How To Use An Android Phone Without A Data Plan

Android phones are awesome and all, but the fact remains that Android phones are too expensive for some. $30 a month is a lot to pay for a data contract, especially when it takes your monthly bill close to $100 for a single line. But how can you use an Android phone without a data plan? The best option is to buy a used, contract-free device and then activate it without a data plan. Then, keep your cellular data turned off and only use Wi-Fi.
1. Find a good Android phone secondhand
You might be surprised at how cheaply you can get a gently used Android device. eBay or Craigslist are mainstays for buying used electronics, and there’s a new site called Swappa that’s dedicated to providing a marketplace for people trying to buy and sell used Android devices. The prices are low and the site makes it easy to connect with sellers.
On Swappa, you can get an original Droid for as low as $90, a Nexus One for as low as $210, and a Galaxy S for as low as $200, among many more. Granted, these phones are used, but you are still getting a contract-free Android phone for as cheap as you’d pay for a new one and a two-year contract. Make sure that you’re buying a phone that is compatible with your current carrier.
2. Swap out your old phone with your new one
How to switch phones depends on the carrier. If you’re on AT&T or T-Mobile, all you’ll need to do is switch the SIM card from the old phone to the new phone. Sprint requires online activation, and unfortunately Verizon does not allow smartphones to be activated without a data plan.
For Sprint, you can either go through the process at or bring both phones into a retail Sprint store and it will handle the changeover for you.
3. Ensure that cellular data is turned off on your new Android phone
Once you’re up and running on your new phone, it’s very important to ensure that mobile data is turned OFF to avoid getting dinged with a gigantic bill. Without a data plan, your data access is pay-per-use, and the fees are steep — dollars per megabyte in some cases. You’re only going to be able to use Wi-Fi on your smartphone, so you’ll want to turn off the data entirely so you’re sure it won’t be used.
To do this, download an app from the Market called APN on-off Widget. Add the widget to your homescreen and use it to turn your mobile data OFF. If it’s been turned off successfully, you will no longer see 3G, 2G, or 1X listed next to your signal meter in the status bar on your phone.
After this, you’re all ready to go. Enjoy your cheaper Android device!