The November 2008 date DOES sound correct. My daughter has a VX-6900 (HTC Touch) that she has on the VZW network with NO dataplan. We had to keep the dataplan for 3 months, then dropped it. She loves the phone. She also realizes that when it is gone. Hello dataplan or lose the smartphone.
To clarify the phones that are not flip phones that do not have a data plan is the Samsung intensity and the motor rival. Otherwise it is 9.99 or more a month no matter where you get the phone, vzws system will force it to be added.
.....or the easy way to do it. Hear me out......get the phone your wife wants from VZW and sign up with the $10 data plan. (that is just to get the phone, they will not sell it without it) Once it is activated switch back to the old phone for a day. Next just activate the new one again either over the phone or online and you will not have to select data.
I had to do this for my wife. She had the voyager and wanted the env touch. So that was the work around for it
I saw this same thing at my local VZW store near Columbia SC. However, when I stated my daughter liked the Nokia Mural (spelling?) but didn't need a data plan they allowed us to purchase it without the plan. Now, this was just last week and the may try to add it after the fact but so far so good. By the way, all of the phones we looked at said the same thing, a minimum of 20.00 data plan would be required".