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Old 02-04-2005, 10:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can BlackBerry be used for phone only?

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Hi All - I am considering purchasing a Blackberry for the synchronization and phone features. I don't need the data features right now, but I may need them in a few months. Can I use the Blackberry as a phone only or must I purchase a data plan now too? Just curious.
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Old 02-04-2005, 10:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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With Verizon I believe the awnser is yes, but why would you want to? I can almost garantee they would be less than pleased to sell a BB w/out a BB plan. Even though the phone part of my new 7250 is execellent, their are less expensive options for a phone. I looked hard at getting a LG4500 and using Remo a Brew app ($8/month) for PIM integration. Must say, glad I didn't.

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Old 02-04-2005, 10:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It depends on your provider and if a data plan is part of a promotion price.

For the Blackberry to work as a phone you don't need a data plan. Data is transmitted through a GPRS connection and for phone only function all you need is GSM service.

In my opinion, a blackberry (non 7100 model) is not the best phone option. I love my 6230 to death and I'm looking to upgrade to a color screen in the very near future, however, as a phone only there are other options that may not be as cumbersome and awkward to use.

But the short answer is yes. You can use the a blackberry as a phone only.
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I currently am in that boat. I have a 7230 (t-mobile) and I am soooo happy with it. I picked it up on e-bay for $100(usd) and i really like it a lot.
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Old 02-05-2005, 12:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It is possible, but I can't for the life of me see why you'd want to. It'd be one expensive, severly feature-limited cell phone w/o the BB email system. To each their own....
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Old 02-05-2005, 01:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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well, obviously you've never used one by itself. I don't understand how people can pay $20-$30 for a data plan. I use the PDA features (contacts and calendar mainly.) Plus, it was only $100, so its way cheaper than a treo, and its more reliable.

I was a former PalmOS owner, but felt that the BB was more rock solid, and had better features (i dont lose my data when my battery dies, and the battery dies in 3 days!)
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Old 02-05-2005, 07:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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yea, I am a heavy user of the PIM features like calendar and contacts. There is no inexpensive phone option that will synch calendar and contacts except for the more expense PALM and PocketPC. The only real choices are palm and BB. So for a hundred bucks I get a great BB solution but I don't need the data portion. Can someone just make a phone for heavy PIM users that need synchronization of Outlook and full features of a phone, but no data?
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Old 02-05-2005, 07:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Does anyone know if you can use phone only on...
OLD AT&T?
CINGULAR?
VERIZON?
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You can use the phone only with any blackberry on any carrier, provided your Blackberry is either for that provider or unlocked.

You'd use the Blackberry as phone only, it is a very handy tool if you also rely on use of the Addressbook and have subscribed to call display.

Having said that, you cannot sync e-mail to the device..

it makes for a nice SMS platform if you are into that..
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Never thought of that

I've never thought that the BB has a more complete address book and more PDA like functions than other phones. I guess the calander and larger screen alone would be nice in a phone only application.

My draw was to the e-mail. By-by bulky laptop for those quick trips out-of-town and around the city.
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Old 02-05-2005, 09:13 AM   #11 (permalink)
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i can't remember where i saw it, but the Treo 600 was recently priced at $199...
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Old 02-05-2005, 09:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Whew! A lot of naysaying... I think most people saw
Quote:
phone only
and didn't bother to read or glossed over
Quote:
I don't need the data features right now, but I may need them in a few months.
As someone said, the answer is yes.

It might not be an ideal phone if that's all you need, but it offers better synching of contacts, calendar, tasks, and notes with Outlook than any other phone IMO. I do have to point out that I haven't really gone through a whole lot of different models of cell phone, so take what I say here with a grain of salt. The Blackberry isn't the best PIM out there either, but it definitely works and works well IMO.

In my experience, the Blackberry is sturdier and more reliable than the Palm options out there (including Treo) and that's an important point in my book as my phone/PDA doesn't sit in a glass case at home -- I carry it everywhere and drop it accidentally like most people do. I can't speak for PPC's really as I've never found one that I have liked.

Give it a shot with a provider that offers you a trial period (if the Blackberry still sounds like a good option after all this). If you do want the data features down the road,you'll be stuck paying full price if you get a different model of cell phone and the Blackberries aren't cheap at full price . You can, however, find basic cell phones for virtually nothing, even without provider subsidies and rebates.
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Old 02-05-2005, 10:54 AM   #13 (permalink)
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[and didn't bother to read or glossed over
Quote:
I don't need the data features right now, but I may need them in a few months.
GUILTY!!

So in retrospect, you need to go look at the providers in your area. Devices, coverage, device cost, and plan cost are all tradeoffs you will want to consider. I have used several other devices both Palm based and Smartphone based. They will work but most of these are not very reliable and some are real battery hogs.

I have just bought the BB from Verizon, I do not regret my decision but assuming you are in a good VZW area a LG 4500 is a great phone. My sales rep suggested I look at REMO a brew app that provides PIM and email with this phone for $8 a month. As you do not need data now, this may be a better solution for you today. But, maybe not. Now I am not a experienced BB user but the biggest disadvantage i have found is typing in one time call phone numbers. One advantage to the BB is a great contacts list that is very easy to look up numbers, better than any other device I have used before. I expect Remo will not work as well as the BB and this was a major consideration in my decision, but I needed the PIM and email now. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs.

I really like the screen on the BB better than any cell phone I have used before. I like the fact that it can operate w/ the blacklight off and has 2 stages of backlighting. The resolution is very good, I would like for it to be a bit larger.
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Old 02-05-2005, 11:35 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Treo for T-Mobile

T-Mobile website shows a Treo 600 for $299. They are also offering the BB7100t for $199. With a $19.99 unlimited data package, those are pretty good affordable options!

http://www.t-mobile.com/business/1to5/?sect=bus1to5
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Old 02-05-2005, 02:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If you manage to score a used BlackBerry for cheap, a BlackBerry for 100 dollars does make for a relatively good ruggedized PDA that happens to have a phone and a good thumb keyboard.

You may wish to upgrade to BlackBerryOS4 to get advantages of the Categories, Filter, and better PIM search capabilities. Then install software such as BBToday (like the Today screen on a PocketPC) to improve the PDA capabilities. It makes a very good SMS machine, and BlackBerry can allow you to compose 1000-character outgoing messages and automatically split them into multiple messages.

For sections of interest for BlackBerry as phone and PDA only, see my BlackBerry FAQ:

- SMS Message section
- Calendar Tricks
- Tips and Tricks (keyboard)

It may tempt you to upgrade to a full fledged BlackBerry plan down the road. Although there are severe limits to a BlackBerry without email, I prefer to have a crippled BlackBerry at $100 over an older monochrome PalmPilot handheld for free, since I can enter data so much faster with the thumb keyboard now than Grafitti (and I am very fast at Grafitti) Now that there`s finally sufficient enough third party software to take advantage of a BlackBerry just as usefully as an older monochrome PalmPilot.

(However, a color Treo 600 for $100 versus a Blackberry with no email, I would be tempted in that direction instead...)
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Old 02-05-2005, 07:48 PM   #16 (permalink)
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if anyone could give me a link for this supposed $100 treo, i'd like to see it. I was researching pda/phone options for about a month (in december) and decided on blackberry, since it was the most bang/buck.
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:53 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Update to all, and by the way thanks for all the posts. I spoke with AT&T now Cingular and they said that I CAN NOT use the BB as a phone only but I had to buy the BB plan at $30 a month and then add a phone plan to my BB plan at around $20 a month for a total of $50 month. I got this answer from 2 different reps. I am now going to check with Verizon..... wait to hear the answer.
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Old 02-05-2005, 09:25 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default T-Mobile

T-mobile adds it's data BB plans to existing phone service with them. If you buy a BB for T-mobile, you should be able to use it as a phone only without data service.

They say in order to get data you need a qualifying voice plan to begin with.
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Old 02-05-2005, 09:36 PM   #19 (permalink)
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And if you put a plain old AT&T SIM card (voice only) in an AT&T BlackBerry, I'd be willing to bet a lot that it would work just fine as a phone, and only as a phone and PIM sync.

Of course, I am not trying to sell you any data services, so I may have a different opinion that the sales team ;)
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Old 02-05-2005, 10:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Don't believe what they say.

The BlackBerry WILL work as a cellphone, even without a BlackBerry plan. Just don't tell the carrier you have a BlackBerry, just buy a SIM card for "some old cellphone" and not tell them which cellphone you have. You can walk into a phone store and just buy the SIM card, usually, and activate it without your carrier ever knowing what kind of phone you have.

Make sure that your BlackBerry is not locked to a specific carrier, or that you buy a SIM card specific to the carrier. If you buy a BlackBerry for use as a cellphone only, do not go with Verizon. Go with Cingular, AT&T or T-Mobile -- one of those GSM/GPRS carriers because they use plug-in cards called "SIM cards" that can be plugged into any GSM cellphone.

The rule of thumb is..... try to get a GSM/GPRS BlackBerry because they are the most flexible in being used as a phone-only device.

Get an unlocked 6230, 6280, 6730, 6780 (monochrome models)
or unlocked 7230, 7280, 7290, 7730, 7780 (color models).

Those are the ones that are the most flexible to be used as a cellphone only.

I do insist you consider a data plan; however the BlackBerry does nowadays make a reasonably good "old-PalmPilot substitute" that just happens to have a cellphone built in. The PIM is not as inferior as it used to be.

Bottom line, do not listen to Cingular/AT&T. You CAN buy a cheap unlocked BlackBerry off eBay, and use it as a phone on Cingular and/or AT&T. Just don't tell them you bought a BlackBerry, they will try to sell you a BlackBerry plan. Ironically, Cingular/AT&T is among one of the easiest networks to use BlackBerry "just as a phone".
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