Prelim: This revolves mainly around an Edge-based iPhone (2G) and OS 3.0 software, though most of what is said here is available for the 3G and 3Gs.
**EDITED UPDATE: AT&T is planning on requiring data (+30$ on your bill) on smart phones by Sept 6th, 2009 it seems. Reporters are saying that this will greatly reduce smart phone sales, and stifle innovations in digital wireless phone use as people would choose a cheaper standard phone that burns minutes. AT&T is most likely doing this as customers are realizing they are essentially paying 3x for data (texts, voice minutes, data) and are trying to make it’s new customers look at minutes and not megabytes. An iPhone or smart phone has the abillity to make many phone calls, texts over a data-only plan for minimal charges. AT&T appears once again to be slowing innovation, etc like it’s famous for. There would be no surprise if many lawsuits or FCC hearings take place yet again. This great idea that wireless customers can do everything they need over a simple data-only plan is not known by the general public, and is huge. AT&T is spearheading that lack of public knowledge and will be charging sourly for it.
For instance, a person could jailbreak legally, get a data-only plan through T-mobile, install Skype on their iPhone, install TextPlus and generally be set. (safari is already installed for browsing the web)
Chapter 1: http://iphonenodata.com/
Chapter 2: Using this site, you can use your jail broken or non-jailbroken phone to simply disable EDGE or 3G use for those customers who don’t want to pay 30 bucks/month for data services that AT&T offers in your area. (If you signed an iPhone 2-year contract, however your stuck with it unless you cancel your contract for 175$ early termination– and believe me: canceling right away if your not planning on using AT&T’s data will save you 545.00$ over the 2-year contract. That’s 30/month/2years-175$=545$) Use wifi instead.
Chapter 3: If you want to go further and use your iPhone on another network, you’ll want to Jailbreak your iPhone. This requires a little more computer soul. This term Jailbreaking only means to release your phone from the steel clutches of AT&T’s. Nothing more. This is also perfectly legal as your only changing something that’s yours. There are no U.S. laws that prohibit this. There has been a lot of mass chit-chat about this being illegal, and in no way can be true as it is something tangible that you own. The device is yours! USE it how you see fit. If you don’t like AT&T, cancel your contract (the 175$ early termination fee) and switch to T-Mobile, they are glad to help you out after you Jailbreak your iPhone, which allows it to be used on a lot of foreign networks as well!
Chapter 4: A good site to help you do this can be found here. Get a friend with more experience to help you. An iPhone free from the monopoly that it’s currently tied to is definitely cheaper, and you can truly then enjoy whatever network you see fit and build it the options you want. For instance, customer #001 might want wireless data only, as they’ll be using textplus app with minimal skype voip.
Final Thoughts: Pat yourself on the back when you get it done yourself, or even with someone else’s help.