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[Q] AT&T: How do they recognize IMEI of smartphones?

OP Arsene_Lupin

11th January 2014, 05:20 AM   |  #1  
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I'm hoping to get a smartphone (either a Moto-G or Nexus 5) without having to pay for a data plan. Yes, I know there are dozens of topics asking whether or not this can be done; I've read everyone--that's why I'm making this new thread.

There are a lot of different things I see stated on ways to get around AT&T automatic application of expensive data-plans when they detect that you're using a smartphone. Some people have said that all you have to do is turn off 3G Data Use from the menu of the new phone BEFORE inserting a new SIM card, and then insert the old dumphone sim card and everything will work. Some people make vague allusions to changing the IMIE--to which some people claim that's illegal, and others claim AT&T or random clerks at Radio Shack will do this for you upon request. Still others claim that all you need to do is install a "data blocker" program onto the smartphone before switching SIM cards, and it will do the trick.

The basic goal seems to be "hiding" the IMEI number from AT&T.

So, my question: how does AT&T recognize the IMEI number? Will they see it only if the phone is active on their 3G/4G/LTE networks? Or do they see it "through" the normal dumbphone calling networks?

My apologies if this is a stupid question. I really don't know anything about phones are anything about non-PC electronics or software in general. Basically, I'd like a smartphone but refuse to pay an exhorbitant monthly fee for a feature I'd never use (wifi is everywhere I go), and am not in a position where I can switch carriers, and it's like I'm part of a(n evidently sizable) demographic that no one wants to market to.
11th January 2014, 05:54 AM   |  #2  
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If times haven't changed too much from when I tried the same thing 2 years ago, you should just be able to request that all data on your line be blocked. I would try calling them before you switch the SIM to the smartphone and ask for all data to be disabled to your line, then swap the SIM. I would also leave the data turned off on the smartphone for good measure. This is basically how I got around your same issue with AT&T, and it doesn't have to necessarily come down to illegally changing the IMEI or "hiding" the IMEI from the carrier. Eventually they'll cross-check your device and figure out it's a smartphone and add your data. But to my knowledge, the adding of the data is all automatically done by computers; so if the system sees that all data is disabled for you, it shouldn't attempt to add anything.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2
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at&t, imei, moto-g, nexus 5, smartphone
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