Smartphones can do a lot of useful things, but what do you really need to do when you don't have access to a wireless network? Would voice and text be enough when you're not at home, the office, Starbuck's, or a convention? I'd like to have a smartphone without a data plan. I'm willing to pay the full price of the phone and own it outright. I'd like to have the legal right with my smartphone to purchase as few or as many services as I want from any carrier. But this isn't possible today. If you want to use a smartphone, all of the major carriers require you to have a data plan. I don't need a data plan. If I really need to do something at home, at the office, or at school, I can use a secure wireless connection and do whatever I need.
Yes, a data plan can do more for me than wireless connections can. But I don't find the added convenience of a data plan worth the cost. The marginal utility just isn't enough. I contacted my U.S. senators and representative asking for consumer friendly legislation allowing smartphone owner (i.e., people who pay full price for a smartphone unsubsidized by the carrier) to purchase service without a data plan. Obviously, with one of the largest carriers headquartered in my state, that request for legislation is not going to go anywhere.
One of my young classmates in nursing school was baffled when I said cellphones hadn't been invented when I was dating. She asked how people could date without a cellphone. We did it without a data plan monthly expense.
How about you? Would you like a smartphone without a data plan, just text and voice? And while I'm asking questions, have you ever done any SQL Server administration from a smartphone?