Michael is a mariner for the Navy and he likes to load his mobile phone with TWiT podcasts before he goes out to sea. As much time as he spends out at sea, he just uses a 'pay as you go' phone. He really likes the Nokia 1020 though. He's wondering if he could pay full price and not pay for a data plan with it. Leo says sure, and he'll be able to do everything except make phone calls with it over Wi-Fi.
Leo says to get the phone unlocked. Then he can buy local SIM cards in the countries he'll be in. He just has to be sure the phone supports the radio bands of where he's going. Amazon Wireless often has unlocked phones, but Leo gets his from a company called Expansys.
If he's in good standing with AT&T, he could go to them and tell them what he does, and say that he needs an unlocked phone. They should be willing to do that.