Cingular's confusing data plans: a lesson to the wise

I don’t know how it works with other wireless carriers, but Cingular has some work to do to clear up confusion over their Internet access options and what works (and does not work) with each of their phones and PDAs. Picking a voice plan is easy. You decide how many minutes you want and pick the plan that offers just a little bit more than you expect you will use. Any leftovers go into rollover so you can use them on months that you go a little over.

The problem with the data plans is that you can pick a plan that you think gives you unlimited access, but you have to be very clear on exactly what you’re getting, otherwise you will be billed on a per byte basis.

Follow any Cingular 8125-related forum and you’ll see mass confusion and misinformation about what plan goes with what phone. What your phone is capable of doing and what you will be charged for are two very different things.

For Cingular 8125 owners, it’s a choice between:

MediaNet: This is the plan that’s for regular WAP enabled phones and smart phones. It’s what people who don’t have a Windows Mobile phone select, as well as a phone like the Cingular 2125 smartphone. The key difference appears to be whether or not the screen is touch enabled. If your phone comes with a stylus, you shouldn’t be on this plan. Unlimited (with a voice plan) is $19.99 per month and includes text messages and other features that don’t necessarily require a full-featured PDA to work. Here’s the tricky part: by default, the Cingular 8125 is set to connect to wap.cingular with a proxy. The proxy won’t work if you’re connected to the Internet through a wifi hotspot. The 8125 is one of the first Cingular devices that has both wifi and EDGE/GPRS support, and out of the box you can’t switch smoothly between them. You have to either uncheck the proxy, which may mean slower connections or use a browser like Opera which ignores the proxy setting altogether. If you change your connection to the more open isp.cingular and disable the proxy and you have the MediaNet plan, you may be charged per byte even though you have what you think is an unlimited plan. MediaNet is supposed to connect to wap.cingular, not isp.cingular. Cingular doesn’t want 8125 owners to use this plan, although many do because they ordered it online, had it “grandfathered” in from a previous phone or they got a clueless Cingular rep who didn’t know better. The Cingular 8125 works just fine with MediaNet and it’s the cheapest option, but if you’re not careful on how you configure the phone and how you use it, you may have a tremendous bill. It seems that Cingular reps are telling customers that they’re using the wrong plan when and where they can. Some have a clue, many don’t.

PDA Connect: This is the plan that is supposed to be selected for the Cingular 8125. It’s the lowest level of Cingular’s business data connect plans. Unlike MediaNet, it doesn’t include any text or instant messages so you are charged a dime per unless you also add a MEdia plan. With a voice plan, it’s $39.99 month for unlimited access. You can use the isp.cingular address for your EDGE/GPRS connection, with or without Cingular’s proxy settings. Here’s the catch on this plan: If you use your phone as a USB modem for your laptop (also known as “tethering”) then you will be charged per byte. Laptop connect is only on the much more expensive plans (around $80 per month). I bring this up because this review from PC Magazine says:

EDGE performance was excellent on Cingular’s network. I got download speeds ranging from 117 to 182 Kbps using Pocket Internet Explorer and using the 8125 as a USB modem for a Dell laptop.

Now, it’s likely the reviewer already had a Laptop Connect plan on her wireless number since she tests multiple devices, but it’s very unlikely that anyone reading this review does. I will be sending her a link to this entry. She really needs to be clearer on this. It’s not even an option to add to the phone without going through a Cingular customer service representative. Yes, you can use an 8125 as a modem…but those per-byte charges add up and Cingular does not give you any kind of warning…on the phone, in the box, or on your account screen…that you are racking up the bucks until the day of reckoning (the monthly bill) arrives.

You have to dig into Cingular’s “Explanation of Rates and Charges for Current Cingular Customers” which is buried at the bottom of their Data Plan page to read (bolding mine):

CINGULAR DATA CONNECT UNLIMITED PLANS—ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The Data Connect $79.99 and PDA Connect plans may only be used with approved, certified devices for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing, (ii) email, and (iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force and field service automation). The plans may not be used with server devices or with host computer applications. Such prohibited uses include, but are not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, continuous JPEG file transfers, automatic data feeds, telemetry applications, automated functions or any other machine-to-machine applications. The plans may not be used to provide full-time connections, including without limitation, private lines or frame relay. Cingular PDA Connect plan: may only be used with compatible palmOne Tungsten W, palmOne Treo, Siemens SX56/66, Motorola MPx200/220, Audiovox 4100 or similar Cingular-certified devices provided that the device is not being used as a modem with other equipment (e.g., computers or ruggedized handhelds) through use of connection kits, other phone/PDA-to-computer accessories, Bluetooth or other wireless technology.

So there you have it…while the Cingular 8125 can physically and technically be used as a modem, the unlimited plan you probably have doesn’t allow for it. And you can’t buy a Laptop Connect plan easily (for $80 per month, why would you want to?).

And even if a customer is on the right plan, Cingular’s billing is still run by hamsters on a wheel. Check out what greeted me when I went to check my bill online yesterday after my first full month with the PDA Connect plan:

Cingular1

A heart attack is a nice way to start a Saturday morning, don’t you think?

It appears that even though I was on the correct unlimited PDA Connect plan, something somewhere went wrong and I was charged for every byte of those 41 MB I consumed last month. First thing I was asked was if I used the phone as a modem. The answer was the truth: no. I have enough trouble right now with ActiveSync, I didn’t want to do anything that had the potential of disabling my computer’s connection to the wired or wireless Internet. Just isn’t worth it. When I want to go online with the phone, I use the phone. The folks at Cingular don’t know what went wrong but they agree it’s wrong and the charge is being reversed.

bk_keywords:Cingular 8125

129 Comments

  1. Richard Fiorentino says:

    Very informative overview. Learned a lot from your experience. I find the Cingular data plans and settings confusing and I’m a data network consulting engineer. Perhaps your piece should have been titled “A lesson to the UNwise”.

    Beutifully designed site by the way.

    Richard – Carlisle, MA

  2. Daniel Wu says:

    Thank you so much for this information. I was thinking about using my Cingular 8100 as a modem for my powerbook, but now I better give up this idea. Sad but fortunately I dont have to run into billing problems in the future

  3. Judi Sohn says:

    Thanks, Richard!

    Believe it or not, Cingular *still* doesn’t have my account right. I logged in to the website the other day, just to make sure that it was straightened out and all of my data is being charged as “pay per use.” I called customer support and they confirmed that I should expect another whopper bill. I know it’s wrong. They know it’s wrong. Their billing computer is the only one without a clue.

    They’ll try to fix it before the end of the month, but in case they can’t it’s marked on my account so I can call in and I’ll get it immediately backed out like last month.

  4. J.P. says:

    Very helpful information. I just got an 8125 and had to argue with a cingular rep telling me I couldn’t use wifi on the 8125 without the unlimited data plan. I currently don’t have any data plan but I was thinking about getting the MediaNet unlimited to at least surf the web and get email.

  5. Tobias says:

    Interesting information, we just purchased four 8125 for our small Architecture office and don’t want to pay 160 Dollars a month for Data plans. We encountered the same issue of not being able to use either Wifi or Internet over USB. Anyone have any ideas on how to fix this problem? Thank you, tobias.

  6. Scott says:

    J.P. be careful using that “unlimited” MediaNet plan. It’s actually only free up to 5MB then it is pay per Kb. Like everything else, no warnings when you go over and switch to pay per use.

  7. Don says:

    Just had 2 friends decide to sign up for the 8125 at Cingular store in DC. One was a Cingular customer wanting to set up a new line of service for his wife and one was Sprint willing to make the switch. Both wanted to use the data access from ONLY their wifi networks at home and both were told that they could NOT purchase the 8125 unless they signed up for the full data access plan. My friends walked out – think of the monthly lo$$e$ – I can’t believe they would be treated with such disdain.

    I totally understand this groups desire for the coolness of the Cingular 8125. But if you want all of this coolness and capability and want a REAL unlimited dataplan then why not do what I did and get the MDA from TMobile? Sure it means switching service providers, but it’s the same physical device as the 8125 AND I get ALL of the data capability (both GPRS and WIFI) true unlimited access without restrictions, and even no-additional cost access to all 7000 of TMobiles hotspots (starbucks, fedex/kinkos, borders books) all for a minor $30/month upcharge on my $40 voice plan (1500 minutes). Sooo…tell me again why you guys let Cingular get away with this? Tell them to bugger-off I say! Best luck to all.

  8. VICKY-CINGULAR REP says:

    LET ME START OFF WITH EXPLAINING THE TWO DIFFERENT DATA PACKAGES AVAIL. 1ST MEDIA NET IS ONLY AVAIL FOR STANDARD CELL PHONES NOT ANYTHING CONSIDERED PDA. 2ND DATA PLANS ARE AVAIL FOR BLACKBERRY,MPX200,LAPTOP CONNECTION,CINGULAR 8125,TREO- IF THERE IS A MISUNDERSTANDING ON WHAT INFORMATION WAS GIVEN OR JUST ADDED WRONG FEATURE ON ACCOUNT CALL CUSTOMER SERVICE AND EXPLAIN THE SITUATION TO SEE WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ADJUST THOSE UNEXPECTED CHARGES BUT DONT CALL AND NOT LISTEN TO WHAT IS SAID AS INFORMATION AND/NOR YELL AT US SINCE WE HAVE TO CHECK WHERE THE PROBLEM STARTED AND TAKE A ONE STEP AT A TIME- WE WANT TO KEEP OUR CUSTOMER NOT LOSE THAN FOR A FEW DOLLARS-

  9. Judi Sohn says:

    Thanks for the comment, Vicky. I love hearing from folks “in the know” but in the future please release the caps lock key.

    The problem is that the MediaNet plans work just fine with the Cingular 8125. It would be easier if they didn’t work. Some people are getting charged for being on the wrong plan, some people aren’t.

    Sorry that you have to be on the receiving end of folks upset/confused by the plans, but that’s not the user’s fault either. Tell your bosses. 🙂

  10. cingularrep_vicky says:

    i do understand that it can be confusing if you don’t see the full detail to features nor if its not explain in detail for type of cell phone that’s going to be used. when placed on wrong data plans we do check if its something was error in our part but also if you change phones and do not update the information our system does not change the phone model on its own- we have to update phone and also explain at that time if its needed to do a change – but cingular does do what is needed to correct our errors but it can take more than one call- if its not on a bill we have to wait til bill is printed and sent to customer before any adjustment are done to make sure we correct what is needed,so its not that we dont want to help but i also understand that it take up customer time instead of doing something else beside being on hold but if any mistake/error or just any question -we customer service are there to help if not happy you can request a manager to call you back for other options

  11. Judi Sohn says:

    Thanks again, Vicky. I’ve said many times on this blog…while Cingular as a big, huge company can be a pain…the individuals who answer the phone are usually great. I got a message from Cingular a few days ago letting me know that they fixed the problem on my account and it should be billing correctly now (it is) and if I have any further issues I should call. I had all the patience in the world for my billing issue to be fixed, as long as no one actually expected me to pay that bill until it was.

  12. Dragonslayer says:

    I think something went haywire with Cingular’s billing. In the past four months, I’ve gone through 3 PDA phones. My Siemens SX66 was stolen, so I bought an HP iPaq hw6515a to replace it. That was a terrible PDA phone so I bought a Cingular 8125 to replace it. Somewhere along the line, something got screwed up in billing. I’m on the PDA unlimited plan and have been for over a year. Then, in March, I got billed for every byte. It added $200+ to my bill. Cingular corrected it immediately.

    Now that I’ve read your story, I’m thinking that the HP unit was using MediaNet. I know the 8125 came configured to use MediaNet. I reconfigured it to bypass the proxy when I had problems with it a few weeks ago. It should come out the box configured to use the right “network”.

    I’m glad I read this. I’m sitting here looking the the driver install screen to use the 8125 as a modem. I didn’t think that modem usage wasn’t included in my unlimited data plan. I know now to hit cancel and walk away.

  13. Simon says:

    Ok well I’ve read you guy’s posting….and you got me scared !!! I just checked my account online with Cingular and it’s telling me there is no information available on my Data Usage. (I’m hoping I’m not going to have to remortgage the house!)

    I just bought a Cingular 2125. When I signed up the rep at Cingular really had no clue about the data plans. Much as she tried to answer my questions it was painfully obvious she had absolutely no clue what I was asking and I couldn’t get a straight answer about anything.
    I ended up going online and choosing the PDA unlimited plan for $39.99 per month. (Which I believe I have to do anyway for the mail in rebate offer)

    I thought that MediaNet and the unlimited PDA Plan were the same thing but I guess not after reading your blog. Am I right however to assume I can still browse the internet to my hearts content using my Phone and the Unlimited PDA plan and not get charged any extra. (My phone is Cingular 2125 Smartphone and Not a PDA from my research)

    I was toying with the idea of setting it up as a modem for my laptop, but if I do I’ll get slammed with additional charges. (Am I right so far?)

    And my final question is, do I really need the PDA Unlimited plan or can I sign up for Medianet unlimited with the 2125?

    I appreciate any of your input!

    Thank you.

  14. Judi Sohn says:

    Simon, it’s my understanding that if you have the Cingular 2125, then you can get the $19.99 MediaNet plan and you don’t have to go for the more expensive $39.99 PDA plan. The 2125 is running Windows Mobile Smartphone edition. Not the same as on the 8125.

  15. ann says:

    i just upgraded my phone to the cingular 8125. do you need to have the 39.99 pda plan?

  16. Judi Sohn says:

    If you want to use the phone to get on the Internet, then yes, that is the plan you are supposed to have for unlimited access. Otherwise, you can pick one of those more limited plans but I know I’d always go over.

  17. Deon says:

    The running joke with my Wife, neighbors and her family, all who have cingular is: “Cingular – Raising the Bill”

    Cingular’s network is one of the best cellular networks in the U.S right now, sadly it really is, but Cingular is fully aware of this and will charge you more than other carriers to be on their network. To make matters worst, their billing system is the worst. Even with a normal phone, I had my nights and weekends disappear on me suddenly one month, another month I got charged for roaming in my HOME city and now I have to worry about my PDA Usage plan.

    I’m paying $40 extra to have the unlimited connect, so I can use isp.cingular; However, the sales guy in the store and 3 customer service reps I’ve spoken to on the phone have all told me I can go online with my laptop through this phone and not be charged. I recorded their names and when they told me this. Assuming I’m crazy enough to attempt using the laptop, I should be able to get the charges waived, right? heh. Cingular, Raising the Bill.

  18. Jolissa Mackall says:

    I work for BellSouth so that is why I continue to keep Cingular as my cellular provider, but even I have to scrutinize every bill that I get. It took 3 months and an act of God to get my bill correct the last time I had a problem. I have recently been thinking about getting the new 8125 and have heard 3 different explanations of how the data connect is billed. I want to thank you for putting it plainly for me.

  19. DJ Aladin says:

    There is still some confusion here. As a Cingular sales representative who truly DOES understand the plans, I’ll clear this up as best I can.

    If you want unlimited access on a standard wap enabled cell phone OR a Smartphone (Cingular 2125), Media Net Unlimited at $19.99 per month is the plan to get. This is a truly unlimited data plan but does NOT include text messaging or picture messaging. The confusion on that is that some users are confusing Media Net Unlimited with Media Works. Media Works includes 5 MB of internet usage, unlimited MMS (pic/vid) messages, and 1000 text messages. (I believe this is also why someone thought that Media Net “unlimited” was really limited at 5 MB… they were confusing it with Media Works.) Cingular 2125 = Media Net Unlimited.

    For owners of PDAs such as the 8125, PDA Connect is the needed unlimited data plan at $39.99 per month. It includes unlimited internet use and email, but not text or MMS (pic/vid) messaging. These services are still pay per use, or you can sign up for a separate text and/or MMS package.

    Data Connect is what was formerly referred to as the better named (in my opinion) laptop connect. This allows you to tether a phone or pda to a computer to be used as a data modem. The unlimited plan is $79.99 per month, or currently on special for $59.99 per month with a voice plan. When subscribing to Data Connect as a FEATURE (it is also available as a standalone contracted plan with a PCMCIA card that goes into the laptop directly), you inherently get unlimited data access on your PDA or phone even when not connected to a laptop.

    I hope this clears things up a bit. I know some will think these rates are steep, but they are honestly on par with most every other carrier’s similar plans. And Cingular has wider coverage. I was a happy customer for years before I was an employee. 🙂

  20. Dave says:

    Thanks DJ Aladin for further explaining the plans and limitations of each. However, please be aware that Cingular needs to be doing a better job of training their sales staff on which features are right for users. I specifically told my sales rep I needed unlimited data for both the phone and a laptop as I travel a lot each day and must have e-mail access. While on a train or otherwise able to use a laptop I prefer this over dealing with the small PDA screen on the 8125. I was sold PDA Connect (although the sales rep called it MediaNet) with full assurances that this was the plan for me. Fortunately I have not had any billing problems yet, but as I read posts on this forum as well as others I’ve taken to watching my account very closely as I suspect it’s only a matter of time now that I’ve passed my “trial” 30 days. I might have considered a more expensive plan if the sales rep was able to adequately explain the limitations of each, but since I was assured that the plan I purchased met all the specifications I clearly defined before signing up I will certainly challenge any future billing issues should they arise.

  21. ElectroGeek says:

    I have a good one from Cingular! I signed up for their unlimited data plan after they assured me not once but on two occasions that I wouldn’t be charged roaming charges for data even when in Romania and France. I thought great, a cheap way to stay in contact with the U.S. while in Europe right? Wrong. My bill should have been $131.00. I got back from Europe and received a $1031.00 Cingular bill! All data roaming! These people need to properly train their staff and stop trying to make their customers look like idiots. As President of a technology services company with over 17 years of experience I do know what roaming is. When 2 different Cingular reps on two occasions assure me that I won’t be charged roaming or usage, I shouldn’t be charged for roaming or usage. If they do not resolve this bill for me it’s going to go to the Illinois States Attorney Generals office – stat! I recommend that any of the previous posts authors do the same if they can’t get resolution. Good Luck…
    Regards,
    ElectroGeek
    http://www.electrogeek.com

  22. Joe Copelan says:

    I just signed up for the $39.95 PDA connect plan for use on my 8125. The Cingular rep told me that the Cingular Xpress mail is included with the PDA connect plan. Can anyone confirm the accuracy of this statement? Also, when using the Xpress Mail feature, does the data go through MEdia Net or through the PDA connect data plan? I don’t want to get hit with any expensive surprises?

  23. NicoleCingularUser says:

    DJ-Aladin (or anyone else in the know at Cingular or who has asked)

    You said: Data Connect is what was formerly referred to as the better named (in my opinion) laptop connect. This allows you to tether a phone or pda to a computer to be used as a data modem. The unlimited plan is $79.99 per month, or currently on special for $59.99 per month with a voice plan. When subscribing to Data Connect as a FEATURE (it is also available as a standalone contracted plan with a PCMCIA card that goes into the laptop directly), you inherently get unlimited data access on your PDA or phone even when not connected to a laptop.

    Nicole: Is there anyway to order the Data Connect (as a FEATURE on my PDA (8125)) so that I pay the $59.99 and can use my PDA as a modem? There is just no need for me to ever use BOTH the PDA and my laptop for internet and it would be nice not to have to have a separate PC card when I can connect my laptop to the PDA with bluetooth. I am paying $100 for both when I wouldn’t use them at the same time. Thanks!

  24. Matt says:

    A family member has a Treo 650 with the $39.99 PDA Connect (Unlimited) plan. The Treo came configured to use the wap.cingular access point, not the isp.cingular access point.. Why? If I understand correctly, the Unlimited PDA Connect plan allows access to both access points, so wouldn’t it be better to use the isp.cingular access point instead? I thought wap.cingular was restricted to certain types of traffic. I changed the configuration to use isp.cingular instead. Will I be charged extra for using isp.cingular?

    Thanks in advance for the advice!

  25. Bill says:

    Thanks for the blog and all the follow-on comments. I wish I had seen it last week!

    I just purchased an 8125 and spent the weekend trying to get my laptop online with it. The salesman in the Cingular store (a genuine Cingular store, not a reseller) assured me the $40 PDA connect was all that was needed for this. Now Cingular tech support explains I need the $60 plan. I’m willing to believe it is just poor training of the sales people, but it sure feels like bait & switch anyway.

    Since I’m within my 30 days, I will return it and see what next month brings.

  26. DJ Aladin says:

    Nicole: Yes, you can order the $59.99 Data (Laptop) Connect as a feature with your 8125 and get unlimited access when using your 8125 as a bluetooth modem, thus elminating the need to have the $39.99 PDA Connect plan as well. I even helped a customer who wanted to do this with his Motorola V551 for just one month while he was traveling. The advantages of having the Data Connect PLAN instead of FEATURE is that you don’t have to swap your sim card into a laptop card (which you are personally negating that issue by connecting the pda through bluetooth) AND that the laptop PCMCIA card is capable of connecting to the 3G UMTS network where it is available. UMTS gives you speeds averaging 700 kbs whereas EDGE gives speeds averaging 70-135 kbs in most places. But UMTS is only available in 12 markets currently, so that may not make a difference in your situation. I’m hoping (and assuming) we will carry the soon-to-be-released HTC Hermes by the end of the year, which is basically an 8125 with UMTS capabilities, a faster processor, better camera, a camera on the same side of the phone as the screen for self portaits and video calls, and UMTS capabilities. 🙂 I’m anxiously awaiting this one!

    Matt: I have used the wap.cingular and isp.cingular access points, as well as ispda.cingular (compressed data). I have honestly not noticed a difference regardless of which access point I used. I tested all three at http://www.dslreports.com/mspeed and yeilded almost identical results with each. But to answer your question, you will NOT be charged extra to use isp.cingular if you are on the $39.99 PDA Connect plan.

  27. gdalonso says:

    DJ Aladin wrote:
    “If you want unlimited access on a standard wap enabled cell phone OR a Smartphone (Cingular 2125), Media Net Unlimited at $19.99 per month is the plan to get.”

    I bought a 2125 and was sold the 39.99 PDA Connect Plan. I assume that is because I wanted to get email pushed to my cell phone (ala blackberry).

    Does anyone know if Xpress Mail (and Xpress Calendar) is only available with the PDA Connect Plan or did I get overcharged? If so then MediaNet is only good for WAP browsing and nothing else.

    p.s. thanks fot this great thread!

  28. Kevin Milligan says:

    Wow, this page has been very helpful to me and I just want to be “clear” about what I need to do. I currently own the Motorola V551 and wanted to upgrade to the Cingular 8125 (me and my gadgets), but there seems to be a lot of confusion to say the least.

    From what I’m understanding, it seems like Cingular’s $39.99 plan is the way to go for the 8125; but what if you do a lot of text and picture messaging? Do I have to add an addtional text and picture messaging plan in addition the my $39.99 plan?

    And also, is the $39.99 plan the isp vs the wap. Thanks in advance (I pick the phone up Monday).

  29. Judi Sohn says:

    Kevin, It’s my understanding that if you do a lot of messaging you have to purchase a Media Works plan on top of the data plan. No text comes with the $39.99 data plan (you’re charged a dime per).

    The Cingular 8125 come pre-configured for wap.cingular.com (as opposed to isp.cingular.com) and personally, I haven’t found much difference. So after the last hard reset I didn’t bother changing it back. But some swear that isp. is better.

  30. DeVaughn says:

    Thanks Judi for your immediate response to my question. I have another if that’s okay? My Motorola V551 is configured for wap, but with wap it does not allow total access to websites/pages; just Cingular based websites/pages. I know friends who have Sprint, Nextel and other providers that have full access to the internet. Isn’t that where a isp configuration would be different or come in handy vs the wap?

  31. Judi Sohn says:

    DeVaughn, no. The Cingular 8125 pulls the full version of websites whether you are using wap.cingular.com or isp.cingular.com If you use the Cingular proxy, then you can’t use the built-in Internet Explorer application to go to sites using wifi. But it’s not a big deal to work around.

    You need to realize that the operating system in the Cingular 8125 is completely different than what is in a Motorola v551 (which was also my previous phone). A lot of the differences are because of this. A Windows Mobile device is capable of much, much more.

    It’s a regular internet connection. Wap/isp is just the server name that you’re connecting to.

    I think I read somewhere that you can’t stream if you’re using wap.cingular.com but since I don’t try to go to streaming video/audio on my phone I wouldn’t know about that.

  32. Kevin says:

    Just to make it more complicated, there are other data plans available that are not advertised, such as:

    Text Messaging – 1st mth Unlimited, 50 messages/month $2.99
    Text Messaging – 1st mth Unlimited, 1000 msgs/month $9.99
    Text Messaging – 1st mth Unlimited, 200 msgs/month $4.99
    Text Messaging – 1st mth Unlimited, 2500 msgs/month $19.99
    MEdia Net – 1st mth Unlimited, 1MB/month $4.99
    MEdia Net – 1st mth Unlimited, 5 MB/month $9.99
    MEdia Net – 1st mth Unlimited, 10 MB/month $14.99
    MEdia Net – Unlimited $19.99
    MEdia Basic $9.99
    MEdia Works $19.99
    BlackBerry Access – 4 MB/month $34.99
    BlackBerry Access – Unlimited $44.99
    Data Connect 5MB $19.99
    Data Connect 10MB $24.99
    Data Connect 20MB $34.99
    Detailed Billing $2.99
    Roadside Assistance $2.99
    Long Distance Call Restriction $4.99
    Cingular 411 N/A
    Wireless Phone Insurance $3.99
    Wireless Internet $3.99
    Voice Connect $4.99
    International Dialing N/A
    Text Messaging ($0.10/per message) N/A
    Mexico Preferred International Long Distance Rate $2.99
    Enhanced Voice Mail $4.99
    FastForward Unlimited Call Forwarding $2.99
    Mobile to Mobile Calling – 1,000 $9.99
    Unlimited Mobile to Mobile Calling $9.99
    Shared Mobile to Mobile Calling – 1,000 $9.99
    Unlimited Shared Mobile to Mobile Calling $9.99
    GSM Data Circuit (CSD) $3.99
    Unlimited Mobile to Mobile Calling $9.99
    Extended Nights and Weekends $7.00
    Extended Nights and Weekends for FamilyTalk $14.00
    PDA Connect – Unlimited $39.99

    I have the data connect 10mb/per mnth with 200 txt msg 4.99

  33. jordan says:

    phone – media net data plan
    smart phone (i.e. 2125)- smart phone data plan
    pda (i.e. 8125, treo650)(qwerty keyboard, usu. touchscreen) – pdaconnect
    laptop – laptopConnect
    tether anything & you SHOULD have laptop connect, as DUN flags computer use.

    i not sure what is so confusing …

  34. Mike says:

    Hello. I was looking to get a 8125 and am glad to have found this site. i did have some questions though i was hoping to get answers to if at all possible.
    1.) i have a wireless network in my house, can i use the 8125 to connect to that for free to go online or check my mail w/o a data plan? i read that it’s wifi compatible but that would stink if you need to have a data plan in order to activate it.
    2.) i’ve read that the PDA data plan is the one to get with the 8125 but i also saw that the phone comes preloaded to use the server that the cheaper media net package does. am i understanding that right? why can’t i just get the media net plan then? would i be able to go to browse the web with the media net plan or only see the ‘cingular news’ of various scores/headlines/email?
    3.) i picked up a brouchure from cingular today and it listed a ‘smartphone connect’ option with the same rate as media connect. is this just another name for it?
    4.) last question. does anyone have information on how the outlook sync works? i wanted to acess my outlook account from my job using the phone. could i do that with the media net package? (or would i have to get the 39.99 pda connect)

    much thanks in advance to anyone that can help me with these questions

  35. Judi Sohn says:

    Mike:

    Yes. You don’t need a data plan. The wifi is completely free, but if for any reason you can’t on your network, you will be charged if it defaults over to getting online via EDGE/GPRS (data plan). Folks have gotten around this by faking a data plan setting that doesn’t actually go anywhere so if it tries, it will fail.
    You can’t get the cheaper plan because the Cingular folks are trained not to sell it to you. Folks have been carrying over legacy MediaNet plans, or have been adding them online. I’ve read that it works just fine. The only limitation is that I believe it doesn’t stream audio/video. Chances are you’ll get away with it. But some folks have been “caught” by Cingular and they get huge bills. When they complain, Cingular reverses the charges but forces them to go on the “right” plan. Read some of the forums I’ve linked to and you’ll see stories that cover all scenarios you can imagine. It’s not consistent, and it appears that Cingular “catches” these problems as they can. For example, get away with it for a while…but then call in to Cingular to ask a question on something else and wham.
    Yes. It’s the same plan. It’s Cingular’s attempt to minimize this confusion by labeling the plan to match the phone it’s for. The Cingular 8125 is not considered a smartphone by Cingular. Because the screen is touch sensitive, it’s a PDA. The Cingular 2125, like the Motorola Q runs Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone Edition. The Cingular 8125 run Windows Mobile 5 Phone Edition, which means it’s the same as the full PDA version but it also has the ability to dial.
    The answer depends on whether your work email is through an Exchange server or it’s POP/IMAP. Do you know?

  36. Mike says:

    Hello again. thank you so much for your quick and informative response. i just ordered the 8125 from cingular direct over the phone for 249.99 out the door PLUS i was able to get the smartphone unlimited connect for 19.99. the salesperson was very helpful. he made it clear that as long as i dont use the “pda” server (which i guess is the isp.cingular.com)then the 19.99 unlimeted will be just fine. (i hate to ask again but i just wanted to make sure. the phone comes preset to connect using the wap.cingular.com right? this is what the smartphone connect plan is limited to if i understand it correctly. so i can browse the web, check out websites and email and i wont get charged more than my 19.99 as long as im on the wap.cingular.com server or on my wifi network at hom.)i believe my outlook at work is through an exchange server but i’ll double check with our IT guys tomorrow. Again thank you so much for your help. i’m sure i’ll have a couple other questions once it comes in later this week that i may shoot your way if its ok.

  37. Barb says:

    I am thinking of switching from TMo Sidekick II to Cingular 8125 (poor TMo service in my area but I do love my Sidekick and I know that a new SK III is “just around the corner”).
    My three 8125 questions:
    1 – How smoothly does AIM work on the 8125?
    2 – If I get the PDA Connect plan only (no voice plan), can I still make a few voice calls at a per minute fee?
    3 – I’m clueless about WiFi… if I go to an airport for example where there is a “Hot Spot” can I use it for free?
    Thanks for a great blog – lots of good info on this page.

  38. riley says:

    What the hell are you talking about PDA connect dosent include instant messenging?

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

  39. riley says:

    ALSO YOU CAN TETHER TO YOUR LAPTOP WITH DATA CONNECT, wow your article is (edited) up.

  40. Judi Sohn says:

    Riley, first of all…this is a PG forum so I edited your comment. I think it’s clear to all what you meant to say, and your kind words are appreciated.

    That said…to the first comment…PDA connect includes messenging that goes out over the Internet. It does not include text messages or SMS. There is no warning that you’re paying extra for this.

    And while you CAN physically tether your laptop with the PDA Connect plan and technically it works, THE PLAN DOES NOT INCLUDE THESE MINUTES. If Cingular’s billing hamsters catch on, you WILL be charged per byte. It has happened to others. I was asked multiple times on the phone by Cingular employees as to whether or not I was using my phone as a modem (which tells me they don’t have an easy way of telling for sure) and I was told each time that my plan did not include tethering. I linked to the terms & conditions paragraph above that says the same thing. What more do you want?

  41. Michael Boutot says:

    I currently have a Blackberry 7280 and am seriously considering a switch to the 8125. I need to stay with Cingular and so that is not my issue. Plus I have been quite pleased with Cingular (even with the billing). I use my Blackberry for business and personal. For business I travel all over the U.S. and thus the e-mail functionality is critical to me. Here are a few questions I have:

    1. What will I miss about my Blackberry?
    2. I can get e-mails to my Blackberry from my business e-mail as well as personal. Will that continue with the 8125? In other words, can I get e-mails from more than 1 source?
    3. With my Blackberry, I have to decide which e-mail shows as my reply. In other words, I have it set to reply under my business e-mail. Thus, if someone sends me an e-mail to my personal e-mail, it goes to my Blackberry, which I want. But if I reply to that personal e-mail, the reply shows from my business e-mail. My specific question is can the 8125 allow me to reply as business or personal without any major adjustments?
    4. Do you know how many addresses the 8125 can hold in the address book? I have almost 900 in my Blackberry.
    5. Can you load a GPS device into/onto the 8125?

    Those are my questions for now. Thanks.

    Michael R. Boutot

    michaelboutot@bellsouth.net

  42. Rob says:

    Hey, I’m thinking of getting the 8125, but i’m on a fixed budget. What I need to know is how much access does 5mb really give you. This is probably all I can afford right now.

  43. Mario Figueroa says:

    hello everyone hope someone is on right now at this late of the day

    yea i can not find the 39.99 plan with unlimeted internet acces,web browsing.

    can someone help me with this pls? beacuse i’ll be ordering this phone tommorow but $40 dollars seems alot for just unlimeted internet acces with the cingular 8125 pocket pc

    thx in advance

  44. Scott says:

    Hi.

    I currently have two separate devices:

    – a PC card with a $59.99 unlimited Mobile Broadband plan

    – a PDA phone with a $39.99 PDA connect plan

    I’m thinking about switching to a new PDA phone device with 3G (HSPDA/UMTS) capabilities.

    My goal is to find the right plan that will give me both unlimited data access on the PDA and unlimited access while tethered to a laptop.

    Is there a plan that would truly let me achieve both objectives (and not pay double)? I can’t seem to get a straight answer from Cingular…

    Thanks in advance!

  45. Mario Figueroa says:

    ohh alright nvm about the post above, but isnt the PDA connect 44.99?

    well my other question is how does the instant messenger work say i have 1000 instant messages but wouldnt that still charge me more since im using the internet to log onto yahoo?

  46. Judi Sohn says:

    Mario,

    If you have a voice plan with Cingular, the data plan is $39.99. If you’re only ordering the data plan (which seems a little silly for a phone) then it’s $44.99.

    If you’re using something like Agile Messenger to connect to your Yahoo account, then it’s part of the Internet access. It’s charged if you use an application that sends instant messages as text messages.

    I hope that helps.

  47. Mario Figueroa says:

    so its not a good idea to get the PDA connect plan for 44.99 with the cingular 8125 pocket pc?

  48. Judi Sohn says:

    No, I didn’t say that. The PDA connect plan is perfect. It’s just not $44.99 if you also have a voice plan. It’s $39.99. It’s the same plan otherwise.

  49. Mario Figueroa says:

    ohh ok thx alot for that but what is agile messenger?

  50. Judi Sohn says:

    It’s a very good free instant messenger client for PocketPC. Does AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, and MSN. Download it here.

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