to use WiFi without the data plan.
Also, if this doesn't work, is there a way to reinstall the BB operating system so that it would delete all of the corporate software that AT&T installs, thus providing a shortcut around the WiFi restriction?
Again, I don't have the phone yet, but I was just giving it a thought. Anyone with thoughts please feel free to comment/suggest.
09-02-2008 08:35 AM
I may be wrong, but my impression is that the phone is not locked. The software (AT&T's browser) has been rigged somehow to check to make sure you bought the data plan before it lets you do what any browser should do -- surf the Web. If you could somehow download a new, unmodified browser, you would be OK. I rode my bike around town and watched as the phone identified and connected to several Wi-Fi hotspots, most free, requiring no login. My own home wireless network is completely unblocked, and even my neighbors use it (which is OK with me). So the phone definitely has the ability to do its job.
I look at this as a form of extortion. You are being forced to buy something you don't want or need, and the data plan is definitely not a technical requirement to use Wi-Fi. Ask anyone who knows the technical side of this phone and they will agree. I have already written to the president of AT&T Mobile and am now pursuing my state's public service commission which regulates AT&T. I'd love to see others get on board and let AT&T and regulatory agencies know how you feel about this! Go back and read the "explanation" they sent me -- it is 100% BS! This is just an illegal way to extort additional revenue from their customers.
09-02-2008 09:32 AM - edited 09-02-2008 09:34 AM
I hear you man. I'll honestly go ahead and try the phone out. I would have cancelled my order, but amazingly, they shipped it within 6 hours. If I can manage to do anything that solves the problem, I will keep everyone informed. This forum provided a glimpse of hope regarding this issue, but I'm still skeptical (http://forums.wireless.att.com/cng/board/print?boa
I too will consider writing a letter on this issue should it also arise. I mean, I'll give them a fair shot and see if it works. I know tech support won't be able to help out with anything; they have the same "c-o-m-p-u-t-e-r-i-z-e-d" response and have been ill-trained in really helping people. Techie mavericks like you and I in random forums stand a better chance at figuring things out. Have a good one, Jay
09-02-2008 09:42 AM
Jay -- good luck to you on this. I hope you do find a real solution and post it here for all Blackberry 8120 owners to see. That little phone is not a bad one; I hated to send it back, but now I'm planning to order the AT&T Tilt, which many people have told me can get around the data plan restriction.
But I'm still mad at AT&T for pulling this stunt with the 8120! And I'm really surprised that so many users go along with AT&T and fork over the monthly data plan charges, just so they can use the Wi-Fi feature. I wish more would rise up and fight them!!
09-02-2008 11:30 AM