I'll confess: I've actually been pretty positive about T-Mobile recently. It seemed to be the only operator that truly understood that between the dreaded "dumb pipe" and unrealistic "full-service content provider" models, there existed a practical and potentially profitable middle-ground of value-added "smart pipe".
"Smart pipes" give good Internet experience. Think high speed, reliability, good data coverage, maybe managed security, perhaps mobile VPNs in future, WLAN/cellular integration, hosted anti-virus/anti-spam, all that sort of stuff that good fixed-line IP connectivity providers offer. It might not be sexy, and you have to invite lots of boring network & software people to your company Xmas party, but it's probably the way forward.
I've even got an MDA Vario on Web 'n' Walk from T-Mo UK myself. Seems to work quite well, even GPRS - and has a relatively sensible data tariff.
And now this: on its new laptop-centric service, the T's and C's explicitly prohibit "Voice over Internet Protocol and Messaging over Internet Protocol". So if you dare to use MSN Messenger, or Yahoo! , you're stuffed, let alone Skype or an enterprise-based IM client.
There are so many patently idiotic things about this that it's amazing.
Firstly, it means that as soon as T-Mobile deploys an IMS core IP network it's immediately guilty of hypocrisy. That's assuming it isn't already using IP somewhere in its voice transport network anyway.
Secondly, it doesn't appear to define "messaging over Internet Protocol" very well. Well, that'll be email knackered then, won't it? Or using an SMS/MMS gateway.
Thirdly, isn't this one of the companies that would like us to trust it to be the owner of our content, address database and maybe even bank card in the future? What happens next?
"I'm sorry, but we've detected that you've downloaded music from iTunes over the network. We therefore terminate your T-Mobile Music Account & SIM Card, and all your temporarily-leased content is now forfeit"
"Hello, this is the T-Mobile Mobile Banking and Credit Card Service. We detected phone calls to HSBC and American Express from our pipe, er sorry our phone. Your account is terminated and we're sending you a fine for this letter".
And fourthly, it shows that it's clearly "Web 1.0 'n' Walk" and that the company doesn't get Web 2.0. What happens if someone's Myspace web page has a voice component in it in future? What happens if eBay fires up a Skype IM window to bid on something? If I stream poetry rather than concert music over the connection, does that count as VoIP? And for business use, what happens if I use Microsoft's Office Communicator on my laptop, or various other corporate packages which blend VoIP with something like salesforce automation or CRM?
I think I may have overestimated T-Mobile's company's vision. Someone's clearly been smoking some sort of pipe, and it's certainly not a smart one.
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