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T-Mobile USA gets dicey about handset-based Internet usage

Brian White

If you're an avid T-Mobile USA data user (handset-based, that is), you may be aware that the GSM carrier has started to become very stingy in the last year or so on which pieces of software can have full access to the Internet (factory apps and browsers on branded handsets) and which cannot (all others). There have been quite a few knowledgeable T-Mobile users paying for the carriers' "t-zones" or "T-MobileWeb" handset browser service but then using third-party apps like Opera Mini, Google Maps and others to get 'full access' to the web and download larger and larger amounts of data. Well, rumor (and some proof) has it that T-Mobile caught on to this quite a while ago and has started blocking certain ports on its branded phones to disallow data access for just about all applications beyond the standard xHTML browser found on its phones and other T-Mobile-branded apps. The "port blocking" seems to be coming in regionally as well, as opposed to nationally. Nothing new about the concept, as all carriers cripple branded phones (some much worse than others). But here, it appears that T-Mobile wants heavier handset-based data users to upgrade to a $20 or $30 unlimited data plan instead of trying to get all that bandwidth from a $5.99 plan meant for light handset usage without third-party software. If you find that T-Mobile's only allowed ports and proxy won't work for you soon on its EDGE network, be prepared to be frustrated -- and then ready to make an upgrade (or carrier switch) decision.

[Thanks, Eric D.]

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