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 PLANSADDITIONAL 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:
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.
129 responses to “Cingular's confusing data plans: a lesson to the wise”
ohh wow cool so ur saying i install this into the pocket pc and i use it and it wont charge me at all for any instant messages?
Exactly. Works pretty well.
wow thx alot judy for all ur help u have been very helpfull
wait can u explain to me whats a voice plan pls? cause im not exactly sure what that is
THANK YOU!! This BLOG has been incredibly informative and helpful. I am a newcomer to the 8125 and thought I had the PDA connect plan since I’m paying $39.95/month. I’ve come to find out I’m saddled with the MediaNet plan, so I am going to have that changed.
However, if it’s not much of an imposition, I’m wondering if DJ Aladin or anyone else can provide information on the following:
A) I have a two year voice plan. If I get the Unlimited PDA Connect, will I be able to tether my laptop using the 8125 as a bluetooth modem without incurring additional per byte charges?
B) Secondly, I’m confused about the proxies. In your comment on 6/11 you mentioned that it would not matter whether one uses wap.cingular.com or isp.cingular.com. However when I tried to use isp.cingular.com and couldn’t connect I was told I had to use wireless.cingular.com with the wap.cingular access point. I can get access to internet web pages but I can’t stream uadio and video like I used to with the isp.cingular.com proxy. What exactly should I be using?
If no one has the information, would it be possible for you to forward my email to DJ Aladin, if that’s ok with you?
Mario, a voice plan is what allows you to call phone numbers from your phone. For example, I have the $39.99 voice plan from Cingular which gives me 450 minutes of talk time during the week, unlimited weekends.
Milo, if you switch to isp.cingular.com you also have to change the username to (I think) firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t quote me on exactly what it is, I just know it has to be different. Maybe DJ will chime back in.
Can anyone tell me how on earth I can add internet to my treo 650 without adding an extra 40.00 dollars to my already huge monthly bill since I use a family plan. It seems quite expensive that they would want to charge you that much!
ok well i just got the phone today and it is a really nice phone, to bad i didnt get to get the unlimeted internet acces plan well not yet
well my question is say i go on the internet with the phone and i close the screen for the web browser is it still using the internet acces? ty
it will be blinking green right when its on wifi right?
well umm can u forget about the other questions i asked you guys but i just have one really important question and can u guys reply as soon as possible? my question is is can you show me how to put a custom sound under the text messages?
thx in advance
Mario, I have no idea. You may be better off asking these kinds of questions in the Cingular forums.
This is a great blog! I read through all your postings tonight, but I need some clarification. I plan to purchase an 8125 tomorrow and want to make sure I subscribe to the least expensive plan for my needs. Can you help me?
Two Data Capabilities are Required:
1) Frequent unlimited access to browse the Internet with just the 8125 (stand-alone)
2) Occasional unlimited access to browse the Internet with a laptop computer (tethered to the 8125)
If I understand correctly, I can legally have both these capabilities by simply adding Unlimited Data Connect (as a $59 FEATURE) to my voiceplan. Is this correct?
Thanks for your quick reply…
Debbie, I am not sure if there is a plan that allows for tethering. The $59 plan you’re talking about (I think) is Laptop Connect which is for PCs. You can probably get away with occasional tethering on the $39 plan, but I don’t know for sure. Maybe someone else will comment with a better answer.
No…when I say “occassionally”, I mean a couple of times one month for several hours, maybe only once another month, skip a month, etc. I travel a lot. I don’t want suprise charges on a PDA Connect plan because I connected my laptop thru the 8125. But, what DJ Aladin recommended to Nicole makes sense that I could purchase a “higher” plan (Data Laptop Connect) to allow tethering the laptop yet still permit the 8125 to run in stand-alone mode most of the time. Did I understand DJ Aladin correctly? (Nicole’s original question was posted on 5/19/06; DJ Aladin responded on 6/7/06). Who is DJ Aladin? Does he work for Cingular? Does he have authority to make this recommendation?
Debbie, I have no idea who DJ Aladin is or what his authority is to make statements. I just publish ’em.
The problem is that Cingular has been very inconsistent on what they say and what they charge for. Call 3 times and talk to 3 different reps and you’ll likely get 3 different answers. Some folks are billed for the slightest infractions, some go months tethering and downloading thousands of bytes and never get billed a penny. It’s honestly hard to say.
If you go “by the book” the Data Connect plan is not for use with the Cingular 8125. Not that it won’t work, just that the 8125 is not what it is designed for and a rep will steer you away or refuse to add it outright. Maybe. You can’t add it yourself, it’s not available as a feature for the phone online. Only a rep can do it.
I bought the 8125 today from a corporate Cingular store as I posted yesterday that I was going to do. I told the sales guy I needed the ability to tether a laptop and use the 8125 as a modem – and he sold me the PDA Connect unlimited plan for $39/mo. When I got home I called Cingular customer service to verify he put me on the correct plan. I told the rep., “Melissa” that I wanted to tether a laptop and use the 8125 as a modem and she told me I had the correct plan – PDA Connect with unlimited access. So, I waited a few minutes and called Cingular again. This time I got a guy named “Mike” and he told me the same thing. I told him about the billing issues I’ve been reading about on this blog and he put me on hold to check with his supervisor. His supervisor verified a third time that I’m on the correct plan. He said the PDA Connect with unlimited access for $39/mo allows me to use the 8125 as a modem to a tethered laptop. So….there you have it! If I get any suprise bills during the next few months, I’ll let you all know!!
Great info. Thanks Judi. Ok. I purchased my 8125 with text messaging, but no data plan. I want to connect at free wifi spots as well as connect to my wireless home network. What do I need to change on the default settings of the phone to make this work? Also I read on a forum page that someone was using their 8125 to connect to a dial-up ISP (i.e. Netscape), pay $10 a month for the service, and use that for internet when wifi was not available. Anybody know how to do this? It would be an inexpensive way to have internet access via dialup on weekends and night. I guess I could use Agile with this connection too.TIA-Kerry
I also want to know the same thing that Kerry wants to know in addition to the fact that I’m already on a family plan, I want to know how to just add on just unlimited internet because Im upgrading from an ericsson s710a, I currently have no internet capability on my s710, thanx
I signed up for Cingular and was assured after an hour on the phone with the Cingular Rep that the Media Works plan is what I needed with my Treo 650. Today I was told that the Media Works plan is not appropriate for the Treo 650 and that the PDA Connect plan was appropriate. I just switched from Sprint and want to try to emulate what I had with Sprint in terms of wireless web, Exchange E-mail, SMS, and photomail. Nobody at Cingular thus far understands what Cingular offers to be able to advise me. I suppose it is like the Internal Revenue Code. No IRS agent knows all of the laws they are charged with administering. This website is helpful. A good sanity check. Cingular needs to train their people or make their data plan offerings easier to understand.
I have the 8125 and I’ve been using the 19.99 unlimited medianet plan for 6 months. There’s absolutely no reason why you *have* to use the $39.99 pda plan. Media net connects via edge, just like the pda plan would. Find a rep that will allow you to add medianet and save 20 bux a month. The pda plan is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. Just because you have a touchscreen, doesn’t mean you should be overcharged for the same service the (virtually identical) 2125 phone can get. I have never been charged more than 19.99 for unlimited data. Before you fork over money every month for no reason, do a little research on xda forums. Also, getting charged extra for tethering your phone to your laptop is completely bogus. Do not trust what cingular reps tell you, they have no training when it comes to business and data plans.
I just ordered the BlackBerry 7130c with the BlackBerry Access – Unlimited $44.99 and 900 minutes voice plans.
I want to know what I need to get or change this to so that I can use the device as a modem, keep its BlackBerry functionality and heck even use it to make a call every now and then. Please let me know because I have spoken with four different Cingular reps and they haven’t got a clue.
Well, after reading this entire page, I’m a bit apprehensive.
I bought an 8125 a couple months ago and held off on the data plan. After a couple of months, I decided to take the plunge. I called Cingular Customer Service to ask how much the data plan was for it, and was told it was $60! Considering I was expecting $30-40, I turned it down.
Knowing Cingular’s runaround game, I decided to call an actual Cingular store. I asked how much the unlimited data plan was for the 8125 and she told me $19.99. Of course I jumped on it. I’m looking at my account now and see that I got signed up for the Media Max 200 at $19.99.
I have two questions:
1) Does this plan really provide unlimited web and email downloads? I’ve been on the web quite a bit with my phone over the past couple of weeks, and the thought of getting slammed with per-KB charges for all that data worries me.
2) Am I getting charged as I write this for tethering with my 8125 (which I am doing right now for the first time). I used the #99 method I’ve seen elsewhere on the web, which got me online just fine.
I am the creative director of a web firm, and was looking forward to using the 8125 as part of a mobile office. I work with a lot of Flash and video, so the prospect of getting charged per-KB for all the data I would potentially be upping or downloading is not very enticing.
Very informative, thanks for posting this!
I’m currently using the 2125 but am very interested in upgrading to the 8125.
My current data plan with Cingular is I think an old AT&T plan called mMode Unlimited ($25.95/month). Am I correct to assume that this has been phased out and upon purchasing an 8125 I would have to go for the PDA Connect at $39.95, or try to get the MediaNet plan for $19.95?
WOW! This has been by far the best forum I have read about the Cingular 8125 and the rate plans. I just purchased the 8125 (should arrive tomorrow) with 450 anytime minutes and PDA unlimited data. I have read on different forums about the data plan and text messaging, but I wanted a more infomed opinion (which a lot of people here seem to have), is there actually method to have text messages sent over the internet (utilizing AIM, YIM, MSNIM, etc)? For example, “Joe” sends me a text message, I read it and CIngular charges me $0.10. Can I have that text message sent to a Pocket PC IM instead? Also, does anyone know since when does Cingular charge for INCOMING text messages?
They have for as long as I’ve been with them (years).
I don’t know of any way to have standard text messages sent over to an IM network. You can use an IM network to send text messages, but I don’t know if it can work in the other direction. Interesting idea, though.
“They have for as long as I’ve been with them (years).”
I guess because I am still a little new to Cingular (had to move from AT&T Wireless when Cingular bought them, which I find ironic because now AT&T owns Cingular ::shakes head and shrugs::), but used to never get charged for incoming messages. Only when I sent them. You could send text messages to a friend through the website and inturn receive from the website for free. I used to get charged the normal dime only sending from my phone. Now, it doesn’t matter if I send or receive them…still get the charge. I don’t really care about it because i don’t text message that often, but it can get quite annoying because if 10 friends send me ten messages each, it can add up quickly.
I was thinking of buying a Cingular 2125 and wonder if DJ Aladin (if he/she is still out there) could comment on the difference between SmartPhone Connect Unlimited and Media Max. It seems like you have to pay for data transfer on Smart Phone Connect, but have unlimited data on Media Max.
One question. If the 8125 is not suppose to use the MediaNet plan why is it configured to do so out of the box. If it is suppose to use the PDA Connect plan you need to go in and reconfigure the connection settings. I am sure here are many customer’s that don’t relaize this and are paying for the PDA Connect plan when they are actually using the less expensive MediaNet network. Sounds like a scam to me.
You have provided a wonderful venue for those of us looking for information. Thank you!
Yesterday I was advised by a Cingular rep. that I could purchase the 8125 without a data plan and that I will still be eligible for the $100 rebate.
I asked the rep. if the 8125 could be used as a PDA without the SIM card in it. She responded that it cannot be used without the SIM card. I asked if she was certain and she said that she would check. A few moments later she returned to the phone and advised me that the 8125 definitely will not work without a SIM card installed. You will get a notice upon power-up that no SIM card was detected and that the only thing you can do is turn the 8125 off and install the SIM card.
Undaunted, I drove to a local Cingular corporate store and spoke with a young lady. I asked the following questions:
Q. Will the 8125 work as a PDA without the SIM card installed?
Q. Are you certain that it wont work?
Q. Do you have a working 8125 that I can look at?
A. Yes, Ill be right back.
A few minutes later the young lady returned with a working 8125 in one hand and a SIM card in the other. I guess the 8125 will work as a PDA without the SIM card installed!
Great! Wrap one up. Sir, if you dont get the Data Plan, I cant guarantee that you will get the $100 rebate. I explained that a Cingular rep. have just told me otherwise and could she please check. A few minutes later the young lady returned and told me that I cannot get the rebate without having a Data Plan.
I certainly hope you all enjoy your 8125s. I dont have one!
Does anyone know if the 8125 can surf secure websites? (https) I can’t seem to get it to work. Is it possible that that is will work with the isp.cingular over the wap? I tell you all this information is so confusing, all I need this thing for is to go to one certain website to enter in new sales for my company which is https and to check my emails and make phone calls. I have interent on my laptop darn near everywhere I go.
Hello. We have 13 people in our office and we’re thinking about switching to the 8125. We will primarily use the PDA for office email access and occasionally internet use. What limitations/problems will arise with each of us buying the $19.99 per month 5MB data plan? Why would this not be good plan? Would would we need to upgrade? Many thanks for your help.
About the the new Blackberry 7130c: Cingular suggests I get the $29.99 internet service for browser and email. Something doesn’t sound right, sounds too good to be true.
I was looking at getting a blackberry, but dont need the push email that badly. do you know if is it possible to set up a blackberry device, such as the blackberry 8100 to work with a data plan like the smartphone connect?
Hello, I stepped onto this site while finding more information about my cingular 8125 that I just bought. I have downloaded Agile Messenger like I’ve read from a response in this forum. Then I went and downloaded the AIM for WINDOWS CE version at the aol.uk site and have found out that Agile Messnger does not load all of my buddy list leaving quite a few screen name offline when they are supposingly online. The aim from the aol.uk site shows all of my buddies online. I was wondering would you or anyone else here know the charges for the Aim that can be found at aim.com for mobile phones? Either they charge me by text messages or by data?
May whomever answer my question above, please kindly send me a email to notify me about your answer. My email is email@example.com. Thank you
I purchase the 8125 yesterday and changed nothing about my voice plan. I have no data plan, I assumed since it has wifi i could use it with my home broadband connection just until i decide if i want to keep it and then i would purchase a data plan. I have yet found out how to connect it to my home connection.
Can you tether the 8125 to a laptop just using the $40 PDA connect and have unlimited access to internet on your laptop ????????
Thanks everybody for the great posts and exchange.
I’m very tempted to spring for the 8125.
Currently I own a stand-alone PDA and a seperate cellphone, so the combination is very attractive.
With that said, can I purchase the 8125 without investing in a data plan and just use the unit as a phone and a pocket pc/productivity tool? I have access to the internet at work all day and at home in the evenings so it’s not essential on a handheld.
I just need to make calls and keep myself organized.
I appreciate your help.
I have a Cingular MediaNet Unlimited package that I have used with Nokia 6682 SmartPhone for over a year now. I get access to most things needed over port 80, but have noticed that lots of important ports I need to use seem to be blocked.
The biggest thing that I wanted to comment on though is that I have been tethering my 6682 to my Apple PowerBook via Bluetooth all the time over the last year, and have never had any extra charges. And once again, this is just with the MediaNet unlimited plan.
I will definitely continue using this plan when I switch the the New Cingular 8525 due to be released, but If I feel the need for the less retrictive port blocking of the isp.cingular.com APN, then I’ll probably make the switch to the PDA connect plan.
Data connect, the way I see it, is truly just for PCMCIA EDGE/UMTS cards.
My brother and I just signed up for a new Cingular account. We both got the 8125, but no data plan yet. Will we each have to sign up for the PDA plan seperately (for an extra $80 a month), or can we both use it for $39.99.
Can we just use the MEdia Max 200, we do use text messaging as well.
As far as I know, the data plan is tied to the SIM card so even if your minutes are shared, you have to have two separate data plans, one for each phone.
MediaMax plans won’t cut it.
Wow…what an educational hour on your site. Thanks for the great forum.
I am a T-Mobile customer waiting semi-patiently for the ne Treo to come out (750v on Vodafone) in the US. Since it sounds like T-Mobile will not be carrying it, I’ve been seriously contemplating switching to Cingular. However, I have a real problem with the data plan prices.
Why on earth does Cingular charge $40 a month for a plan that costs $20 at T-Mobile? I have unlimited internet access on my Treo 650 (Cingular-branded but unlocked) and use it as a modem every once in a while while travelling if I don’t want to pay $20 for hotel WiFi access.
The posts here started back a ways. Has the pricing structure changed recentlly? Can I use the SmartPhone Data plan ($19.99) with a treo from unlimited access?
Thanks for any info.
PS: If any Cingular reps want to throw any info about the new Treo and Cingular in here, I wouldn’t hold it against you 😉
i recently switched from a razr to a cingular 8125 which i have bought out right. Since, i have not registered my 8125 with cingular, i am still able to keep my 29.99 medianet plan (includes 1000txt and unlimited access). After rechecking my settings on the phone, i am accessing wap.cingular to browse. It seems that wap.cingular does not restrict where i go on the internet. I also have 2 email accounts on my 8125 syncing and downloading when i need it to (not xpress mail). should i expect a huge bill at the end of the month?
The 8125 seems to be a god among pda phones. I would like to get one without a pda connect plan or without a medianet/mediaworks/media max or whatever.I would be signing on to a new 2 year plan with the standard 450 minutes. I have wi-fi at home and work and would like to be able to access full internet browser/email plus get the 100 instant messages a month ($2.99) thus keeping my final monthly price tag under $50 dollars. This would be ideal. I guess my standing question would be can I connect via wifi and access full internet and email in hotspots without any data plans and not get charged to do so. Anything will help. -Ryan thanks you
Further I think it was really impolite for the Cingular rep to shout on this forum. Vicky could have explained in regular case. Im not sure what she said, because I couldnt get past the case thing.
Either way I think after reading user reviews on Amazon and other sites, I think most people advocate the blackberry over the Nokia or the Windows devices which are said to be really slow in responding so if a Cingular rep could let me know without yelling how I find plan that allows unlimited data and some voice (500 mins or there abouts) I would appreciate it
To answer your question, if you just use the Wi-fi to browse/IM then will not incur any sort of data charges. I initially thought I could get away with just using the WLAN on the phone, but eventually had to add a data plan to fully enjoying wireless browsing ANYWHERE! I’m very happy with the phone, my only other choice would have been the E62.
Hope you can help me. I have a Siemens sx66 which I use medianet with. I would like to get more use out of my phone. Presently I attend school on line but I am unable to logon with the limited use given through media net. I am also looking into tethering my siemens with my laptop for use away from home. My biggest concern is expense. My daughter likes to send pictures of her new baby through MMS although I don’t get many text messages. Please let me know what you recommend and how to set it up.
Hi, I just got the 8125 and i cant send txt msgs but i can recieve them i spoke to the represenative and she said that i have to purchase a data plan for me to send..is this true i find it hard to believe or is there some settings i need to put in to get this going. i can also get on the internet no problem through my plan. please help!
Thanks in advance,