How to get unlimited cell phone data for FREE

I now have a cell phone plan that offers unlimited calling. Amusingly, AT&T sent me a letter about it, printed with ink on pieces of paper.

Hayes Smartmodem (2400 baud)

Hayes Smartmodem (2400 baud)

AT&T then sent me an e-mail telling me that my “unlimited” data plan from a decade ago will be going up $5 a month in price, but it’s the same “unlimited” plan that is subject to harsh throttling when you go over a certain limit. The throttling can be so severe that the data plan is worthless. It’s annoying.

Well, I just realized how I can solve the data problem using the new free calling, and it’s so obvious: bring back modems!

Remember the modem? It was a piece of hardware that connected your computer to your phone line. I actually had a 2400 baud Smartmodem (pictured at right!). And tons of other modems over the years, too. The modem converted digital data into annoying audio sound that could be sent over a phone line.

It seems so obvious. Get a piece of software to run on your cell phone in the background and let it go ahead and tie up the phone line 24 hours a day. (Who cares? You have call waiting anyway if anybody calls, and you could probably configure it to automatically hang up the data line when a call comes in.) Then, send data packets over the telephone line just like in the old days.

It would tear up battery like crazy. And who knows how fast it would be: the old modems went up to 56K but they were using landlines that were decent. Maybe the software modem idea would be better reserved for data that can be batch processed in the background, like app updates, synching the news, and backing up the phone.

Still, every byte that goes out over the modem is a byte that doesn’t come out of your data allocation. And there is just something so sweet about the idea of screwing the man by taking advantage of “unlimited” calling to fix “unlimited” data.

The only problem I haven’t solved is who to call on the other end of the line…

 

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