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Thread: Well, I tried . . . . [SmartPhone data plan requirement]

  1. #1
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    Well, I tried . . . . [SmartPhone data plan requirement]

    FYI, here is the pertinent part of my letter to T-Mobile's president:

    Mr. Robert Dotson
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    T-Mobile USA, Inc.
    12920 SE 38th Street.
    Bellevue, Washington 98006-1350

    Re: T-Mobile Data Restrictions on Unbranded Phones

    Dear Mr. Dotson:

    I am writing to express my disappointment in my recent dealings with T-Mobile. It is a simple story, but because your employees invoked the Federal Communications Commission as the justification for the policy, I am contacting the FCC, too, to inquire further. It is one thing to make a business decision to deny a customer; it is quite another thing to say that you are doing so because the FCC requires you to do so. A copy of my letter to the FCC is attached.

    Here is the story: I have Internet access on my T-Mobile account. When my family was in England this summer, I bought my wife a new phone. Specifically, a Sony Ericsson W980. She needed a new phone, this one had a feature she liked (a Sony Walkman interface), and I knew that T-Mobile USA did not offer a similar phone. This phone was actually purchased with a prepaid account through your sister company in the United Kingdom. Because I knew it would be helpful, I also purchased an Internet data package for her to use. She put it to good use throughout our trip.

    When we returned home, I wanted to add an Internet package to her account with T-Mobile USA so she could do here what she did there. Because this phone is definitely not a smartphone -- in many respects it is identical to the Sony Ericsson TM506 that you sell (and which I personally use) -- I signed up for the $9.99 data plan, which you call "Unlimited Web" or "web2go." So far, so good. She began using it and liked what she could do. A few days ago she sent me a text message, saying that she was getting addicted to checking her email on her phone.

    Then everything stopped. She could no longer connect to the Internet. I checked her configuration and reset some things, but still no success. I knew that T-Mobile's Internet connection was working because I still had access on my phone. So I called customer service. The bottom line from your company: Because she had a non-T-Mobile USA phone, there was no way T-Mobile would permit the phone to connect at the $9.99 price. Not that technically it couldn't, because she obviously had been able to connect before. T-Mobile told me it would be happy to permit her phone to connect, but only at the smartphone data plan price of $24.95.

    Here was the outrageous part: It wasn't that T-Mobile did not want to offer the $9.99 plan on a phone such as my wife's; instead it was because T-Mobile could not offer it. And why not? Because the FCC mandated this. I spoke with a supervisor (Richard, Rep. I.D. #06xxxxx) to be sure I was hearing this correctly. Yes, the FCC mandated this policy. Obviously, with a government-required mandate, T-Mobile was powerless to do anything different. I suggested that if this was something T-Mobile was being forced to do, it could solve the problem by giving my wife the smartphone plan for the $9.99 price. I suppose I don't need to tell you that your employees had no interest in this solution.

    What I found most puzzling about this stated justification, was that it seems to run completely counter to the push by the FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, to free handsets from the control of the cell phone carriers. I have written to Chairman Genachowski to ask about whether what I was told was true. If not, I suppose it is a piece of evidence the FCC may want to consider as it plans its future policies.

    On a more personal level, T-Mobile has put me in a place that I would rather not be. My wife and I have been T-Mobile customers for eight years -- an eternity in cell phone time. I think I have upgraded only one of our phones once. Other than that, we've asked for no special favors from T-Mobile. No special deals. We still aren't asking for a break on price. If T-Mobile sold the W980, there would be no effort by T-Mobile to offer Internet access at a price higher than $9.99. In other words, there is no question that my wife's phone would not be considered to be a smartphone.

    . . . .

  2. #2
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    Here is the letter I wrote to the FCC:


    The Honorable Julius Genachowski
    Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street SW
    Washington, D.C. 20554-0004

    Re: Carrier Restrictions on Cell Phone Availability

    Dear Chairman Genachowski:

    I read recently that the Federal Communications Commission was considering whether it needed to adopt new rules concerning the restrictions that carriers were placing on the phones that customers could use on their systems. I have had an experience that adds to the information you are collecting.

    I will try to be brief. My cell carrier, T-Mobile USA, Inc., recently barred my wife's phone from being able to access the Internet because the handset was not sold by T-Mobile USA. The fact that it was sold by T-Mobile UK did not particularly matter. The shocking thing to me was that T-Mobile repeatedly told me that it had to do this as a result of an FCC mandate. In other words, it could not permit her to connect to the Internet because the FCC forbid it from doing so.

    There is one additional fact I need to add: Although the FCC barred T-Mobile from permitting this connection, if my wife would spring for the more expensive T-Mobile smartphone data plan (an additional $15 per month over the plan she was using), then everything would be fine and she could connect. In other words, the FCC only forbids carriers from permitting less expensive data connections for unbranded phones. A more expensive connection is apparently okay. I would ask you if this assertion by T-Mobile is true, but reading what I have just written sounds so absurd that I don't see the need.

    What is especially galling is that there is no question that if my wife had bought the phone from T-Mobile, the phone would be exactly the type covered by the data plan she successfully was able to use until T-Mobile cut her off. (The phone is a Sony Ericsson W980, very similar to the TM506 that T-Mobile sells. It is not a smartphone.)

    Given my recent experience, I hope that the FCC does come up with policies that get the cell phone carriers to open up their closed systems. As anyone who knows anything about cell phone usage around the world, our system has resulted in the United States being years behind almost every other industrialized nation in the variety of services and technology that is available. Although the United States created the modern cell phone, we have sadly been passed by Korea, Japan, China, Europe, and so on. I will be contacting my elected representatives shortly to urge them to support these efforts. A modern communication system is obviously essential to any nation that hopes to compete with other leading nations. The choice otherwise, is simply to be left behind.

    If you or your staff need any additional information about my experience, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.

    Sincerely,

  3. #3
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    And here is T-Mobile's reply:

    Dear Mr. ___:

    T-Mobile USA, Inc. ("T-Mobile") is in receipt of your letter . . . .

    Please note that you are able to utilize the internet feature on any non-T-Mobile device, as you are aware. However, please note that T-Mobile policy indicates that you can use only the SmartPhone features to access the internet from a non T-Mobile device. If you would like to add one to your account, you may do so by contacting Customer Care.

    Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at the address below. . . .

  4. #4
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    I see a "we appreciate your inquiry and regard all questions with the utmost respect. Please visit our website http://www.tmobile.com if you have any additonal questions.... Blah blah blah

  5. #5
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    so complicate ...
    why not simple to change your SE IMEI to a T-mobile dumb phone, not cost much! many UK shops provide the service.
    Then you are ready to go!
    Or just simple to buy Sony Ericsson TM506
    T-Mobile - the largest fake 4G network in Americas

    HTC HD2 Speed on 3G/HSDPA

    T-mobile 3G/H or Pharos 137

    My broadband speed


    My WM phone is the best GPS now, say good bye junk Andriod

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolPhone
    so complicate ...
    why not simple to change your SE IMEI to a T-mobile dumb phone, not cost much! many UK shops provide the service.
    Then you are ready to go!
    Or just simple to buy Sony Ericsson TM506
    You seem to think that T-Mobile can't see which IMEI is on their network. Not so. They can tell just exactly what you're using on the network.
    Moderator yahoogroups forum T-Mobile-US http://groups.yahoo.com/group/T-Mobile-US

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telekom
    You seem to think that T-Mobile can't see which IMEI is on their network. Not so. They can tell just exactly what you're using on the network.
    I think he's talking about hacking the phone so that the device registers on the network under a different IMEI number.

  8. #8
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    Wirelessly posted (HTC Touch Pro 2: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 8.12; MSIEMobile 6.0) T-Mobile_Rhodium)

    T-Mobile has IMEI monitoring all the time
    "my phone" on my t-mobile changed to touch pro 2 a couple days after I started to use it



    Optimum/Cablevision

  9. #9
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    yes, they monitor IMEI and insist my G1 is Nokia 6086
    Last edited by CoolPhone; 09-15-2009 at 07:02 PM.

  10. #10
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    Wink

    Whenever, I log into my account. It only shows one phone recognized, thats my moms. My two lines say please select phones and show a gray area.

    With my myTouch Slide 4G


    My Plan:
    Unlimited Loyalty for Families $89.99
    Add a line $39.99
    Unlimited Messaging for up to 5 lines $9.99
    PHP $7.99 x 3
    Preferred myTouch Unlimited Web $20.00

    T-Mobile Customer Since 8/8/2001!

    Follow me on twitter:
    http://twitter.com/cielomoreno127

  11. #11
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    Well I can attest that magenta does monitor imei's, I have an unlocked and debranded TM506(purchased from magenta) and unlocked Pharos Traveler 137 (definitely a smart phone). Originally had the 15 dollar data plan with unlimited text, I never had a problem with using my TM506 after unlocking. But the second I got my Pharos and through my sim in it, boom..no data at all only cell service, even though I had a 15 data plan. Magenta IMMEDIATELY recognized the phone as a smart phone. I tweaked apn settings every way imaginable.. no dice.

    So I had no choice but to get a smart data plan (34.99 unlimited data and text) Which only increased my payment by 10 bucks a month, so I can live with that.

    Using Motorola SBG 900



    Replaced my SBG 900 with Motorolas new Docsis 3.0 modem, no upgrade to my internet package! Blazing fast free upgrade!

    Get your own stylus fool..

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    This is B.S T-mobile is going down the drain, now i'm wondering if i should get the Moto Cliq outright or buy it subsidized, if there going make me get the 24.99 data plan..
    Past Phones
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    T mobile Dash-X2
    Iphone 2g 8GB X3

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telekom
    You seem to think that T-Mobile can't see which IMEI is on their network. Not so. They can tell just exactly what you're using on the network.
    This is true. Their network can see I have an iphone.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nas6034
    This is B.S T-mobile is going down the drain, now i'm wondering if i should get the Moto Cliq outright or buy it subsidized, if there going make me get the 24.99 data plan..
    Android phones seem to be the worst with grandfathered plans.

    My HTC Mytouch would not function with: $5.99 T-Zones, $19.99 Total Internet VPN (internet3), and $24.99 Smartphone data......no matter which APNs I used.

    In the end, I have downgraded my voice plan because I mostly text and use the web.

    Unbranded phones like the Google Ion are also a no go with <$25 plans

    The only option would be as CoolPhone does, and swap the IMEI with a T-Mo dumbphone, however the jury is out on whether that is legal, and Coolphone holds tight to his methods....

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nas6034
    This is B.S T-mobile is going down the drain, now i'm wondering if i should get the Moto Cliq outright or buy it subsidized, if there going make me get the 24.99 data plan..

    I guess what works for you is how you should proceed, I tend to go the unlocked, debranded route myself. I just cannot imagine being tied into a two year binding agreement for a filliping phone I'll want to replace in six months. The money is not a huge issue for me, I spend six bucks a day on coffee!

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