Recently I cancelled iPad mini $30 per month 3gb data plan from AT&T, note I also have not have phone data plan since the beginning of April of last year, at which time I returned the employer iPhone 4s when I changed job. Now I am without the data plan on 3G, I am formally without the always on data. Some of the work around I have used to get around:
1) Wifi, at work place I usually get free wifi, and I asked the Wifi password at the places I will be for a while, my daughter’s pre-school, her gym class, JCC, the Chinese restaurant I go often, my friend’s house, etc. Most places have free wifi now. The only thing is just ask: the office manager, my friend. Usually they don’t laugh at me
2) Not all wifi are equal, besides speed, and coverage and reliability is the most visible. Personally, I like the JCC wifi the best, because they are reliable. At one time, I had Nexus 4 phone, it takes a bit work to get connected (Setting, turn Wifi off and back on).
3) GPS. I found out this lately, even without data plan, I can use GPS on my iPad mini, the only thing is before I start, I need the Wifi to set up the destination and the route. After that the navigation is just the same as the dedicated GPS. A small inconvenience. And one reason I still kept my TomTom GPS.
4) Apps’ working without Wifi. I found the iOS support for apps without Wifi varies greatly. I liked the Facebook “Internet connection required” status bar. And I tried to implement something similar in my app when the connection is required.
(Update 03-07-14) Found a solution to a puzzled problem for iPhone 5s on T-mobile pre-paid plan (no data plan). There is no visual voice mail, which is fine. The annoying part is once there is a voice mail, the red dot on the phone icon won’t go away easily. I found how to fix it, basically I turned off cellular data, I turned it on, then off, the red dot will be gone. A small tip.