I was in a similar situation - lost my Bell Canada phone so wanted a replacement with a physical keyboard but didn't want a data plan (nor a new contract).
Originally Posted by smengler
I bought a new AT&T Pixi Plus on eBay. I bought a new Bell SIM, inserted it and then used Digitalunlock.com to unlock the phone (it was supposed to already have been unlocked when purchased, but I wanted to make sure).
I had Bell activate the SIM, then used the activation bypass tool. When the phone booted up, I had a functioning Wi-Fi connection, so used that to create a Palm profile and went about setting up the phone preferences as I wanted. There was no data connection (there are other threads on this problem if you want to fix this), but I don't want one anyway. Otherwise, the phone functions 100%, including the App Catalog (via Wi-Fi).
So it can be done.
Hope this helps answer your questions.