Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Get Less With The “Get More” Mobile Network

I find this infuriating because I am PAYING for that connectivity! Doesn't T-Mobile realize that stupid stunts like these are going to drive their customers right over to the iPhone? Caption & Image Credit: Gearlog

Get Less With The “Get More” Mobile Network

Ever wonder why consumer societies in other countries like Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, and etc. are able to use their cellphone for more than … well, email?

It comes down to the restrictive policies of the mobile networks themselves, Symblogogy does not begrudge business operations trying to make more money from the system services they offer but the truth is, it has long been held, that a business effort really has nothing unless it gives just a little away.

In a day and age where physical world connection and hyperlink applications are being developed and deployed at a dizzying pace, where 3D symbologies are being created that would deliver content (up to 20 seconds of video with sound without using the mobile network) directly to phones (with the appropriate software), where the mobile phone can be and is a consumer information device, a wallet for vending machine transactions, a venue access device, a music platform, a portable video entertainment delivery theater, and more – Why isn’t the American consumer society able to be at the leading edge of these functions and applications?

One answer – the mobile network service providing community.

Excerpts and selected comments from Gearlog -

T-Mobile Disses Opera, Says "Get Less!"
Gearlog - Tuesday January 30, 2007

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.

This means T-Mobile feature phone users are prohibited from surfing the Web with Opera Mini, checking maps on Google Local for Mobile, listening to podcasts with Mobilcast, and using any other form of software not pre-approved by T-Mobile.

T-Mobile cites meaningless "security" concerns as reasons for attempting to severely cripple the mobile software development industry, but their hypocrisy is painfully clear when you remember that these apps work fine on T-Mobile's network, using T-Mobile SIM cards, if you buy your phone directly from a manufacturer like

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.

T-Mobile's motto is "get more." So it's painfully ironic that nowadays, they let you "get less" -- locking out much of what their phones can do in a pointless, incomprehensible attempt at control. My solution: instead of buying phones through T-Mobile, go direct to manufacturers or through independent retailers that offer non-T-Mobile-branded GSM phones, then drop your T-Mobile SIM card in. (It'll work fine.) That way you'll get your T-Mobile service, and much, much "more."
Reference Here>>

Selected Comments:

Posted by: ron mexico - January 30, 2007 6:48 PM

Um, okay. Perhaps you should do a little bit of research before tossing around the blame so freely. T-Mobile doesn't lock their devices down like this, subscribers just have to pay for the proper level of data access.
Posted by: Sascha Segan - January 30, 2007 10:41 PM

Ron, 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.

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.
Posted by: Ron - January 31, 2007 12:21 PM

Sounds to me like Sahsa has issues with anger management.

Perhaps she's upset because T-Mobile wouldn't give her all the freebie's she thinks she is entitled to as a magazine hack?

All I can say is "get over yourself and move on to real reporting.Better yet,get a real job that requires some semblence of actual physical exertion".

Posted by: phoenix - January 31, 2007 3:26 PM

Ron: Sascha's a he.

Also, HE is spot on here. What level of "access" are you referring to that allows T-Mobile to violate their terms of service and corporate policies? Perhaps you're referring to buying a smartphone as a "level of access?"

In that case, you might want to "exert the effort" to clarify your point. Sascha has laid his cards on the table here, if you think he just needs to "get over it" or hasn't "researched" enough, then let's see your cards.

It's not Sascha's anger management that needs work here, looks like yours-you can hardly make a point without flinging insults.

In real commentary, this doesn't surprise me one bit. By locking down and crippling features, cellular providers can funnel you into their own preferred services, and leave plenty of room for them to offer "enhanced" services and applications down the road that you'll have no choice but to opt-in with them for, and you have no choice but to believe that your device CAN'T do x or y without their specialized app.

We've seen this from the way Verizon cripples its bluetooth phones and media functionality, making you believe the only way you can get music and photos onto your phone is either through their services (for music and pictures and video) or through your camera (for pictures and video).

I sadly see this trend moving in the wrong direction, personally, as there's less competition in the marketplace for cellular services, and the message to customers is "if want these services that you seem to know every one of our phones is capable of, you'll have to buy special 'versions' of the phones, or upgrade to significantly more expensive devices," and that's a real shame.
Reference Here>>

Anger management comments aside, at Symblogogy we believe - Less Is More - meaning less control over applications and hardware is more service from the mobile network service provider. By opening up the restrictions, the retailer for the service provider would actually make more money (software and hardware sales) as opposed to providing protection for the consumer as well as the enterprise mobility marketplace.

Truth is, one can have access to the applications and services that open up the function of the phone with the purchase of hardware directly from the manufacturer.

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