It's like they're asking me to tell them a white lie
January 16, 2007 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I have a Nokia smartphone. I have T-Mobile. But T-Mobile doesn't sell my phone, so they won't give me a smartphone unlimited data plan and I'm stuck with the much more expensive Total Internet package. But if I log in to T-Mobile's self service site, I can tell them I have any damn phone I like. So if I do that, and tell them I have a Blackberry or a Sidekick, and pick the BB or SK smartphone plans, is there some technical reason it won't just work? Am I in any serious danger of cancellation by violating the TOS or anything else?
posted by j-dawg to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have a nokia smartphone (N80). I use the t-mobile unlimited t-zones for ~$6, no problem. You don't need the total internet unless you want to use packet data to your laptop. The smartphone plan? You don't need that. You can get the right settings for your phone here.
posted by lovejones at 10:16 AM on January 16, 2007

And in case it's unclear, I can do whatever I want with the t-zones plan. I can e-mail, use the minimap browser, use the gmail app, google maps, etc. The only limitation is the laptop tethering.
posted by lovejones at 10:19 AM on January 16, 2007

Response by poster: I think I do need an unlimited plan. My understand is that anything that runs through a proxy (like Opera Mini), and anything that uses alternative ports (like most other Java apps) is blocked through T-Zones.
posted by j-dawg at 10:21 AM on January 16, 2007

Nope, opera mini works fine as well. I was shocked too, but it is quite unrestricted...
posted by lovejones at 10:25 AM on January 16, 2007

The Blackberry, at least, requires infrastructure on T-Mobile's side that a generic smartphone does not. They'll notice that you never connect to the MDS and start to wonder.

(In fact it wouldn't surprise me if they don't allow direct network access, and proxy everything through the MDS, which on a Blackberry is pretty much transparent but on a non-Blackberry smartphone would make it not very smart anymore. I believe Sidekicks are the same way.)
posted by mendel at 10:41 AM on January 16, 2007

Response by poster: Maybe I've been misled. Not that I would mind in this case... Is there any problem with POP and IMAP access through the cheapie plan?
posted by j-dawg at 11:26 AM on January 16, 2007

What mendel said MIGHT be true of the BlackBerry DEFINITELY applies to the Sidekick. The Sidekick connects through servers run by Danger, Inc. instead of going directly out to the net. When I briefly switched to an MDA from my SK2, none of the data functions would work until the CSR noticed I was still on a sidekick plan, and switched it. Full Internet access is not possible.
posted by tkolstee at 11:29 AM on January 16, 2007

Best answer: I use an N71 on t-mobile with the t-zones cheap plan and everything works. Secure exchange sync, pop, imap, google maps, opera mini, etc. You can even use a tethered laptop if you use the T-Mobile proxy settings in internet explorer / firefox:

T-Mobile Proxy:
T-Mobile's Proxy Port: 8080

Then setup a DUN connection and with the number *99#, no username or password.

More info here:
posted by cmicali at 12:48 PM on January 16, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the info. Just for anyone who might look at this thread later, the Howard Forums article suggests that what I was originally trying to do might indeed work if I pretended to have a Blackberry, but it looks like I don't need to go through all that. I'll make the switch and see if everything works as advertised.
posted by j-dawg at 1:47 PM on January 16, 2007

I've been thinking of doing something similar, so if you end up going the T-Zones ($6/mo.) route, feel free to follow up here and let us know whether it worked or not...
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:44 PM on January 16, 2007

Response by poster: Will do. I've just made the switch, but I imagine it will take a day or two for the change to actually propagate. I'll post a follow-up in a few days.
posted by j-dawg at 2:48 PM on January 16, 2007

I'd like to note that this was not always the case. T-Mobile allowed nearly unlimited access through t-zones at one point, but then locked it down to wap/web access. It is only in the last few months that they have unlocked it for all access again.

And on an irrelevant note, I'm apparently still grandfathered in to a $19.99 per month unlimited internet plan that no longer exists -- it allows unlimited tethered internet access, but no wifi at t-mobile hotspots. I doubt there's any way to get that plan anymore, though.
posted by mikeh at 5:01 PM on January 16, 2007

I've done the same thing on Cingular, where they try to force you into a $40 data plan for any smartphone (my Treo 650 at the time). I just told them I needed the $20 data plan for my Motorola v600, and it worked without any problems. I believe some ports are closed on the cheaper plan, but I mainly use it for light browsing on the Treo and tethered to my PDA when I am using my v600.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:07 PM on January 16, 2007

As a t-mobile customer with t-zones, let me just say that I'm glad you asked this. I had no idea that Opera mini would work on my plan, but it does! w00t!
posted by litlnemo at 1:23 PM on January 17, 2007

Response by poster: Here's the followup: T-Zones seems to do everything my old data plan did. I have full web access through both the Nokia browser and Opera Mini, POP and IMAP connections work flawlessly. Every third party app I have that accesses the 'net does so without problems (including the Google apps and Shozu).

So, yeah, this worked out well, and I'm spending $24 a month less. (Of course, my old plan included T-Mobile Hotspots, but I never used them.)

Thanks again!
posted by j-dawg at 1:14 PM on January 19, 2007

Just chiming in (super late) to say I had the blackberry ($19.99) plan while using a Nokia E61 and had no problems at all with the data service. Its good to know that the cheapy t-zones plan fully works again, but right now (mid Feb 07) I am paying for NO data service and am able to access T-mobile's data service. I am worried that there is some kind of hidden a la carte data service I don't know about, but I haven't been able to easily find that out on their website..... so I could just be really lucky.
posted by Boydrop at 5:32 PM on February 18, 2007

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