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New Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎10-30-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Does RIM produce an unlocked 8900?

Hi,

 

First, I'd like to apologize in advance in case I make any sort of faux pas in this message. This is my first post here, so I'm not familiar with the customs and etiquette of these forums.

 

That aside, I'm looking into buying my first Blackberry, and I'm pretty sure I want a Curve 8900. (I am currently with AT&T in the US and have an LG Vu on a family plan.) I'd rather use Wi-Fi and not pay for a data plan, but AT&T has responded to some of the massive internet overage bills people have been getting by requiring a data plan for all smartphones, including the 8900. However, my family is a bit cheap and I don't see myself needing 24/7 data and email access often, as I am almost always in range of the Wi-Fi networks at home or at friends' houses. I'm pretty sure I can get by without a data/email plan, so I'm trying to buy a phone that will stay out of AT&T's radar.

 

I've been looking at eBay to find a suitable phone, and a few have caught my eye. Most are unlocked T-Mobile models, but I have seen some that are unbranded and claim to have been unlocked from the start (when they were newly-bought). Does RIM make unlocked Curve 8900s? If so, the ones I have seen have black battery covers, no logo where the carrier's logo would be, and number keys that have the numbers in red like the T-Mobile model (unlike the AT&T version's black-and-silver keys)--do the unlocked models have these characteristics?

 

The reason I am asking is that I want to play it safe. As a high-school student, a smartphone is a somewhat heavy investment. Most of the unlocked T-Mobile phones are a bit cheaper than the competition. As a result, I am considering buying an unlocked T-Mobile 8900 instead of the AT&T variety (which is guaranteed to be found and rate-hiked AT&T) or an unlocked model (which may be a bit pricier, and I'm not sure exists). The big issue is that, somehow, AT&T is able to automatically discover a phone's model if it is connected to their network. They will slap the data plan onto a user's contract once the phone is detected. I believe that this is done when the IMEI number transmitted by the phone to the network is recognized. However, I've heard that AT&T does not have access to the IMEI numbers of unlocked phones, or devices sold by other networks. This means that they wouldn't be able to add the data fee to a plan. Is this true?


Please let me know if I've done anything out-of-the-ordinary. Thanks in advance for any help.

 

New Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎10-30-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Does RIM produce an unlocked 8900?

[ Edited ]

To clarify what I said in the third paragraph (the phone has a black battery cover), it looks practically identical to the one listed as the International Version With No Warranty on Amazon.  http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/wireless/detail-page/bberry-8900-back.jpg has a picture of what the typical unlocked one looks like. Can AT&T trace it and peg a data plan onto the contract?

Guru III
Posts: 32,116
Registered: ‎06-25-2008
My Device:

I'm rockin the BlackBerry PRIV, Passport, Z30, Z10, Q10, BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker, 64 gig PlayBook,BT Headset HS-700

My Carrier: I am on AT&T. Please edit your Personal Profile with your DEVICE TYPE, DEVICE OS and Carrier

Re: Does RIM produce an unlocked 8900?

BlackBerry smart phones work better on a BlackBerry dataplan.

 

With out it you get no emails, app world, IM, GPS, and more.

 

Wifi gets you WiFi browser access and thats about it.

 

Almost any BlackBerry smart phone can be unlocked or bought that way.

 

AT&T will not bolt on a dataplan, I used a blackjack for a while with out one. Just make sure you turn off the data services

 

See Horizon Wireless Onlinefor BB unlocks, parts and accessories.

 




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New Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎10-30-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Does RIM produce an unlocked 8900?

Hi knottyrope,

 

Thanks for the reply. I realize that working without a data plan will cripple some functions and that's a trade-off I'm willing to make. I just don't see myself in many situations where I need to have push email, AT&T Navigator, and so on. However, your statements did raise a couple of questions I hope you can answer.

 

You said that app world does not work without a data plan. I hope I don't sound like I'm confronting you, but how is that possible? I thought that downloads simply required a connection to the Internet, which Wi-Fi would provide. Or is App World a service provided by the carrier, like T-Mobile's T-Zones? Is there a "back door" that allows a device to download apps from App World? (I'm only interested in legal methods.)


I know that it used to be that prior to September 6th 2009, AT&T would not automatically peg you with a data plan if you used a smartphone with their network. However, it seems like policies have changed. According to some threads (like this one) on the AT&T forums, it seems like a data plan will be required in most cases. Are you sure that they won't get you if you turn off data?