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back to article T-Mobile puts 'Full Monty' tariff on diet

T-Mobile's Full Monty package has come under scrutiny again this week, after the Everything Everywhere subsidiary silently dropped tethering from the tariff's list of 'unlimited' features. The operator today confirmed to Reg Hardware that it has removed tethering from the Full Monty package without announcement, withholding the …

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Anonymous Coward

I do like Three.

I'm quite prepared to put up with a poor signal... in my house, where there is a landline... in exchange for the best data plan in the country. The phone sits in the window when it's being a modem anyway.

Outside, where having a mobile signal actually matters, I haven't noticed a problem and I live on the arse end of nowhere as far as mobile signals go.

Seriously, what do T Mobile think smartphone owners use their phones for? And what's the difference between a gigabyte of youtube on the mobile screen versus a gigabyte of youtube on the big screen?

Profiteering fucks.

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Facepalm

Re: I do like Three.

Yes, I left T-Mobile for Three specifically because Three had "genuinely unlimited with tethering" but T-Mobile claimed at the time that "no one is ever going to give you that".

I don't use a huge amount of data, maybe averaging 2-3GB per month, but at times I can peek quite high for a week or two and these are generally the times when I am out-and-about and want to tether!

When out and about there are times (such as in a meeting) when someone I am with needs net access and either there is no WiFi in the location or there is a snag getting it going - at those times I never hesitate to let them tether to my phone... but without an unlimited-tether-allowed plan that would not be a good idea!

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FAIL

Re: I do like Three.

come and try 3 at my flat in watford and say that.

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Bronze badge

Re: I do like Three.

Um... well obviously there is no difference between 1GB by one method and 1GB via another.

But that's not actually how it works... when you're watching a 10 minute video on your phone, it'll use less bandwidth than when you watch a 10 minute video on your computer. In most cases. Like on YouTube, where the bitrate/version served up on one isn't the same as the other.

Similarly, when you visit many web sites (perhaps a majority of the popular ones) on your phone, you'll get a mobile optimised version (using less bandwidth) than when you visit on your laptop.

The simple reality is that using services on your normal computer will pretty much use more bandwidth than the eqiv on a mobile (yes yes there are exceptions etc etc, but in the real world where the majority of the customers will be...) so it is a bigger issue.

In theory, if operators just gave you a fixed allowance it wouldn't matter how you used it, so the tethering issue would go away. In reality they give allowances beyond what is sustainable if everyone (or more accurately "enough") people used it, making that a problem again. If they give lower allowances they look uncompetitive and the other operators play the same silly game. Punters demand "unlimited" (well some do, normally the ones who are responsible for many of the reasons unlimited stops being unlimited because the spirit of the concept is pushed a bit too far).

And so we end up with this sort of mess.

Part of the issue is that as usual we've played rock bottom pricing games. We went from per "MB" charges to "unlimited" and "1GB for £2.00" madness. Operators would have been better off sticking at some flat rate (say £2/GB) and that I would think reasonable. They would make money, usage would be better paid for, and nobody would have need to worry about tether or not tether.

So the summary is, it's not actually 1GB vs 1GB, it's lower usage (mobile) vs higher usage (PC/mac/etc), coupled with stupid decisions by operators and the usual minority who use as much as possible "because they can" and then spoil it for everyone else.

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Re: I do like Three.

"Profiteering fucks"?

You're free to go elsewhere; they're not making excessive or unfair profits afaik; the Full Monty package is still quite incredible; there may have been network-protection reasons not to allow tethering; it's not like this deal - which you either have got in which case you've got tethering, or you haven't got in which case you can choose another deal - represents some essential of life you're being deprived of like a mobile home in a disaster area, or petrol 100 miles from anywhere; they also would have been competing with a division in their own company: orange, who sell fixed broadband.

Yes so the quality of some offering in this case is being reduced, but only for future customers, if you feel so strongly about the essential nature of free tethering on dirt-cheap mobile plans, then set up your own mobile phone company else shut up.

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Re: I do like Three.

Furthermore... T-Mobile voice quality is twice the bandwidth, at least, of O2, who sound like some tinny 1970s transatlantic landline, and putting that under threat one in order to satisfy your insistence on free tethering sounds stupidity in the extreme.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I do like Three.

Yes I do want the tethering that I paid for when I bought the phone. If I start taking the piss and downloading terabytes over a mobile connection, then you can imply that I'm some kind of leech. Until then, a gigabyte is a gigabyte regardless of the machine used to download it, and you can stop wriggling around and pretending like it costs more to send the same amount of data.

Incidentally, did you know I can run bittorrent clients on my mobile device?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I do like Three.

Furthermore... I am quite free to go elsewhere, yes. I had the choice of T Mobile when I bought the phone. I took a look at the terms and conditions and available tariffs and thought:

What a bunch of profiteering fucks.

Then went to Three.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I do like Three.

I agree with Three being decent, but no signal at home...

I have a great data plan when I am away from home, at home I have a femtocell...

I've never had a speed issue, and I use it to stream media for 8 hours a week, I can drive down motorways for 4 hours and still get a signal most of the way to stream radio or let my kids use youtube/iplayer...

I can use Google hangouts just fine, and I get better speeds on it than I do on my landline at home!!!

the only time I have an issue is the odd blackspot..

I have no idea who has seen throttling on three, but I havn't..

I have used my mobile for a hotspot at work when the whole network has gone down, so we can keep working!

The reason the other networks struggle is they haven't invested in infrastructure, and are over subscribed, three is less subscribed, has a newer infrastructure and in general is very reliable,...

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Facepalm

Re: I do like Three.

"Yes I do want the tethering that I paid for when I bought the phone"

And you're getting it. New/non-existing customers aren't getting it, but they have the square root of fuck all reason to complain about - it's a service not being sold anymore, but existing customers are more than free to carry on using it.

If they were removing it from existing customers while still in the contract period, I could understand the steam coming from people's ears, but they're not. And if they did then you'll be more than able to exit the contract.

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Re: I do like Three.

You're really not all that free to go elsewhere. If you're six months into a 2 year contract and realise you're with a company you don't like or trust then you're stuck with it until the contract expires, unless you're prepared to pay £stupid for an early termination fee.

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Re: I do like Three.

I used to get no O2 reception in our old house in St Albans. Then I got nothing on Vodafone in our new place. I get plenty of signal from three though.

Always used to annoy the hell out of me that when I went to visit my brother in Kimpton I got no signal at all on O2 but every one else was full bars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re Termination fee

Yes, but if you don't need a new handset, you can just do a deal where you take the commission from the new contract and use it to pay off the old one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I do like Three.

"New/non-existing customers aren't getting it..."

What part of "when I bought the phone" didn't you understand?

Tethering is a function of the phone, not the carrier. This makes about as much sense as back when Blue Yonder had rules against running servers.. people broke the rules en masse because the rules were utterly fucktarded and not in line with how the Internet works. Blue Yonder backed down in the end.

Whether I tether or not has fuck all to do with the bit pipe. So long as I'm not taking the piss out of the limited-unlimited bandwidth allowance, they can fuck right off.

Let me clarify this for you: Neither T Mobile, nor any other mobile provider, have anything whatsoever to do with whether you use your phone as a NAT router. Trying to charge you extra for doing what you want with what you're paying for is as fucktarded as Blue Yonder's decisions, back in the day.

Need I say "profiteering fucks" yet again?

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Anonymous Coward

Tethering is a feature of the package?

I've been tethering for years on my standard T-Mobe tariff. I found it was a feature of my phone, not the pipe.

/anon, because.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tethering is a feature of the package?

Wiat until deep packet inspection and other techniques catch you out and you get a whacking great bill at the end of the month. Don't believe it could happen? Ask the US customers of AT&T or Verizon.

Charging people twice for the same thing? Om nom nom.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tethering is a feature of the package?

e.e or at least the orange side will definetly send you a big bill,they did to me.

thats why although 3 is almost unusable at my place,they only charge cheap price for provideing cheap crud service,others charge much more but service is'nt much better than 3's.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tethering is a feature of the package?

I too have had a T-Mobile SIM only tariff which includes unlimited internet for a number of years. I've often tethered (usually via bluetooth) and have never had any issues from T-Mobile.

In fact, I've ALWAYS had a ZERO data usage on T-Mobile's online billing platform (which I've found strange!).

Maybe T-Mobile have just forgotten about these "legacy" tariffs and what their users get up to!

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Re: Tethering is a feature of the package?

---Wiat until deep packet inspection and other techniques catch you out and you get a whacking great bill at the end of the month. Don't believe it could happen? Ask the US customers of AT&T or Verizon.

Charging people twice for the same thing? Om nom nom.-------------

unless its an iPhone or an Branded phone (3 do it) they cant really block tethering, T-mobile stating they are not allowing tethering does not matter as you can still tether any way (i got an PAYG iphone 12 month Sim in my laptop built in modem was not expecting it to work, same goes for dongles OK yes its Only 500MB an month but if you use that up you can still use it as it has Unlimited web use (256kb/s or 20KB/s) bit slow but i only use the laptop to do web looking)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tethering is a feature of the package?

"unless its an iPhone or an Branded phone (3 do it) they cant really block tethering"

Can't block, but can determine from usage patterns and send you a nasty bill for.

Profiteering fucks.

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Re: Tethering is a feature of the package?

So just VPN from your phone to a suitable end point and let them deep packet inspect all they like...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tethering is a feature of the package?

"Wiat until deep packet inspection and other techniques catch you out....."

Ummm, hyow are they going to do that when all my data goes over a VPN?

CyanogenMod Rules!

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FAIL

Surprise surprise

Slightly over 2 years ago I got a HTC desire from the T-Mob with a tariff that included, amongst other things, a 3 gig data allowance. Guess what happened less than 6 months in. Yes, that's right, the 3 gig allowance was suddenly going to be a 500 meg allowance. And could you get out of the contract due to them unilaterally changing the terms of a major component of it? Could you bollocks. Fortunately Ofcom intervened and forced a U-Turn, but for me the damage was done. All trust in the T-Mob was now dead, and the only thing keeping me on their service was the ball and chain the contract had tied me to. And then the HTC broke down and had to be replaced

I'm now on Three's 15 pound a month rolling contract and pay for the phone up fromt from the vendor. Cheaper, no data cap and can bail in a matter of days if they try pulling any unsavoury stunts. Also the phone isn't SIM-locked and isn't loaded with phone company crapware.

Those of you already on the Full Monty should count yourselves lucky that the T-Mob didn't try to apply the contract term changes to existing customers this time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surprise surprise

Note the smallprint:

"SIM plans with All-you-can-eat data do not allow tethering (except for the One Plan). If you would like to tether, you will need to choose a Pay Monthly plan and / or an Add-On that does allow tethering."

Taken from:

http://store.three.co.uk/SIM_Only/Voice_Pay_Monthly

and click "See plan details" for any of the all-you-can-eat ones.

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Re: Surprise surprise

Yeah I'm aware of that, but I don't use tethering anyway.

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Re: Surprise surprise

does not mean it not work (VPN bypasse 3 DPI tethering detector) if its an 3 Branded phone the phone is setup with 2 APNs bit harder to bypass as the Wifi and BT use the second APN (or the Phone reports to 3 thats its tethering and you get an instant your not allowed to tether page)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Small Print

Hence why when I bought the phone (outright, not on contract), I asked specifically for unlimited plans that don't play funny buggers on how you use what you're paying for.

£25/month rolling monthly SIM-only contract, unlimited Internet usage, 2500 minutes and fuck knows how many texts. Three are now basically my ISP. Some months I'll be lucky to download a gigabyte, other months it might be many times more. So far, no nastygrams or extra billing.

Not that there should ever be anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Small Print

I was shocked with my low usage actually when I checked my phone, i only used 3Gb last month....

The fact is Three do also have the fastest network in my experience... I switched from Vodafone purely because of speed, even if they could give me enough data allowance, it just is not fast enough...

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Re: Surprise surprise

That is exactly what happened to me also. After their attempt at shafting me in the middle of an existing contract, I lost all trust. When closing my contract at it's end earlier this year, I made it clear exactly why but not suprisingly, the agent I was speaking to didn't really seem to care.

What was interesting, was that even at the end of my contract, T-Mobile still couldn't (or probably wouldn't) confirm what the FUP limit was on my contract, even though I'd had a ticket open with them for months to investigate it. I suspect they still implemented some sort of change after all of the fuss but just didn't communicate it at all. Maybe I'm just being suspicous due to there previous actions?

Regardless, they won't be getting a penny of my hard earned money again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surprise surprise @leexgx

Exactly - I've used tethering numerous times when abroad on 3's £5 a day EuroPass. The iPad quite happily connected to the phone via WiFi and then was VPN'd into blighty. Watched Sky, BBC etc.etc.etc, very happily

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Flame

This kind of shite behaviour is the reason why I have not bought a phone on a plan for about........

.....the last 15 years. If I have to delay upgrading until I have saved enough to pay cash on the nail, then that is what I do. I shop around for the most advantages terms for my actual connection and that's it. The mobile phone producers may not be our "homies" but the carriers are definitely the enemy.

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Silver badge

Bait, switch, dump

What else does one expect. They are a telecom company.

Any company with such a large customer base will never see them as people, or have any interest in their individual complaints. They only respond to statistically observable movements, like large chunks of people dumping them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bait, switch, dump

trouble is,all of em build in quite a high churn rate so until vast numbers actualy ring disconnection dept and specificaly tell em why they are leaving nothing will change.

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FAIL

Re: Bait, switch, dump

"Bait, switch, dump"?

This change only applies to new customers, you know? The ones who are free not to buy the product?

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T Mob's User Forum

Mysteriously, not currently available.

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Anonymous Coward

Greedy Bastards....

... they all are.

Thats all.

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Tethering

How do they know when your phone is being "tethered"?

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Re: Tethering - one way to detect

Each tcp and udp packet that is sent out has a time to live field which is decremented every time it is forwarded on by a router. As a result the device that is tethered will have its ttl field decremented by one by the phone as it passes through the phone's router. Operating systems usually have a stable default ttl and as such once the packets hit the mobile network's routers there will be a mix of ttls either x and x-1 or x and y-1 from the phone's own packets and the device(s) tethered to it.

That's just one way to detect tethering from a network perspective.

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Re: Tethering - one way to detect

From apcmag...

"Carriers set three APNs -- data, MMS and tethering. In the telco's billing system, the data and MMS APNs are enabled on your account normally by default, but the telco will only let the iPhone connect to the third APN if you have 'bought' the tethering option from them [in Australia all the major telcos provide it free of charge but it won't necessarily be enabled on a SIM card that wasn't provisioned for iPhone use by the telco]. The iPhone checks if it can connect via the tethering APN and if it can, it will show you the tethering option. If it can't authenticate via the tethering APN then it won't show you the option."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tethering - one way to detect. @Mark 65

That's exactly the reason why the iPhone is pish for tethering (and why the Telco's love it)

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Re: Tethering - one way to detect

unless you are hotspot NATing in which case the TTL is reset at the NAT app. WIFI hotspotting via NAT is exactly the same as browsing to the phone. Only traffic monitoring would catch you out on that one, and with the advent of all sorts of weird mobile apps that connect to the internet it would need a ballsy bloody-sure monitoring program to catch you out.

Effectively the NAT app will make all the calls to the "internet" via your phone, your phone appears to have an application going on the internet - no different from a mobile game downloading content or even an app such as "steam" on your mobile communicating with servers. WIFI hotspotting apps are much better than USB tethering for this reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tethering - yes works great on everything except iPhone....

because as in many other areas, the iPhone is deliberately crippled in order to extract even more money from the customer.

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Anonymous Coward

three really are quite good

I've been on the One Plan since march last year, each month since then I've clocked up about 25Gb to 30Gb a month via tethering my home network. I get speeds around 600kb/sec when phone is placed by a top floor window.

Never a peep of complaint from 3 about my admittedley high usage - I get really good value out of the One-plan.

Nasty, villainous T-Mobile, lure people away from a good deal and then renege on their promises - smells like bait-and-switch false advertising to me.

Or they may have an a serious infrastructure issue yet to be remedied - maybe never fixed and then forgotten about after the go-live date of their LTE network?

Or just incompetent, or just plain greedy.

anon

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Anonymous Coward

Re: three really are quite good

yeah,thats great for you,but i am on same tariff as you and i cannot move 25gb of data in a YEAR round here,so basicaly i am subsidising your use.

three reckon the network is fine in this part of town,no probs anywhere,but you just cannot move much data on any device,we get visitors to try at my place on purpose so that three cannot blame even a class of device let alone any single device as being faulty.it does no good though,3 dont have the cash to even send engineer round to actualy do field test.

nearest 3 transciever is 1200 yds away and is in direct line of sight,even out in garden you would be lucky to get reliable,steady signal,even though 3 reckon i sit bang in middle of signal lobe.

so yes,3 can be great,but they can be even worse than most others sometimes and dont even get me started on their wonderful indian customer and tech support.

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Re: three really are quite good

some phones have external antenna sockets. See if you can get a cable for your phone and use a better antenna. You can buy a galaxy S2 cable for sure (dont bodge one, it is a special connector!)

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Anonymous Coward

Meanwhile, in another country ..

.. we had the largest provider just switch the majority of their offering to unlimited data, with the only difference between the packages being the available bandwidth. In the right area (city) it is so good, Skype is better than via WiFi. All the other companies are now scrambling to match the offering as customers are abandoning them.

I now pay the equivalent of about £70 for unlimited data and free calls to all networks (landline and cell), and on top of that 30 mins international calls (including FROM abroad) - that gets better with the more expensive packages.

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Re: Meanwhile, in another country ..

"I now pay the equivalent of about £70"

A Month?

em kcuF

I've got line rental (BT tax), 24Mbps broadband, free calls & 3 mobiles with plans for less than that.

Oh, forgot, I also don't pay to _receive_ calls, regardless of where they're from.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meanwhile, in another country ..

google fibre?

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Gold badge

I'm wondering, isn't this more to manage demand (and make a fast buck, of course, why pass up the opportunity)? In London I've heard rumours the mobile networks are pretty near saturation..

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Anonymous Coward

I can confirm on recent visits 5-bar signals with f*ck-all data transfer, if that helps.

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