Welcome to the 411, my Q&A column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have the same questions, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at email@example.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Hi Nicole, I read CNET reviews from time to time and your team there is really helpful with great unbiased reviews. I am writing because I can't seem to find concrete information about using an unlocked smartphone. Like some people, I would like a smartphone, but do not want to carry a data plan and occasionally use e-mail and Web over Wi-Fi. I have read that buying an unlocked (smart)phone that is carrier-free can be used this way. But I have also read that companies (AT&T to be specific) can recognize even an unlocked smartphone not purchased from them, and automatically assign a data plan to the voice plan. I specifically want to buy a used unlocked Nokia E71, and get a SIM card with no contract or data plan. Can I do this, or do the new practices by carriers make that not possible? Any help is appreciated, thanks for your time.--Scott, via e-mail… Read more