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I have a phone, but it doesn't need internet (I use it as a regular phone + wifi). However, the cell phone company decided that if I have a smartphone, it needs to come with a data plan.

Can I do anything (including modify my rom) to look like a regular flip phone to my carrier?

I have a sim-card phone.

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As far as I know, phones don't report to the carrier if they are smartphones or not. They only report their unique IMEI number, from which they can't tell the type of your phone. (Unless they ask the manufacturer.) Also it is illegal to change. The carrier forcing you to pay for a data plan simply because you have a smartphone would be weird and highly unacceptable.

What I think is happening here is that your carrier has a "default data plan" with no subscription fee and a high rate, which is available to all customers by default. Your old "dumbphone" didn't use it, so you didn't get billed for it. Your new smartphone, however, uses it by default when it isn't connected to WiFi, so you get billed for it. (My old carrier did this with the price of $0.05 per 10kB, restarted at every connection to the mobile data. So every time I turned on my phone or moved out and back into coverage I got billed. I didn't even have a smartphone, just a semi-dumb one which could visit simple web pages. I was pissed when I found out.) The solution could be

  • Disabling mobile data in the settings
  • Asking your carrier to disable this default data plan
  • Setting wrong APN names so that your phone isn't able to connect to the mobile data
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  • +1 if the OP signed a contract with the carrier, they can enforce that plan, and they don't care if you use or don't use data. If this type of 'dependent selling' is not allowed in the OP's country they could have grounds to dispute mis-selling of the contract, but there's nothing that can be done to say it's not smart phone, and I'd imagine EVEN IF you could do it they'd just keep billing for the ability to use data and the data plan, regardless of the device on the plan. You could throw the phone in a river and they will keep billing you.
    – RossC
    Oct 28, 2014 at 14:09
  • Well yes, but who reads those contracts? :) Seriously, I think this was the case that made OP think that the carrier signed her up for a data plan for for having a smartphone. If she had signed a contract which included a data plan, she would know of it.
    – matega
    Oct 28, 2014 at 16:05
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    Yeah I'd wager that they said at the point of sale "it's a smart device, you get a smart contract" and the quote "the cell phone company decided that if I have a smartphone, it needs to come with a data plan." suggests (it's hard to tell) that they agreed to a contract for a data plan on a smart phone.
    – RossC
    Oct 28, 2014 at 16:12
  • Either way your answer stands as correct, there's nothing phone related can be done other than to contact the network and try to get them to change the plan on the device!
    – RossC
    Oct 28, 2014 at 16:20

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