T-Mobile, Ports, And You… The Current Shakeup

Had trouble running Opera Mini or Google Maps on your T-Mobile phone lately? You’re not alone…

T-Mobile has permitted Opera Mini and Google Maps through their T-Zones service. This is their basic web access package, which allows for WAP browsing at $5.99 per month. It is far cheaper than other carrier web browsing options (with the exception of Verizon, which charges $5/month in addition to airtime for their Mobile Web 2.0 service).

Recently however, many users have been unable to access Java applications, HTML browsing, or other services other than WAP with T-Zones. The explanation for this actually appears to be caused by one device; the T-Mobile Dash.

When T-Mobile launched the Dash, they wanted to encourage users to upgrade from “regular” phones to the Dash, and so rather than requiring the PDA $29.99 Internet Plan, they allowed users to use their existing T-Zones package. In order to do this, T-Mobile opened up all ports on T-Zones.

This also opened up the ability for prepaid users to gain an open tap to the web, at no charge. Prepaid users could gain access, either with a free proxy, or with a smart device, to unlimited web access and phone-as-modem tethering over T-Mobile’s EDGE network.

Late last month however, T-Mobile opted to reconsider their port offerings, and closed all ports on T-Zones. This shut down Google Maps and Opera Mini on phones, as well as forced Dash users to get a PDA Plan. WIthin hours, T-Mobile was flooded with support calls, and re-re-considered their position. T-Mobile has now restored the old settings.

Whether T-Mobile will re-deploy these countermeasures is up in the air. T-Mobile is still evaluating their options internally, and has realized that users are angered at the loss of Java applications, as well as many other applications, such as web browsing on Series 60 devices.