Cell Phone Companies Should Accommodate Deaf People with Data-Only Plans!

Posted on 22 October 2008. Filed under: Advocacy | Tags: , , , , , |

Cell Phone Companies Should Accommodate Deaf People with Data-Only Plans!

Fed up with being forced to pay for voice call services that we deaf people cannot use? Or, fed up with being limited to only one or two cell phone companies (Tmobile) that even offer a data-only plan? Fed up with the fact that deaf people usually have to pay more for a data-only plan than hearing people do for a voice-only plan — even though our data-only plan is the functional equivalent?

If this is you, then read on:

Jeffery Stroud recently left the following comment in another post at this blog

URL : http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=28908999596
I’ve set up a (currently small and inactive) group on facebook called “Support Deaf accomodation by Cell Phone Company”. I’m not too sure what the ADA would say about cell phone companies not providing a data-only plan for all of their data-accessible phones for the deafs. That what I intend to find out. (I’m just quite a bit busy right now getting ready to move though so right now I’m just letting peoples knows about this group)

Go check out the new facebook group.

It is pretty easy to register for Facebook if you haven’t done that before. Once you register, you would be able to view the “Support Deaf accomodation by Cell Phone Company” group in Facebook and also join this group. It’s small (with only 30 members so far), but if you alert your friends in the deaf community, or re-post this announcement at your own blog, then it could grow quickly. Group members could then work together to fight for a wider range of choices of cell phone companies for deaf customers.

Thank you to Jeffery Stroud for leaving his comment at my blog.

Help Jeffery Stroud spread the word: link to the new Facebook group from your blog, too; or alert your friends via email.


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18 Responses to “Cell Phone Companies Should Accommodate Deaf People with Data-Only Plans!”

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Thanks! this can definitely help me and all other deaf peoples figure out what to do about the carriers not providing what we needs in the cell phone business.

hi l am a deaf from Ghana of west africa.l want cell phone for me now.pls not fail to me l hope thank welcome.
donkor ekow

All the major cell phone companies here in America now have a data only plan, sprint, t-mobile, us cellular, at&t, verizon… it really all depends on who who go with. Honestly check out their websites!

I know that at&t is the most expensive.

Curious, will sprint, t-mobile, us cellular, at&t, verizon… work in these network operators in Nigeria? Will their handsets be function well in Nigeria of West Africa as well?

Many of them do offer data-only plans but at a much higher price than it seems like it should be and only for a few select phones. Why not have a data-only plan for ALL of the data-accessible phones? and at a fair price? Look at the majority of the discounts that hearing peoples gets when they get data plan on top of their voice plan. why don’t they offer similiar thing for the deaf but instead offer the data-plan at a good price point and offer the voice plan at a discount? (I wouldn’t mind getting a discounted voice plan if I had a hearing girlfriend or was living with my hearing family.) One of the biggest question I have is WHY does the data plan cost a lot more without the voice plan? I can understand that it is a profiting strategy by the carriers but this makes the deaf peoples left out and become forced to pay extras for the data-only plan. I would like to see if the carriers can set up a deaf-only program where if we bring proof of deafness (like the audiologist’s test result), we would be qualified for better prices on data-only plan because quite frankly, deaf peoples do have a harder time finding a good paying job than hearing peoples do and many of us can’t afford to pay extras for something they need but have no reason to be at a higher price.

If you want to discuss this further, please join the facebook group so other peoples there can participates and provides information.

The companies won’t offer data-only plans because it’s very hard to prevent people using programs like Skype or whatever to make internet phone calls which will actually wind up reducing profits.

Keep in mind if you register for Facebook, there’s no guarantee your information is safe.

Right now my beef is with T-Mobile. I recently received my brand new G1 smartphone, but the T-Mobile rep told me I had to buy a voice plan ($29) along with the data only plan ($35) to use it! even though I am deaf and would never use the voice plan. That is so not fair. I’m going to return the G1 and tell everybody I know not to buy one.

That’s why Sprint Relay Store offers Data Only Plan for Deaf/Hard of Hearing customers. Voice plan is not required. Go to http://www.sprintrelaystore.com and learn about their products and services.

“Anonymous,” Ken Brown, etc.:

In general principle, I don’t mind hosting this dialogue here. But at the same time, I agree with Will/ Jeffery Stroud that you might wish to consider taking this discussion to his Facebook group. The kind of information that people have been sharing here, as well as the differences in opinion over what kind of services that cell phone companies should be offering to deaf people, is precisely the kind of discussion that his group is meant to facilitate. (For example, Jeffery Stroud has pointed out that, even though some cell phone companies other than T-Mobile do in fact offer a data-only plan, they tend to be much more expensive than the voice-only plan that hearing people are able to benefit from.)

As a side note, I’m very surprised at the treatment received from T-Mobile. I use the T-Mobile Sidekick, and so does my hearing partner — and neither of us were forced to purchase the voice plan in order to get the data-only plan. We just have the data-only plan. (My partner wanted data-only too because I’m the primary person she communicates with via her cell, so voice was kind of pointless for her also. The voice service is still there on the rare occasion that she needs it, but it doesn’t come up much.)

Or was it the type of phone that made a difference? I’ve never tried any phone other than Sidekick.

I know what you mean but that is one of the reason why I wish that these cell phone company set up a deaf-only program where you can bring proof of deafness such as audiologist test result and whatnot. simply by being hard of hraring or deaf greatly reduces the chance of using that kind of programs such as skype. P.S. what do you mean by the facebook comment? just wondering because I think you are talking about these app? as long as you go into your privacy option and block all unapproved app, you should have no problem with that. I’ve done the same thing and so far had no issues at all.

Ken Brown,
I’m well aware that there are carriers that offer deaf-only programs such as the sprint one but not everyone want to have to use a BlackBerry or have to be on that particular carrier. For example, what about the G1 issues like anonymous mentioned? The G1 have data capability so why is it limited in that way? It is not fair for the deaf because hearing peoples can use BOTH the voice plan and data plan but the deaf people can only use the data plan. I know that there is also the T-Mobile sidekick which offers data-only plan but for a few peoples who want more data-centric functions (like calender, excel, word, and more) are stuck if they want something other than blackberry.

Again, the facebook group is to help encourage discussions like this. I know that our information is not guaranteed safe but where can you be absolutely sure that your info is safe online anyway? Just make sure to block all unapproved app in your privacy setting in Facebook if you want to reduce that risk.

I just want to know which cell phone are good the lg dare blackberry storm verizon or g1 tmobile. I nedd to know whidh one is the best?

Elmore Frank Brown Jr:

1. I suggest you join the facebook group and participate in discussion there

2. and you might also want to check deafpagers.com

I’m not in the best position to compare and contrast different models. I just know that most deaf people use Sidekick from T-Mobile. And that’s what I use myself.

I am not deaf but I think it would be so wonderful if cell phone companies would have a wide range of choices on phone for the deaf. I am going to look at Verizon what do they have to offer.

there is a phone company that does that for hearing impaired people $30 for data only
that company is wintwireless.com i have there service its really good i have a friend who is deaf he told me about it so now i ran cross this and i just had to post sumthing because there is help out there just send a email to them save@wintwireless.com there nice and they will help

You are right people who wear hearing aids often have to struggle to listen to cell phone conversations, they miss out on a lot of information and may only converse via a speaker phone with little or no privacy.

hi.greetings in jesus name.hope and prayer that u are very fine.i,m a humble deaf man from nigeria of w/african.i want u to special cell phone for me .thx

I just receive a letter from t-mobile it said that the sidekick data plan will end on May 31st. No more sidekick. And which cell phone is good for deaf to use? I wish it keep the monthy plan 29.00 a month with unlimited data plan. Please let me know. Thanks.

I’m trying to find a good model of cell for deaf on the pay as you go or no contract plan. Currently I have a t mobile Sprag which is awful . Can’t feel the vibration well and no light to say missed message. Anyone have a suggestion on what to buy? Staff at stores don’t know.

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