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T-Mobile Releases New Card, Outlaws VoIP and IM 266

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the because-we-said-so dept.
An anonymous reader writes "T-Mobile has launched a new 3G data card in the UK, and banned users from using it for VoIP or instant messaging applications." From the article: "Lock cast doubt on the sustainable viability of a mobile operator banning VoIP from its network. 'I think that eventually, if there's customer demand for this, it will happen," Lock said. "Other organizations will come along allowing VoIP. Who do you think is going to win?'"
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T-Mobile Releases New Card, Outlaws VoIP and IM

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  • by DrEldarion (114072) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:34PM (#15297576)
    Such high speeds would seem to make the new data card ideal for applications such as Internet telephony and instant messaging.

    I have a feeling that 7mbps is a tad overkill for instant messanging.

  • Too early to tell (Score:4, Informative)

    by foundme (897346) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:36PM (#15297585) Homepage
    First of all, the summary failed to mention this is a flat-rate plan, and it's currently on internal trial. So this gives possibilities of a data-usage plan which allows VoIP, or when the service finally rolls out, the company will simply drop this restriction if the trial indicates a negative support.
    • by Amoeba (55277) *
      Exactly.

      Not to mention that VOIP is functionally useles with response times greater than 150ms. Since this is a new infrastructure for a flat-rate data plan I'm not surprised that T-Mobile is blocking (or purposefully not paying attention to) UDP heavy packets (IM) and VOIP which would require some QoS crafting to ensure reliability. By restricting certain services they can be in a better position to get meaningful usage data and network utilization stats out of the internal testing.

      While cell companies mak
      • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:40PM (#15297878) Journal
        Not to mention that VOIP is functionally useles with response times greater than 150ms.

        I don't know why VOIP would be functionally useless above 150ms unless it was designed incorrectly. I routinely have longer round trim latency than that on my cell phone calls from California to Tennessee, and that's basically POTS most of the way. A phone call from one side of the planet to the other that takes a satellite hop will have four times that much round trip latency at a minimum.

        Who do you think is going to win?

        No idea who will win. All I know is that if a telecom is involved, the general public are likely to lose. :-)

        • Re:Too early to tell (Score:4, Informative)

          by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:06PM (#15298229) Homepage
          Right -- a tenth of a second is nothing. I live in the South Pacific, and calls to the US on the POTS have a noticable delay -- at least 1-2 seconds. On the other hand, my ping times to the US average about 400MS, I have no problems using VOIP, and the discernable delay is usually less than that of POTS, if it's perceptible at all.

          At any rate, delays over 1 second can be irritating, but are still "functional." Unless your conversations are often mistaken for auctions, any delay less than 1s should be largely transparent.
        • Re:Too early to tell (Score:4, Informative)

          by shitdrummer (523404) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:00AM (#15299373)
          150ms is only the network delay time between the two devices.

          Don't forget that the audio needs to be encoded, packetised and transmitted. Then received, the packets re-assembled in the right order and then decoded back to an audio stream. So it's incorrect to equate 150ms network delay time with 150ms speech delay time on a mobile or standard telephone.

          150ms is the recommended maximum network delay for VoIP traffic as any more than that and you start to get noticably annoying delays. You might be happy to put up with delay on your phone calls but a lot of people aren't (i.e. managers, salesmen, me etc).

          Also, I doubt a call from California to Tennessee would travel mostly over POTS. I'd say the call would be over more advanced infrastructure than 2 copper wires, and in fact you're probably going over a VoIP WAN link at some stage.

          Additionally (in reference to another post by someone else), you shouldn't get a delay of anywhere near 1 to 2 seconds on any (well, to be honest, most) telephone call to anywhere in the world. That is extremely unacceptable delay and carriers would want to know if you're routinely getting this sort of delay. I agree it does happen occasionally but usually only when the default routes are down or fully used and you end up getting routed around the world a couple of times or over a poorly configured IP trunk. If you do get a call with this much delay, hang up and call again. You'll probably find the default routes have freed up by then and you will usually get a better quality line. Usually. :)

          I was testing an E&M voice tie line from Sydney to NY. One of the tests we performed was to loop the NY end so I could hear my speech in the receiver. The delay was at worst 1 second. Sydney to NY and Back, around 1 second delay over 4 copper wires and various other network infrastructure in between.

          Shitdrummer.
          • by billstewart (78916) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @05:46AM (#15299631) Journal
            First of all, the 150ms recommendation was originally for in-continent calls - the standards people recognized that transoceanic calls might need to be as long as 400ms, and that's still better than satellite. Remember that the speed of light in fiber is about 8-10ms per 1000 miles, depending on how straight your fiber routes are (it's a "miles of fiber per miles of route" issue, not an attenuation issue) and just because you can theoretically get halfway around the world in 100-125 ms, doesn't mean that real cable routes will let you do that. India and New York are just far apart, and you've got to deal with it, unless you want to drill a hole through the earth's core.

            Second, aside from what the _standards_ say, calls don't become "functionally useless" above 150ms - just a bit slower, and if they're much slower you might not want to use that cheap speakerphone. Back in the old days, when we used to walk 20 miles barefoot to the schoolhouse uphill both ways, satellite was the standard way to talk across oceans and sometimes even within the same continent, and they were ok. Not great, and sometimes annoying, but ok.

            Direct-dialed calls from California to Tennessee almost certainly *are* carried on POTS, though calling-card calls to India usually aren't. POTS isn't just analog-on-copper - the call gets digitized to 64kbps PCM at your first telco office, switched through circuit-switches, and carried on T1 lines (1.5 Mbps synchronous channelized stuff). The T1s get muxed together onto fiber, of course, and the fiber's usually DWDM stuff that puts 16-64 2.5-10Gbps channels on each pair, but with the major US telco carriers, most of the calls are still old-school as far as switching goes. LA to Nashville is about 2000 road-miles, so if you get a good fiber route it should be about 20ms one-way.

            That'll be changing a lot within the next 5 years - the old phone switches are becoming obsolete, and soft-switch technology is getting a lot cheaper, and it'll be the costs of switches (including parts and labor) that drives a lot of the change - fiber bandwidth is so cheap that it's cheaper to haul intra-US calls uncompressed compared to deploying telco quantities of compression equipment. Another big driver is mobile phones, since they already use a compressed-voice infrastructure.

            International's a lot different - bandwidth across oceans is expensive, so it's worth paying to compress the voice, especially if you either don't use IP or use trunked compression protocols that don't need to waste 40 bytes of IP/UDP/RTP header on a 10-byte voice sample. Those 1 cent calls to Asia are doing a lot of that.

    • Dont say that!!!! This is slashdot... dont you know? Phone carriers are a right bunch of bastards... you see, they want to make money off their infrastructure investments. DAMN THEM! DAMN THEM TO HELL!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      [...]while the Japanese are unable to duplicate the American films by a flank assault, they can destroy it by this video cassette recorder.
      I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.


      Jack Valenti, at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee 04-12-1982

      So, one must be mad thinking that the cellphone companies will roll over for VOIP and lose their voice cashcow. Have you actually looked at how much they charge? $0.75/m
      • Europeans sticking to horses & wind sailing (until a whole new country, America, invented the steam-boat, the steam-engine/railroads, the radio, the light-buld, and the airplane...

        Say whaaat?
        steam engine [about.com]
        railroad [about.com]
        airplane [about.com]...Ok, I'll grant that to a point. It still required lots of prior art.
        radio [about.com]
        light bulb [about.com]...Maybe you meant this: "Thomas A. Edison of the United States invented the first commercially successful incandescent lamp around 1879" emphasis mine.

        It's a fine line between "insightful" and "funny".
    • You are correct. The article dances around the issues of charges without actually highlighting them, lest the point of the article (if there is one) be lost. Telco's charge for data use on their CDMA/GTSM/3G networks and this won't change. VoIP uses considerable bandwidth and you will be charged for the data generated. The existing limiting factors of bandwidth, latency and jitter are collapsing with these new networks. The only barrier left to overcome is the pricing models and this is mainly due to t
  • IM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:42PM (#15297616) Homepage
    A ban on IM alone will ensure that no one uses their product. I think that I am currently the only person in the US who isn't on AIM/MSN/Yahoo/IRC. I would love to be able to listen to their customer support calls: "C: AIM isn't working. S: We don't support AIM. C: We seem to have a bad connection, you don't what?!" Do they have their own private IM service they are planning on offering?
    • Re:IM (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gellenburg (61212)
      Yeah, it's called "SMS" where T-Mobile charges up to 10 per message (incoming and outgoing) unless you pay extra and buy a plan that includes 300-500 messages per month.
      • Exactly.
        Companies are always doing this sort of thing. There's a carrier in our area that was requireing you to pay an extra $5 a month for caller ID data... Excuse me, $5 a month to not strip that data from your phone. They went to the trouble of removing it for everyone so they could charge to add it back.

        I feel like someone shat in my well so they could sell me bottled water.
    • Re:IM (Score:4, Informative)

      by zakezuke (229119) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:56PM (#15297690)
      A ban on IM alone will ensure that no one uses their product. I think that I am currently the only person in the US who isn't on AIM/MSN/Yahoo/IRC. I would love to be able to listen to their customer support calls: "C: AIM isn't working. S: We don't support AIM. C: We seem to have a bad connection, you don't what?!" Do they have their own private IM service they are planning on offering?

      The way it works in the states is... you have a choice between SMS and I believe "T-zones" is what it's called..... internet service basicly. SMS gives you access to Aim-ICQ/MSN/Yahoo for a fee per message, or you can get it at a flat rate for a tad more. You can pay extra to get unlimited text messages, or you can go with a data plan and, if you have a phone that supports it, run a true blue IM client on your phone. T-Zones costs a little more than unlimited SMS, not all phones support it, but you can login to multiable services at any given time. The SMS version basicly relays your messages though their standard text message service.

      The artical isn't clear on this subject, but I imagine you can still have your IM, just so long as you use it through their SMS network, a fee per message deal or additional subscription. Just a true blue IM client is banned... which I suspect it's because it simply can NOT be metered.

      • The way it works in the states with T-Mo is that you have SMS which allows you to use SMS or AIM only, at least on my phone. Then there's T-Zones, which comes in two flavors. There's one where you pay an exorbitant amount per megabyte, and only get up to a few megs. Then for $30, you get GPRS (woo hoo, max of ~41kbps) plus access to any T-Mo wifi hotspot, which includes starbucks and kinko's. Unlimited text is $10 on a family plan for everyone on the plan, don't know if that offer has been disco'd or not y

        • The way it works in the states with T-Mo is that you have SMS which allows you to use SMS or AIM only, at least on my phone. Then there's T-Zones, which comes in two flavors. There's one where you pay an exorbitant amount per megabyte, and only get up to a few megs. Then for $30, you get GPRS (woo hoo, max of ~41kbps) plus access to any T-Mo wifi hotspot, which includes starbucks and kinko's. Unlimited text is $10 on a family plan for everyone on the plan, don't know if that offer has been disco'd or not ye
          • Re:IM (off-topic) (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jrockway (229604) *
            The $6.99 plan is quite useful. It gives you unlimited access to all data services on your phone, and lets you tether to your phone to use GPRS. The "catch" is that you can "only check e-mail" while tethered. Of course, with a SOCKS proxy running on port 110 in my office, it's basically unlimited Internet. Very helpful when you're at a coffee shop and want to surf, but don't want to pay $100/hr or whatever hotspots charge these days :)
            • The $6.99 plan is quite useful. It gives you unlimited access to all data services on your phone, and lets you tether to your phone to use GPRS. The "catch" is that you can "only check e-mail" while tethered. Of course, with a SOCKS proxy running on port 110 in my office, it's basically unlimited Internet. Very helpful when you're at a coffee shop and want to surf, but don't want to pay $100/hr or whatever hotspots charge these days :)

              That's handy to know, though I don't know if for example it would let me
              • It would not -- if you want "real" internet access, as opposed to "email only" or "TMobile web" service, you need to ask for GPRS service as opposed to the TMobile Web service, and the cost is $30 as opposed to $6 per month or so.

                I spent a while talking to some braindead rep at a TMobile store a while back about this. I kept telling her that I wanted internet access through my phone, and it took a while to pound through that I wanted more than just to be able to use that idiotically lame browser that's buil
    • Re:IM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pla (258480) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:55PM (#15297931) Journal
      A ban on IM alone will ensure that no one uses their product.

      Hey, at 7Mbps, I'd still use it...

      ...To RD/VNC from the top of a mountain to my home desktop machine where I can run Yahoo/AIM/MSN/ICQ/whatever.


      If they really want to ban IM, they can pay the price of increased bandwidth to hide such use. Because really, no one will actually obey such stupid rules.


      But hey, at $0.10 per SMS, if I ran a cell company, I'd sure as hell want to discourage my customers from using an ultra-low-bandwidth (and free) alternative as well!
      • by forand (530402)
        But hey, at $0.10 per SMS, if I ran a cell company, I'd sure as hell want to discourage my customers from using an ultra-low-bandwidth (and free) alternative as well!
        I prefer the term "Already paid for." Free this is not, you just are paying for the bandwidth instead of the specific service. With SMS you pay for the service AND the bandwidth.
    • Do they have their own private IM service they are planning on offering?

      No, but they do charge for text messaging. They don't want to allow their users to get around the extra services they can charge for.
  • who will win? (Score:4, Insightful)

    cheap local government-backed citywide wifi will win

    you don't make money as a telephone carrier by allowing people to have telephone conversations without paying you. you don't make money going form a 0.99/ min model to a 39.99/ mo model. so you don't let them use voip

    so you drive your customers to wifi

    the customer is always right, and the customer has discovered he can pay less

    who wants to make the next must-have killer gadget? who wants to make the next must-have ipod?

    you, whomever you are, who makes a small, sexy, cheap voip via wifi phone wins that distinction and that wad of cash

    gentleman, start your engines, the race is on

    • Too bad the telecommunications industry is lobbying hard to ban local government based ISPs.
      • yup (Score:5, Insightful)

        it is the death of american productivity and economic growth if shortsighted entrenched corporate interests are allowed to squash innovation with armies of lawyers

        then the sun will set on the usa, defeated not from without by terrorism, but defeated from within by rapacious greed consuming american ingenuity and therefore economic growth

        you know the telcos, riaa, mpaa, and cable companies would squash arpanet in the 1970s if they saw where we were going

        i'll say that again: if it were up to entrenched corporate interests, there would be no internet

        entrenched corporate interests would rather no more technological progress happen

        it messes with their entrenched business models

        god forbid uncertainty and risk enter their accounting sheets

        no, we should all give up progress so there is no uncertainty in large corporation's financial outlook, right?

        they are working hard to squash innovation, and given enough time and pressure, they might succeeed

        and then it is good morning india and china, new captains of industry, with more pragmatic approaches to ip law and technological innovation
      • It's all quite irrelevant in the long term since we will have mesh-networked wifi voip phones.
        • That sounds good, and I hope it happens. But who is going to produce a phone that generates no revenue for the telcos? Don't forget that Nokia, Motorola, and the other big handset manufacturers also make a bundle selling infrastructure equipment to wireless carriers. Do you think they are going to shoot themselves in the foot by producing a device that is free to use?
      • Re:who will win? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Nicholas Evans (731773) <OwlManAtt@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:30PM (#15297841) Homepage

        The problem here is not intellectual property law, nor is it our evil supermassive corporations. The issue is deeper than that; its the fact that capitalism has failed. We should just cut our losses and put an end to this miserable system before we're really screwed.

        I mean, come on. How do we get off blaming corporations for being too 'evil' because they want to exploit the politicians to keep their business models? The system is set up to encourage exploiting everything to improve their bottom line, be it illegal immigrants, the DMCA, or intellectual property stuff in general.

        Yes, I know. There goes years of good karma...but I really feel this way.

        • The issue is deeper than that; its the fact that capitalism has failed. We should just cut our losses and put an end to this miserable system

          Excellent. What's your alternative? Make sure to consider failure modes; when capitalism goes bad, you get overpriced cable service and silly restrictions on what you can do with your own property. When socialism goes bad, you get millions of people shot or starved to death.
        • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @02:36AM (#15299123) Homepage
          The issue is deeper than that; its the fact that capitalism has failed. We should just cut our losses and put an end to this miserable system before we're really screwed.

          Yes, let's jump out of the frying pan and into the fire (socialism, communism for example). Capitalism is not perfect, far from it actually. Considering all the alternatives that have been tried, capitalism is the most successful and still continues to be so.

          You are right about one thing however, something has failed. It's the people that have failed. They've failed to give a damn about their future. Such attitudes of complacency will destroy a civilization regardless of the forms of governance that it embodies.

          For freedom to succeed, we all must be ever vigilant!
    • Re:who will win? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tengwar (600847)
      Warning - I work for a telco in WiFi

      I know I've seen a lot of messages here pushing government-run WiFi. I think it's just repeating the mistakes of the past. We've spend 25 years getting away from state monopoly telephone companies (the US was an exception in this). I've yet to hear anyone say a good thing about their service - no, strike that, there was one case. The "New Scientist" once asked its readers for any positive comments on British Telecom, then the monopoly incumbent. A bottle of champagne wa

  • I currently use Agile Messenger [agilemobile.com] for IM on my t-mobile GSM phone (in the U.S.) -- banning that would suck, and using SMS to send IM msgs is the most braindead stupid idea ever, well, except if each one sent costs money and you are a mobile operator.
  • by Corvaith (538529) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:48PM (#15297641) Homepage
    I can understand banning VOIP. Not that everybody's going to like it, but it's at least rational. They're in the business of providing telephone service, after all. But I can't even imagine being online without having IM service running in the background, it's so central to how I work now. Why would you provide internet service and then ban that? Just because you get $.10 a text message, which nobody is going to be sending and receiving with a laptop anyway?

    It seems likely that a large percentage of the people who get this service will end up violating the agreement without even thinking about it, just because it's habit.
    • I can understand banning VOIP. Not that everybody's going to like it, but it's at least rational. They're in the business of providing telephone service, after all.

      maybe i don't understand the issue, but i see it like this: if you're using their phone, you're presumably paying them for IP services on that device, right? so even though voip is a "conflict" for them, you're still paying through the teeth for high-bandwidth IP functionality on the phone, right? so they'd still make money

      or is there somethi

      • Re:/me confused (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fabs64 (657132)
        As another poster pointed out, moving from a pricing model of 0.99cpm for phonecalls, to unlimited phone calls for 39.99 a month, is NOT cost-effective for the phone company.

        They want to sell you the mobile broadband AND still keep their existing voice carrier market, ie have their cake and eat it too.
      • Except that for telephone, you're probably paying them for a certain number of minutes, not unlimited usage. And for high rates for international calls, for example. They want you 'on the meter' when you're making phone calls. I would think, though I don't personally use it, that VOIP may also be fairly bandwidth-intensive, and they like to keep their usage down even while they tout just how 'fast' it is.

        IM, though, I don't use the same way I use text messaging, and wouldn't be even if I had a fancy phon
    • I can understand banning VOIP. Not that everybody's going to like it, but it's at least rational.

      About as rational and popular as the idea of banning the insertion of Music CDs into PC cd-rom drives.

      They're in the business of providing telephone service, after all.

      So? That's like saying Home Depot should be allowed to ban you from using the tools it sells to build things it sells assembled. ... I'm sorry sir, but before we sell you this hammer you have to sign this agreement stating that you won't use it to
    • Here's a fun little secret: You can change your phone to send SMS through someone else's gateway for free if you have internet access. At least, you can do this on motorolas. You need the Motorola PST service software, which is trivial to find (you can torrent it if you look around.) Check some cellphone forums to find an open SMS gateway. You'll still have to pay to receive text, but not to send. I found this information on some [unofficial] T-Mobile forum :)
      • Here in the UK you can simply change the SMSC setting on most, if not all handsets ever made. However, all the UK mobile networks block access to SMSCs other than their own, and it's been like that since the late 90s.
    • You're thinking in terms of the U.S., where text messaging is still relatively small potatoes. In GSM countries, where everybody can text everybody, regardless of provider, text message has been a big business for quite some time. In some poorer countries, texting is actually a bigger business than voice calls.

      It's unsuprising the T-Mobile would not want to support an application that's a free alternative to such a lucrative business. I do wonder how they hope to enforce the ban, however.

      • Why Verzion in the U.S. for $5 has unlimited SMS between Verizon customers. I know my daughter's bill for messages has dropped from $$$ per month to $5 and all her friends switched to Verizon to use this plan. I basically saved her allowance.
      • in the US you can send text messages to people on other networks just fine, the only complication was if you sent a message larger than the max size on the recieving network the results were unpredicatble, sometimes it would be split into two messages, other times the message was just cut off, not a problem now all the 88 char limit systems are gone AFAIK
  • by MoxFulder (159829) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:49PM (#15297644) Homepage
    Can someone explain this to me??? I read the whole article and I'm still not sure what super-3G is... is it an unlimited-use wireless broadband service? That's my best guess from the article but I'm still not sure... Can someone clue me in?

    I'm assuming T-mobile doesn't want to allow IM/VoIP because that cuts into their mobile phone business. Encrypted traffic, anyone?
    • I'm assuming T-mobile doesn't want to allow IM/VoIP because that cuts into their mobile phone business. Encrypted traffic, anyone?

      Sure, you can use a VPN of some sort to forward the traffic to another location, assuming you have someplace to send it, and then make your VoIP calls from there. However, you are probably not going to do all this on your phone. It's the same as CSS on DVD, it's no protection, but it does stop people from being able to just turn on a device and do what the MPAA doesn't want

    • Can someone explain this to me??? I read the whole article and I'm still not sure what super-3G is... is it an unlimited-use wireless broadband service? That's my best guess from the article but I'm still not sure... Can someone clue me in?

      "Normal" 3G is a technology which operates on the 2100mhz spectrum (in the UK) and in addition to services such as voice calls and SMS, it allows data connections of upto 384kbps.

      This so-called super 3G is actually called HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access); essent

  • by mathmathrevolution (813581) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:49PM (#15297648)
    TMobile says that they are doing this for business reasons up front. That's much better than inventing some legalistic bs about how blocking IM is a vital part of network security and war on terror.
    • Yeah, those kind of conspiracy theories are patented Slashdot material.

      If we let them take that, pretty soon they'll be telling Soviet Russia jokes and then our whole geek counter-culture could be in jeopardy of being hijacked by coorporate marketing groups.

      Eventually, we would have to listen trendy pop bands and participate in major sports and school dances just to maintain our anti-mainstream identity.

      Personally, I think I prefer ritualistic suicide.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:52PM (#15297665)
    I would like to be the first one to say this:

    *** Screw you, T-Mobile! ***

    I do whatever I want with my hardware. I won't let a company dictate terms to me. Period. I will either find some competitor of yours, or I will hack my way through your restrictions, thumb my nose at you, and help others do the same.

    I am not alone in this. Ignore these sentiments at your peril.
    • And you are? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:52PM (#15297922)
      Oh an Anonymous Coward. I'm sure T-mobile are quaking in their boots right now.

      It's their network, they can apply all the restrictions they like. You don't like it? Go elsewhere.

       
      • That really depends on what they are selling, I suspect they will advertise this as "Unlimited Internet" as so many other's do. Then I would have a problem with your thinking, they should not be able to make a statement that you get internet access if they block ports. Packet filtering I can kind of understand but port blocking means I can't go to my website running on 323. End rant.
      • Re:And you are? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
        "Oh an Anonymous Coward. I'm sure T-mobile are quaking in their boots right now. It's their network, they can apply all the restrictions they like. You don't like it? Go elsewhere."

        I however am not an anononymous customer...and while I may not be anybody special to them, my contract just came up and this is story is going to encourage me to take my services elsewhere (not that I needed another reason really...) and if enough people do the same thing, it will send a message.

    • I don't see the relevance of your post to this discussion; the mobile network equipment T-Mobile use (the hardware) to provide mobile data services does not belong to you, rather, it belongs to T-Mobile.

      If you're referring to the actual data card belonging to you, then sure. But good luck connecting to anything, let alone VoIP or IM, without using T-Mobile's own hardware.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:41PM (#15298646)
      "I would like to be the first one to say this:

      *** Screw you, T-Mobile! ***

      I do whatever I want with my hardware. I won't let a company dictate terms to me. Period. I will either find some competitor of yours, or I will hack my way through your restrictions, thumb my nose at you, and help others do the same."


      When I see these sorts of posts on Slashdot, I am amazed at the disconnect some people have from reality - you know, folks who complain about Netflix throttling their extremely heavy use, Comcast warning people about using a Terabyte of bandwidth monthly, etc.

      Do you just not get that T-Mobile is HAPPY when customers like you leave? You cost them significant amounts of money! For that matter, other T-Mobile customers (like me) will be happy to have you hop on over to Cingular or Verizon, since we're subsidizing you.

      When a money sink decides to stop patronizing a business, the company has to say the usual "we're sorry to see you go" platitudes; but behind the scenes they're popping the champagne corks.
      • Someday your house will burn down, you'll go to the insurance company and they won't accept your claim.

        You'll go to the judge and he'll say "I'm using the same insurance I don't feel like subsidizing you, live on the street."

        And the circle of capitalist apathy will be complete.
  • Since the telephone cash cow has died, I feel like the telecoms aren't coming around. This is great news! They still get to charge you for the connection, usually at a higher price, while someone else provides the service!

    More money and less work doesn't seem like it's enough for T-Mobile or Verizon. They want more. They want the right to prevent competition and continue charging customers for services that are completely free on today's Internet. This is so 1990's. I haven't heard an idea this bad since Be
  • SSH blocked to? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by disasm (973689) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:59PM (#15297705)
    Well as long as ssh isn't blocked they'll never know someone isn't using an IM/IRC client (thanks to naim/irssi/screen on a remote server).
  • What about the card? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tolldog (1571) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:02PM (#15297721) Homepage Journal
    I am interested in the cards that tmobile has to offer for laptops. I want an expresscard for my macbook pro. I have the sidekick and love it and would hate to have a mobile phone provider and a mobile data provider.
    They currently have an older pcmcia style card, but I have seen nothing about the next generation of cards. I would have thought enough vendors have the newer, faster standard on their laptops (mostly more professional level laptops) that the datacom people would follow suit.
  • The point of cards like this from the standpoint of the cell companies, is to enable business workers. They won't get away with outlawing VPN connections, and thus my own use of VoIP would simply transit the VPN. FOK THEM.
  • Sounds great to me! (Score:3, Informative)

    by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:10PM (#15297749)
    At 2.5x less than the market rate for such services, I'll subscribe and then tunnel my traffic via OpenVPN.
  • When you don't want to offer a service your customer wants, how do you pull that stunt off? By making sure nobody offers it.

    Over here, we pay by the minute. For cell as well as for landline. Why? Because no Telco ever offered a flat phone fee. Would we buy it? You bet. But you can only buy what is offered.

    No Telco will offer VoIP or IMs. That's where their money comes from, phone and SMS services. Allowing VoIP or IM on a flat data connection would kill their main source of income.
  • T-Mobile (Score:4, Funny)

    by Erik_the_Awful (675368) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:28PM (#15297830) Journal
    Get Less. :)
  • "Lock said. "Other organizations will come along allowing VoIP. Who do you think is going to win?'"

    I'm guessing it will be the one with the best marketing campaign.
  • by PrescriptionWarning (932687) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:11PM (#15297992)
    i can see how they can block ports to the AIM and other messenger clients, but what about the java (or whatever) web-based AIM Express?
  • I have no clue what I'm talking about in this realm of technology, but knowing VoIP and IM, perhaps T-Mobile is aware of their shortcoming on realtime application support over their new G3 data network?

    But overall, doesn't wireless companies make most money off business users making ridiculous amount of calls and charging them with surcharges and what not? VoIP would definietly cut them off from the cash cow?
  • No VOIP/No IM? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qazwart (261667) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:14PM (#15298006) Homepage
    I generally like T-Mobile. Unlike Verizon, they don't hobble the BlueTooth on their phones. I can upload and download files to my computer without using the network. I can take all the MP3s on my computer and use them for ring tones. I can use my phone to transfer files. Most importantly, I can sync my cellphone with the phonebook on my computer. Verizon makes all sorts of excuses why they can't let you connect your BlueTooth phone directly to your computer, but it mainly has to do with selling ringtones and charging you for sending pictures back and forth between your phone and your computer.

    Unlike ATT/Cingular, T-Mobile also haven't changed my terms of service multiple times without telling me, "extended" my contract without telling me, or charged me for things that are suppose to be included in my service. Last time I had ATT, they suddenly decided that my house was located in a "roaming" area and charged me 50 cents per minute for using my cellphone.

    At least T-Mobile is being pretty up front about the whole thing -- not allowing IM and VOIP is strictly a business decision. They've concluded that most business users aren't heavy users of IM and VOIP, and by not offering these services, they can prevent non-business users from signing up. I bet its more to make sure they don't oversubscribe the network more than anything else. Allowing VOIP and IM would probably more than double the number of people who'd want to sign up.

    I also find hope that T-Moble says this is not necessarily a permanent decision. If their customers demand it, they'll open up the service to VOIP and IM. I bet you they do this with in 12 to 18 months. Once the service gets going, and they increase the available bandwidth, they'll start to welcome non-business users.
  • Almost ironic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kwiqsilver (585008) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:44PM (#15298139)
    They're using voice over IP...on a phone line. Sure it's a digital data line, not a phone line per se, but it's almost ironc--VOIP on an analog modem, now that would be completely ironic (or is it moronic?).

    Why do people want to use VOIP to emulate a phone, when the phone has a built in phone? And why would they want to use an IM service when the phone has it built in?

    Sounds like somebody's prices aren't very competitive.

    • Even more ironic: most of the companies see running their services over IP as being the future. The technology is called IMS - it's an extension of SIP to the telco technical environment.
  • ...since King Canute tried to hold back the sea.

    Sorry T-Mobile, the tide's a comin' in!
  • Please remember (Score:5, Informative)

    by saikou (211301) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:13PM (#15298541) Homepage
    1. It's T-Mobile UK, not T-Mobile USA. Not yet, anyways. Web browsing with 3G speeds for 20 pounds a month? Goodluck finding that :) (eventually it probably will be available from T-Mobile USA but not yet)
    2. It's a business plan [t-mobile.co.uk]. If you look at a regular "non-professional" plan [t-mobile.co.uk] then you'll notice that even more restrictive full fineprint says:

    Minimum term contact and credit check applies. Compatible handset required. Fair use policy applies: Relax + web 'n' walk and Flext + web 'n' walk price plans provide unlimited internet surfing on mobile handsets in the UK. To ensure a high quality of service for all our customers, they are not to be used for other activities such as (but not limited to): modem access for computers, internet based video/audio streaming services, peer to peer file sharing, internet based video download and internet based telephony. If such use is detected, notice may be given, after which network protection controls may be applied which will result in a reduced speed of transmission.
    (emp. mine). Professional plan says nothing about "modem access for computers" (VPN) or downloads and such.
    Given how much talking on the phone costs in UK I'd say it's very clear why they don't want to allow VOIP. Texting is not that expensive but still provides a nice revenue.
  • Tmobile US (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pavera (320634) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:48PM (#15298669) Homepage Journal
    I personally love tmobile. Unlike all the other US carriers they actually let you get stuff done with your phone. I have their unlimited data plan, and while its not high speed, tmobile lets me hook it up to my computer as a modem, and it works fine for ssh sessions and limited browsing when I'm on the road or not in a hot spot. It's only $20/mo for unlimited data, Verizon charges $60/mo for unlimited data, and then to use the phone as a modem they charge another $30.

    I don't know how good actual "3G" is, is it better than verizon's evdo network? Is Verizon's evdo considered 3g or is it 2.5g?

    My point is, VoIP doesn't work over the evdo network, latencies are just too high, and call quality is horrible, also, you can't do any QoS over the link.. basically unless actual 3G is a whole lot better than evdo, VoIP wouldn't work anyway, so the fact that they are "disallowing" it is like someone saying "Don't jump a car off a cliff" its just not a good idea.

      Now, IM being outlawed is another story, but I use IM on my phone all the time in the US across their low speed plan... I think UK customers should get angry, but T-Mobile US seems much nicer, and is the best wireless carrier in the US as far as I'm concerned (been with Verizon, ATT, Cingular, Qwest, and Tmobile).
     
  • 2600 anecdote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eil (82413) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @01:40AM (#15299004) Homepage Journal
    The 2600 radio show, Off the Hook, regularly features a guy named Bernie S who calls into the show on his cell phone. They frequently discuss how voice quality of phones has dropped significantly as the cell phone networks went all digital and crammed as many conversations as they could into the smallest amount of bandwidth possible. Thus, like everyone else on a cell phone these days, Bernie's high-tech whiz-bang phone makes him sound like crap to everyone on the other end of the line.

    Evidently, his phone is one of these that you can connect to your computer and get high-speed Internet access. One day, he called into the show via Skype and they discovered that when using VoIP through the phone's Internet connection, the voice quality was FAR better than when he just calls with the phone itself. (I imagine it wasn't any cheaper, though.)

    Of course, after marveling at the voice quality, they went off into conspiracy theory land, but it makes you wonder what kind of service cell phone providers *could* be providing if they actually had an interest in providing any sort of quality to their customers.
  • by yoz (3735) * on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @08:57AM (#15300184) Homepage
    I've been on the lookout for a mobile data card in the UK ever since using a Verizon EVDO card in the US; it saved our arses at ETech [ora.com] when the network went down on the last day, and we had to demo our web service [ning.com].

    Up until now all the pricing for mobile data's been around 70 quid/month for 200MB, which is far enough from flat rate to make me worried about using it repeatedly. However, this is 20 quid for 2 gig, and that's fantastic. 20 quid is more than worthwhile insurance if I have to give even one demo a month - the fact that I can setup and get going with no futzing with local networks is a major boon.

    When I bought it they said I could use it for anything. I may pop over the road at lunchtime and give the T-Mobsters a grilling about these restrictions. Mind you, I really can't see how they'll enforce this; so many people have their IM client set to start automatically on boot and sign-on on network connection that it's going to be a major pain, and T-Mob deserve all the problems they get if they think they can enforce it.

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

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