Originally Posted by dsmoothfreestyles
Should I buy an AT&T HTC DZ and unlock it myself?
There is no such thing. AT&T never offered the phone or anything close to it.
Branding does matter, as AT&T can generally only read the IMEI number of your device if its an AT&T branded phone. If they don't have the IMEI in their database, they can't tell its a smartphone. So you should be able to avoid the contract and data plan requirement if you buy a phone that is not AT&T branded. I've read of plenty of folks on here an dother forums that have used this tactic. Not sure if it works on the Pay-To-Go option. But I've read about plenty of AT&T customers that are on contract, but use a non-AT&T phone so they don't need to get a data plan, or to use the (cheaper) non-smartphone data plan. I've also read of some cases where they read the IMEI number incorrectly for a non-AT&T phone. One guy was using a Nexus One, and it was being read by AT&T as a Blackberry. They tried to add a data plan to his account, but he called them and told them it was just a dumb phone. They couldn't prove otherwise, so they removed the data plan.
The branding/version also matters if you want 3G data . The Canada Bell version is the only DZ that has the correct 3G bands to work on AT&T's network (UMTS 850/1900 MHz).
But since it doesn't sound like you want data anyway, you only need a phone that has AT&T's 2G/EDGE bands (GSM bands). AT&T uses the GSM 850/1900 MHz bands, and I believe every version of the G2/Desire Z is compatible with these GSM bands. As long as you get a phone with these GSM bands, and its SIM unlocked, it should work on AT&T.
If the phone is purchased SIM locked, you can get SIM unlocked either by following the Wiki guide (below), or use a pay service (usually than $10) available on places like eBay.
Another benefit of rooting the phone (aside from getting SIM unlock for free) is the ability to put any ROM or firmware on the phone you like. Aside from the radios (band compatibility) the hardware is essentially identical on the various DZ versions. So you can flash a new ROM to get whatever Android versions you like, remove branding, etc.
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Phone: HTC One X (AT&T version) Rooted, Bootloader Unlocked, S-Off
Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (WiFi only) Rooted