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Friday, May 12, 2006

T-Mobile loses the plot with Web 'N' Walk

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.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree. I saw their offer and was already in the process of checking out when I went back to check the deal again - because it is a right bargain compared to Three, Orange or Vodafone. I then read the T&C's, and stumbled on the restriction with regards to VOIP and Instant Messaging.

Needless to say I won't be going for the T-Mobile option. I have sent them some feedback using their website and pointed out how pretty much useless their service is without allowing VOIP and IM. If they're worried about VOIP and IM traffic flooding their network, they could simply put a separate cap of say 250MB a month on VOIP/IM within the existing 2GB cap.

Wim Hollebrandse

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should check T-Mobile new Price Plans for Web'n'Walk. I think you will find that they offer better solutions than any other network for voice or data services.

Anonymous said...

I just bought web n walk and after spending all night trying to get msn messenger to work I figured out why it didn't...if u want messenger to work DO NOT INSTALL the Communication Center software updates. I don't know what u features and tweaks u might be missing but whatever they are t mobile can shove 'em up their ass...use the software provided on the disc only and it should work

Unknown said...

I am so Angry right now. DAYS OF MY LIFE I WILL NEVER GET BACK. I thought my MSN Messenger was the problem as my Google Talk would still work. Then, when my torrent files wouldn't work - i kinda figured it can't just be a conincidence - did a search and found this page.

What the hell are they thinking? I would rather pay double and at least be able to use the internet to do the things i want to, rather than feel totally restricted with regards to what i'm able to do.

I could go on.

Anonymous said...

T-Mobile are barking, The Walk & Web tarif has a monthy data limit so talk of not wanting the networked flooded is crap, what is the difference with using my capped limit for browsing, IM or Skype.... NONE T-Mobile will roll out thier own IM and VOIP stuff soon and start charging us for that instead. I am not sure what the leagilty of T-Mobile snooping on our data is.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely anoying that they're doing this. I wasn't chuffed when I came accross that clause in the T & C

Oh and by the way guys it also prohibits:

'as modem access for a computer' or 'for peer to peer file sharing'. Ok for the second one they don't want sued.

For the first..........?

If I go for one I'll vpn tunnel through it with encrypted SSH connection so they won't know what I'm using. It'll also stop them snooping on my connection.

If any of T-mobile's marketing folks are reading this I'm *not* impressed.

Anonymous said...

Im currently usin web n walk via phone - i wont b switchin to it for my daily net use. T mobile are the biggest rip off merchents in existance.