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T-Mobile Bans Others' Apps On Their Phones 349

cshamis writes "T-Mobile has recently changed their policies and now tell their customers with appropriate data plans and with Java-Micro-App-capable T-Mobile phones: no third-party network applications. You can, of course, still use their incredibly clunky and crippled built-in WAP browsers, but GoogleMaps and OperaMini are left high and dry. Would anyone care to speculate if this move is likely to retain or repel customers?"
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T-Mobile Bans Others' Apps On Their Phones

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  • They won't care (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Buran ( 150348 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:37PM (#18161150)
    They'll just see the flashy commercials and cheap phones and cheap prices and they'll snap up what they're force-fed without realizing they can do better. Face it. People (in general) are stupid in the USA.
    • Re:They won't care (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zaurus ( 674150 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:40PM (#18161194)
      Stupid people live outside the US too, you insensitive clod!
    • Re:They won't care (Score:4, Interesting)

      by arodland ( 127775 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:41PM (#18161216)
      Agreed. I was looking at an industry mag recently, and they printed a poll of cell phone users concerning churn. Basically the questions asked were: Who is your provider, are you considering leaving them in the next few months, and who are you thinking about moving to? Do you know who had the lowest "considering leaving" numbers and the highest "considering moving to" numbers? Verizon. Apparently the average Joes really like their crippled phones and their single-source philosophy.
      • Re:They won't care (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skater ( 41976 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:50PM (#18161314) Homepage Journal
        Yeah, pretty much. I don't really care that I can't run the latest gee-whiz app on my phone, and have all the potential security issues and all that crap. I have one app installed: Tetris. I stick with Verizon because I've had very good luck with their coverage over the years. That is, after all, the main point of a cell phone: it can make and receive calls wherever you go.
      • Re:They won't care (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:00PM (#18161430)
        I'm a T-Mobile customer, but many of my friends and family use Verizon because they have the most complete network and the best customer service.

        While I am a geek and like my phone to do tricks, most people just want to talk and text message. That doesn't make them idiots.
      • Re:They won't care (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tomz16 ( 992375 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:36PM (#18161814)
        To the parent, there's a reason for Verizon's numbers looking so good...

        I hate the crippled nature of verizon phones as much as the next guy, but simply can't look past the fact that my phone is fundamentally there to place and receive calls reliably. No other network I have tried (and I HAVE personally tried all of the other ones) even comes close to Verizon's coverage in the Northeast. And it's not just average joe blow... Easily 95%+ of PhD's and PhD students I know have verizon service...
        • Plus, if you're willing to work for it, you can flash to another provider's firmware to get rid of all that bull shit Verizon puts (or rather, doesn't put) on their phones. This is what i plan to do with my Verizon RAZR, which i will be getting as a free upgrade next month. Horrible firmware on their phones, lately, but the coverage is great where i live and (so far) so is their customer service.

      • Apparently the average Joes really like their crippled phones and their single-source philosophy.

        Damn straight, if Joe Sixpack was interested in having a PDA he would have gotten one. Honestly I use Verizon and have had GOOD experience since I got a non-LP phone (went with the samsung flip phone, I know 2 other people with it and they all love it, as do I). Not everyone wants a 'smart phone' (any device with 'smart' in its name is instantly not smart).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Radon360 ( 951529 )
      Not at first, but when their contract is up, the "stupid people" will just change to the next most appealing provider (at the time) that offers a flashy phone.
      • by kelnos ( 564113 )
        And what's wrong with that, really? I use my phone for two things: making and receiving calls, and (reluctantly) text messaging. If another carrier is going to offer me a better price to do exactly what I want to do (and likely give me a free shiny new phone), why shouldn't I switch? I don't care about my phone's ability to run other applications, phone-company-"blessed" or otherwise.
        • Absolutely nothing at all. The point is, some people will indeed judge a book by its cover, and others simply don't care, as they are just using the book to prop up that dresser with the broken leg. There is a sizeable group of customers that will buy into a company's service, uninformed, because the marketing people did their job. However, you are also correct in that there exists a fairly sizeable percentage of customers who simply don't care about anything more than making and receiving calls, as tha

  • Seems T-Mobile might is trying to act the evil (/good depends on point of view) sys-admin here.

    I guess some people will like that, and it will probably increase security for the phone, third party network applications would include all kinds of malware if I understand it correctly.

    Anyhow the problem with "sys-admins" is that if they start bothering the boss because he can not play whatever little game used to play and things like this they don't last for long in the job.
    Only problem is that costumers are no
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      When will these morons learn. Open platforms would bring them more money in the long run. The PC industry is a prime example. Imagine if the PC were still as proprietary as Apple's Macs used to be. We'd all be living in the Stone Age still.

      That said, T-Mobile has never been at the top of anyone list. They have a long history of being stupid and even a name change didn't fool most people with an IQ above a door nail.
    • by Reaperducer ( 871695 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:37PM (#18161848)
      This looks a lot like blogspam. The only form of "proof" is just a link to some guy's blog. No official T-Mobile link to the policy. Not even a supposed quote from a customer service rep on the phone. And I just tried and had no problems using OperaMobile and five other third-party apps on my phone (M600i) with T-Mobile service.

      The Slashdot posting should be rescinded. It's not accurate, not backed up by any proof, and appears to be just a ploy to get page views.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jmc ( 4639 )
        Agreed. I just tried Google Maps on my k790a, using the cheapo $5.99/month internet plan, and it's still running great. Same with the built-in NetFront browser, which I'm sure qualifies as a 3rd party app since it's an unlocked phone.

        Not sure what the article's going on about, but it's apparently a non-issue for me. Which is a huge relief, as I just bought the phone and plan a few weeks ago.
      • by ygslash ( 893445 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @10:28PM (#18162324) Journal

        This looks a lot like blogspam. The only form of "proof" is just a link to some guy's blog. No official T-Mobile link to the policy. Not even a supposed quote from a customer service rep on the phone. And I just tried and had no problems using OperaMobile and five other third-party apps on my phone (M600i) with T-Mobile service.

        Nope, it appears to be real. Here are some comments from the blog:

        • I have gotten this confirmed by T-Mobile corporate. I have a tester SIM that has access to everything, and the applications are locked out in the new handsets I have been testing this week. You may have an older handset, before this insidious policy spread. I used to tout T-Mobile for their liberal policies on third party program installation, and I'm very disappointed in the change.

          This is a feature phone problem. No carrier, not even Verizon, dares forbid application installation on smartphones such as Blackberries, Windows Mobile phones, or Treos.

        • The phone that drove me nuts was a Nokia 6133, and I think the point that it's subsidized is bizarre; letting people use Opera Mini would increase, not decrease, T-Mobile's revenues by encouraging people to sign up for data plans. T-Mobile is shooting themselves in the foot by crippling the development of the third party software industry, lowering demand for mobile data.

          As several posters have said, they make money on the data plans, not on the phones - so why prohibit applications that would get people to demand data plans?

          Subsidies also seem to be a smokescreen here. If you go to a T-Mobile store and buy a Nokia 6133 at full retail, mid-contract, Opera Mini is barred. If you go to a Nokia store and buy the same 6133, inserting the same T-Mobile SIM, you have no problem.

          And I need to repeat - this isn't about smartphones. I'm not talking about the SDA, the Blackberry, or whatever. I'm talking about feature phones, which could be dandy computing platforms if the carriers weren't so hostile.

        • THIS IS TRUE REPORTING! I recently bought a Samsung Trace (T519) and installed google maps. It didn't work, and after about 12 nonstop hours of research I found out that their applications are all digitally signed (VeriSign) and will block out the permissions menu for the network access, thus resulting in the application not being able to connect itself to the internet. The ONLY SOULUTION to this problem is to buy the Firmware Flash cable, download the Flashing software from the phone manufactures website, (and the real tricky part) then find the ORIGINAL firmware to flash to the phone. Of course your going to have to manually set up your T-Zones (webaccess address and port) and a few others, but it will unlock ALL the features of the phone so you will be able to use the phone fully. It's a tricky process, and you need to make sure your not using a T-Mobile "Branded" firmware update. There are many independent phone gurus out there that edit firmware and release it themselves with all features unlocked. If you use a T-Mobile Branded firmware, you'll waste money and time to be exactly where you are right now.

          IE... Cingular's D807 and T-Mobile's T809. They are the same phone, same display, memory card slot, ect... However, T-Mobile's phone has limited features compared to Cingular's. The D807 has voice activation and a few other bells and whistles. This isn't the phone's hardware, it's the firmware.

          In short, get yourself the syncing software & cables and a fresh Firmware update and you will be able to run any app. Right now Cingular doesn't limit 3rd party software, so if you have to, use one of their Firmwares and then tweak your port settings and you'll be free and clear of the holdups of horrible T-Mobile.

      • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) * on Monday February 26, 2007 @10:35PM (#18162382)
        There's quite a few angry T-Mobile users out there over this. Just because T-Mobile hasn't released an "official" word on the matter doesn't mean it hasn't happened. And yes, I do use T-Mobile and this restriction only just recently became active in the central Florida area. And also yes, I know T-Mobile isn't *just* in the US, but we're talking about T-Mobile's service in the US. So, if it's working for you over in Europe, that isn't very relevent, sorry.

        Of course, you can easily prove that the story is true yourself. Ask a friend who lives in the areas where this has already taken effect, has T-Mobile and only pays for the $5.99 plan if he/she can still access anything with Opera Mini. I'll bet you $5.99, he/she can't.
        • by Reaperducer ( 871695 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @10:56PM (#18162528)
          Howardforums contains two threads related to this. One is just another piece of blogspam with a link to the same blog as the Slashdot submission.

          The other is a thread about how T-Zones is now giving people what they pay for. When you signed up with T-Zones you were told web and e-mail. T-Mobile let some other data through in some other markets. Now they're expanding their restrictions in what appears to be an attempt to make all markets the same.

          So, T-Mobile enforcing the restrictions you agreed to when you signed up for T-Zones service is the same thing as T-Mobile disallowing third-party apps on cell phones? Not even close.

          Sounds like you're mad because you finally got caught and you're trying to make this into something it isn't.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      The solution is to use a unlocked phone on T-mobile. Esp if you have the firmware modified to ignore their tricks and attempts. A buddy of mine did that for his Razr and also did it for mine right after he unlocked it.(I am on AT&T/Cingular/AT&T)

      you can keep them from screwing with your phone or forcing updates. it does make it a pita when they change the internet settings so you have to go hunting online because the customer service reps dont have a clue as to what you are talking about.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I have a T-Mobile Dash and I live in the LA area. Google Maps stopped working over the weekend, and, strangely enough, even Internet Explorer isn't working(?!) The only thing that does work is getting email.

      The sweet thing about T-Mobile was having Google Maps and an Internet connection (nearly) all the time for just $5.99/month. Now I can't even browse the Internet? Lame. Super lame.
  • by moria ( 829831 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:39PM (#18161190)
    Now it's the time switch to Cingular, and get and iPhone, to continue using my 3rd party applications. oh wait...
    • IPhone does have nice intergrated map support. This is likely to be a trend in part to protect their hardware and network as well as to protect profits of their own products that the other apps might compete with. I think the iPhone is positioned well to eventually accept 3rd party desktop apps. It may be a generation or two but I think people are radically underestimating the potential of the iPhone. The primary limitation will be CPU power since they are stuck using lower power chips to extend battery lif
    • Oddly enough most people use cell phones not to run apps but to... Talk to other people... I don't the T-Mobile ban will do much, for the bulk of the population. Mostly because they seem to have better pricing, for use of a telephone. I just recently switch to Cingular Because I could save $10 a month over Verizon, and has the same coverage. I was looking at T-Mobile but they had bad coverage in my area, so I didn't go with them. If they did have good coverage and I still read this article I would prob
      • by fm6 ( 162816 )

        I recently switched to Cingular because their phones are a lot more open than the competition. So there's nothing stopping third parties from writing applications that (for example) sync your phone with your Palm PDA and/or Desktop.

        Did I say "nothing"? I meant "nothing technical or legal". There's only a couple of applications out there that do this sort of thing, and they're both crap, obviously written by some inept hacker in his spare time. I guess the market for this sort of thing isn't big enough to

  • ... all of whom will be cottage-industry entrepreneurs whose business plans called for them to get a 10% share of the market for third-party applications running on T-Mobile phones.
  • Well crap (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
    I was really thinking of going with T-Mobile because the are supposed to have the best customer support. Oh well they are off my list now.
    Sprint has been pretty good for me I guess I will probably stay with them.
    • Sprint does the same thing and you need to pay more to use your own phone to cover the cost of not using sprints own apps.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Radon360 ( 951529 )

        Sprint does the same thing and you need to pay more to use your own phone to cover the cost of not using sprints own apps.

        Strange. Sprint never charged me a red cent more for downloading and using Google Maps. I do have an unlimited "Sprint PCS vision" plan, though. If you don't have this, you'll pay a penny a kB no matter who's content you use.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by pandaba ( 38513 )
        Not true at all. Not only does Sprint not charge more, but they have a completely open policy towards 3rd party apps. The only thing they'll do is nag you when installing a new app with a warning that this might be dangerous. Other than that, there isn't any impediment.

        And there's no attempt to lock down bluetooth. They tried locking it with one of their first BT-capable phones but then they did something very surprising for a cell phone company: they listened to customer complaints and offered a firmware u
      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
        No they don't I have Opera and Google maps loaded on my cell but I have been charged.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm posting AC because I'm pretty sure my job officially requires me to "support our partners." Basically, I work in a tech support field where I deal with reps from pretty much all carriers in North America.

      I can't vouch for all areas, but at least in terms of tech support for what I work with, T-Mobile is undeniably awful. They neglect basic steps that a first-day-on-the-job trainee at my workplace would know off by heart, routinely plunk customers into our call queues (which have zero hold time) witho
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dwillden ( 521345 )

        T-Mobile and AOL are owned by the same parent company

        Since when? AOL is part of Time Warner, T-Mobile is the US branch of Deutsch Telekom. Now while DT did or does manage the AOL Germany service, AOL is not part of T-Mobile.
    • TFA explains that this feature lockdown only applies to new T-Mobile phones with new firmware.

      Get your phone somewhere else & you'll have no issues.
      • Why buys phones from the carriers anymore, anyway? Certainly not the Slashdot crowd, which is the sort of person this would affect most. This isn't 1987 when you're locked into some analog carrier's bag phone. Go on the internet or to the corner (non-carrier-owned) store and buy what you want that matches your carrier's technology.
  • by core_dump_0 ( 317484 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:42PM (#18161228)
    1. Piss off your customers
    2. Lose them to competitors
    3. ?
    4. Profit!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Close.... more like: 1)Piss off those customers that make full use of their data plan, so actually end up costing the company which severely oversold their services. 2)Lose them to competitors 3)Have lower costs 4)Profit!
    • In the case of telecomm, this is less of a joke than you would think as far as I see things.

      The infamous step 3 in this case is "have competitors do exact same thing" so you have indirect collusion which leads to rotating customers back and forth. The company which repelled the client gets an LTCC out of many cases, while the competitor gets a "new business" metric. All they have to do then is delay their deactivations enough that new activations outweigh them so they appear to be flourishing.

      It seems to be
    • Here, let me fill that in for you:

      1. Piss off your customers
      2. Lose them to competitors
      Save on support and usage costs, now that your most expensively eccentric customers are a burden on your competitor's network instead of your own.
      4. Profit!

      Have you ever wondered why so many tech-related service organizations, like ISPs, have such geek-hostile policies? It isn't all incompetence, some of them really *are* asking us to take our business elsewhere.

      These companies make their money on averages. The avera
  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:45PM (#18161258) Homepage Journal
    Testing some T-Mobile phones recently, I once again ran into T-Mobile's annoying policy of banning third-party applications from accessing the Internet on their phones. Like so many infringements on our liberties, this started stealthily with a few devices but now covers their entire product line.

    Geez... has the author considered calling them up trying to get out of his contract or if he doesn't have one, to simply cancel and move to another carrier?

    What's that? T-Mobile's data plan costs less? Sounds to me like one is gettign what one paid for.

    Infringements on our liberties. Puh-leez.... Yeah, I rate this right up their with warrantless wiretapping by the government.
    • Well to some degree it is. The whole idea that a service contract can be modified by one party at any time, without consent of the other party, is a little rediculous sounding (to myself, who has no idea about contract law really).

      I do agree with you in that the author's tone was a little melodramatic.
      • If you are polite and persistent, you can usually get out of a term contract if some significant underlying functionality changes during the term.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tintivilus ( 88810 )

      What's that? T-Mobile's data plan costs less?

      Except it doesn't. I just switched from T-Mo to Cingular solely based on their data plans, so the pros and cons are pretty fresh in my memory. T-Mo is $29.99 monthly for GPRS/EDGE internet *AND* Wi-Fi (they're an inseperable bundle now), where Cingular is $19.99 for GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA internet. T-Mo's $5.99 T-MobileWeb or whatever is proxied crap; it doesn't even support HTTPS, so no online finance. Cingular's cheapo ($19.99) service comes with a Thou Sha

      • It's been a while since I looked, but isn't Cingular's $19.95 plan capped at some max number of bits/month versus T-Mobile's $29.95 being uncapped?
        • by cgenman ( 325138 )
          It wasn't capped when I signed up, though that was promotion for their 3g line.

          I would assume there is actually *some* cap way, way up there, but I've never seen it.

  • doesn't matter (Score:3, Insightful)

    by igotmybfg ( 525391 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:47PM (#18161280) Homepage
    The people who know better can fix their phones (most of you probably unlocked your phone already, or bought it unlocked from a third party). The people who don't, don't care anyway.
  • by straponego ( 521991 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:49PM (#18161310)
    Maybe a single buggy application on their phones can take down their entire West Coast network, like the CEOs of Apple and Cingular claim of their combination. Hey, also, since Mr. Jobs claims that iPhone is OS X, and any third party applications will crash iPhone, is it true that any third party apps will crash OS X?

    I mean, the only alternative is that they are lying, greedy scumbags, and I wouldn't want to think that about anybody.

    • Maybe a single buggy application on their phones can take down their entire West Coast network,

      Speaking as someone who used to do QA for mobile radio networks: yes, it is entirely possible that a single rogue application (running on thousands of handsets) can take out your data network. Bandwidth is not infinite, as those who've tried making a call or sending a text message at 12:01am on 1 January in the middle of a park with 100,000+ people in it can tell you.

      My reaction, from the Engineering Dept "w

    • My guess is that the clause is simply in the TOS so that, if a buggy program messes up a user's phone, they can simply say "Sorry, you're no longer covered".
  • Does this constitute one of those material changes to the service contract that lets you cancel early without a termination fee?


  • .. thanks. now I am going to start looking at a new provider...
  • by umbrellasd ( 876984 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @08:59PM (#18161416)
    Sure, I'll speculate my foot up T-Mobile's monopolistic ass. How's my speculation now?
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )
      How is T-Mobile "monopolistic"? They are the smallest of the four major US carriers. And the smaller of the two GSM carriers. They don't hold a majority position in the market no matter how you slice it, let alone a share that would be considered a monopoly.
  • Now if I had known that two weeks ago I wouldn't have signed up for another 2 years. Thanks a lot. Really, that's just awesome. Explains why I've been getting a run around from tech support. It took three emails to get them to understand I wasn't talking about blocked ports but their stupid firmware java/network access restrictions.
    • by dada21 ( 163177 ) *
      This is FUD. T-Mobile branded phones NEVER supported Google Maps or Gmail for Mobile. Just buy a non-T-Mobile branded phone (unlocked of course) and all the apps work fine.

      I have an HTC Trinity P3600 and I use GOogle Maps (with GPS!), Gmail for Mobile, and Skype and it works flawlessly.

      Slashdot editors don't understand the difference between a T-Mobile branded phone and a real unencumbered phone.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by amRadioHed ( 463061 )
        Up until last week Google maps and Gmail both worked on my T-Mobile branded phone. Now they don't. No FUD, they really didn't just start blocking this stuff.
  • by SnappyCrunch ( 583594 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:05PM (#18161490) Homepage
    ...and as of right now, Google Maps still works.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cortense ( 75925 )
      I have a BlackBerry 7105t with T-Mobile (branded, and not unlocked or patched). I haven't been able to get OperaMini to work (ever), but GMail and GoogleMaps still work fine for me...
  • by Afecks ( 899057 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:06PM (#18161512)
    I hope no one from Sprint is paying attention but using a PPC-6700 on a plan with unlimited data access but no extra "modem tethering" plan it's still possible to use your phone as a dial-up modem. This frees you up to use your laptop on the internet anywhere in their coverage area without an extra card or extra cost. Nothing beats a full size browser with Javascript. Verizon sells the same phone as the VX6700 but from what I hear they had a firmware update that "fixed" it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cascino ( 454769 )
      That's possible on any Sprint PCS Vision phone, using the *777 (PPP) code and a USB adapter. It's THE reason why I'm still with Sprint.
    • $40/month for unlimited data, on top of your normal voice plan (so talking about $70-80/month total with a reasonable amount of minutes). However the phone itself (PPC6700) will run any app that works on Windows mobile and it works as a modem. Vista recognises it as a modem as soon as you plug it in (XP needs drivers). Had the plan for a while on work's dollar but I really didn't make enough use of it to justify it.

      Also should be noted you don't have to pay for ringtones, wall paper and such with the 6700 a
  • I just switched from Verizon to T-Mobile three weeks ago to get away from bullshit like this. Fuck them. I though they were supposed to be the US carrier that sucked the least, now who can you go to?
  • Would anyone care to speculate if this move is likely to retain or repel customers?
    Was that question at the end of the submission really necessary? I mean, this is /. Unless you're new here, you already know that /.'ers steadfastly approve of being able to run third party apps on their phones and will spur any carrier who states otherwise.

    So... I guess this means that T-Mobile is on the /. blacklist, too...
  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:11PM (#18161562) Homepage Journal
    Sascha Segan (author): "Tony, I maybe didn't make clear enough that this is a feature phone problem. No carrier, not even Verizon, dares forbid application installation on smartphones such as Blackberries, Windows Mobile phones, or Treos."

    Um, this isn't quite the sky is falling scenario he makes it out to be in the article. Of course, any bad publicity it generates is still a good thing.
  • Strange. So much for having 3rd party developers support their phones and produce programs and apps that make customers want to buy their phones and data plans.

    Personally, I will never buy another Get It Now enabled Verizon phone. Its expensive. The programs suck.

    Ever since I got my Treo and can put my own custom Palm apps on it, the service has been so much better and I have even upgraded to the data plan to use these apps.
  • I was thinking of switching from Sprint because of the stupid restrictions on my Nokia phone imposed by Sprint. I had assumed T-Mobile was more likely to be open, because they're using a more open protocol (GSM). I guess not.
  • I use an HTC Trinity P3600 and this will NOT affect me. I also tether my laptop to my P3600 (bluetooth or USB) and I will also not be limited.

    This is ONLY if you use T-Mobile branded phones. I called my customer retention agent and she confirmed over and over that this will NOT affect third party bought phones, which is the only way to play unless you want to try to buy an outdated phone of T-Mobiles at a discount price.

    FUD, FUD, FUD. I love my T-Mobile phone and I travel to 13 states to do business, plus I work in Europe and Asia regularly and my phone works fine there with my T-Mobile SIM (albeit pricey but it works fine).
  • by troll -1 ( 956834 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:36PM (#18161826)
    Perhaps the problem with cell phone networks in general is that they were designed in a closed environment with a need for profit.

    Compare cell phone networks to the Internet which was designed mostly by scientists and engineers in an academic, peer reviewed environment with the simple goal of building an efficient network.

    If the Internet had been designed phone companies, you'd by your computer from you're ISP and it probably wouldn't work with any other ISP, your ISP bill would list every site you visited that month, overseas sites would be charged at a higher rate, and DNS would probably be sold as a 'white pages' lookup service where they could charge you a penny for every click.

    Phone systems are just plain dumb and the people who run them are concerned more with nickel and diming you for every trivial service they can think of than they are in building good network infrastructure.

    The FCC is largely to blame for this because they choose to auction off the airways to the highest bidder almost without regard as to how that bidder is going use the medium.

    I'm no fan of big government but if we're going to have regulation, then let's do the thing right. Let's require cell phone companies to provide mobile IP addresses and let anybody access their network with the hardware and software of his own choosing. Let the consumer buy *airtime*, nothing more, and let the consumer decide whether he'll use voice, download music, stream video, text message, etc., just like we do with landline companies.
  • O RLY? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rit ( 64731 ) <bwmcadams@gmail. ... minus physicist> on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:37PM (#18161840) Homepage
    Uhm, that's weird.
    Seeing as this morning my office gave me a brand new Blackberry 8700G (Edge network, fast processor) and the first thing I did was install Google Maps.

    It installed with Zero problems, and it runs great.

    So... what's this about banning third party apps?
  • by metroplex ( 883298 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:41PM (#18161884) Homepage
    I think this move will repel those with an even slight knowledge of mobile apps, but the majority of customers just won't care. Out of all the people I know, those who use the web capabilities of their portable phone are surprisingly few. No one I know has opera mini installed, let alone caring which apps can be installed and which cannot.

    Technologically less educated people in those case just believe the salesperson and assume it is "not compatible" with certains apps (which it is, but on purpose), but buy it anyway because it looks shiny or has a 3 megapixel camera.

  • Or are their phones just programmed not to allow the running of 3rd party applications? The article seems to imply that phones not bought from T-Mobile will allow running of 3rd-party apps - so it's not a network issue, it's just that the phones that they provide with their plans are locked down tight. Probably hackable. Besides, there are many places where you can buy unlocked GSM phones if you're willing to pay for your phone rather than getting it "free with contract."


  • by GrouchoMarx ( 153170 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @10:13PM (#18162188) Homepage
    Seriously, as a current T-Mobile customer, where else am I going to go? I've still got over a year on my 2 year enslavement contract. Even when it's over, where do I go? Cingular? They play nice with the NSA, their customer service is terrible, and their QoS in my area is crap. Verizon? They've been crippling their phones for years. Sprint? Decent data plans, but they're CDMA which means device lock-in by definition. US Cellular? Also CDMA lock-in.

    I just want a good GSM carrier in the US that will give me a family plan, a decent data plan, a non-insane lock-in, and half-way decent phones. Or hell, give me decent plans at a good enough price and I'll buy my own damned phones as God intended. Just sell me a SIM card and don't bankrupt me to use it, then stay out of my way. Is that so much to ask?
  • This isn't exactly new. Those of us with T-Mobile branded Samsung phones know that T-Mobile requires any java app that accesses their network to be signed. However, Samsung won't sign anything, meaning no OperaMini, no GoogleMaps, etc. It sucks, but that's what you get for letting "the free hand of the market" decide how things are gonna work...
  • Telus (Canada) already restricts the download of Opera Mini and other third-party apps not readily available from their internal website. I'm pretty sure that there aren't anything better in my area, where Aliant (Bell) and Rogers (no coverage) are the only other competitors. I like Telus, anyway, but I wouldn't mind having Opera Mini, all the same. WAP is just too basic.

    To their defense, they charge by the pageview, not by the KB.
  • It's the VOIP stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by popo ( 107611 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @10:30PM (#18162344) Homepage
    This idiotic policy doesn't even work in T-Mobile's interests. Third party software encourages people to use data services, which encourages them to sign up for data plans, which makes T-Mobile money. A more liberal policy on mobile apps also might help the nation's #4 carrier win customers away from control freaks like Verizon, with their strictly limited set of applications.

    The third party software they're afraid of is VOIP software that encourages people to use data services as a replacement for their overpriced phone plans.

    (Why are there 160 comments above mine with no mention of this?)
  • My Guess? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by /dev/trash ( 182850 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @10:42PM (#18162420) Homepage Journal
    Two year contract says RETAIN.
  • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) * on Monday February 26, 2007 @10:54PM (#18162512)
    First of all, yes, some T-Mobile branded phones had their firmware modified by T-Mobile to prevent third party applications from accessing T-Mobile's data network. This has been going on for awhile, and really isn't news.

    What T-Mobile has done recently, is a slow regional rollout of port blocking. You see, T-Mobile offers a $5.99 WAP access add-on, and a far more expensive "full internet access" add-on. What is happening is that people who bought unlocked/unbranded phones without T-Mobile's silly restrictions are finding that T-Mobile's $5.99 WAP plan just won't work any more for 3rd party apps which need unrestricted access to the Internet. The restrictions stopped just being in T-Mobile's phones. Now, as Verizon is so fond of saying, "It's the network."

    There's quite a few threads about this started over at HowardForums, and it is very real. If you think you're sitting pretty because it hasn't happened to you yet, you've been warned. The only way you're safe is if you're already on one of T-Mobile's "full internet" plans (Blackberry, Sidekick, Phone-as-Modem, etc.).

Maybe you can't buy happiness, but these days you can certainly charge it.