Restrictive practices in mobile broadband services?

Discussion in 'UK VOIP' started by Harry Stottle, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was looking
    through the options. T-mobile are advertising their Web'n'Walk service
    at £15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a couple of layers of
    small print, I found the following
    <Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    calls</Quote>
    Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    providing a different type of service, but banning users of that service
    from using it in a way that could result in competition to their main
    service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if this could be
    challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to get away with
    banning internet phone calls through their broadband service, then I can
    see VoIP being increasingly threatened.
     
    Harry Stottle, Mar 23, 2008
    #1
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  2. Harry Stottle

    Al Guest

    "Harry Stottle" <> wrote in message
    news:q2qFj.3546$...
    >I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was looking
    >through the options. T-mobile are advertising their Web'n'Walk service at
    >£15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a couple of layers of small
    >print, I found the following
    > <Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    > calls</Quote>
    > Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    > This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    > providing a different type of service, but banning users of that service
    > from using it in a way that could result in competition to their main
    > service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if this could be
    > challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to get away with
    > banning internet phone calls through their broadband service, then I can
    > see VoIP being increasingly threatened.
    >

    Interesting tack and one that I others have pondered over many a time.
    I can understand it with the primarily mobile phone wallahs blocking VoIP
    ports but fdo wonder when others with a vested interest in telecomms start
    rising en masse.
    Take the O2 service. I was led to believe initially that VoIP ports were
    blocked on that whilst their sister service Bethere did not.
    Is that still the case does anyone know?

    When I gave up my Telewest landlines the retentions dept assured me thta
    VoIP wouldn't work. Wasn't reliable etc...
    Didn't really like to tell them that I was cancelling from a SIP phone, lol.
    I was waiting for all manner of problems on UDP ports tpo follow.
    As it happens the VoIP uptime is now greater than that of the landline which
    did fallover every now and then.

    If there was a considerable mass exodus to VoIP then I could see ISPs
    pointing to AUP's in a bid to wriggle out and get it cothered.

    Just my ponderings for what they are worth.

    Regards

    Alastair
     
    Al, Mar 23, 2008
    #2
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  3. In article <q2qFj.3546$>,
    Harry Stottle <> wrote:
    >I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was looking
    >through the options. T-mobile are advertising their Web'n'Walk service
    >at £15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a couple of layers of
    >small print, I found the following
    ><Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    >calls</Quote>
    >Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    >This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    >providing a different type of service, but banning users of that service
    >from using it in a way that could result in competition to their main
    >service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if this could be
    >challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to get away with
    >banning internet phone calls through their broadband service, then I can
    >see VoIP being increasingly threatened.


    It will always be "threatened" as long as it's a competing technology
    and something that may lessen the operators revenue. It goes as far as
    being illegal in some locations - eg. as far as I'm aware in South Africa
    where the govt. is the majority shareholder in the telephone company,
    and I've had issues in smaller (african) countries with the ISP blocking
    VoIP ports.

    Three allows Skype calls, but not Skype-out calls as far as I'm aware -
    obviously Skype-out is a revenue loser for them. There were early
    reports of Vodaphone (and maybe orange?) "crippling" phones with VoIP
    capabiltiy too - removing the VoIP parts. However my E90 does SIP very
    well over Wi-Fi, and mybe over 3G too, but I've yet to try it.

    I do have to say though, that I'd rather use a mobile phone for GSM/3G
    calls rather than VoIP calls - it's probably cheaper (contract depending)
    and more reliable at present, but who knows in the future...

    Gordon
     
    Gordon Henderson, Mar 23, 2008
    #3
  4. Harry Stottle

    Al Guest

    "Gordon Henderson" <> wrote in message
    news:fs5fru$16no$...
    > In article <q2qFj.3546$>,
    > Harry Stottle <> wrote:
    >>I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was looking
    >>through the options. T-mobile are advertising their Web'n'Walk service
    >>at £15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a couple of layers of
    >>small print, I found the following
    >><Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    >>calls</Quote>
    >>Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    >>This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    >>providing a different type of service, but banning users of that service
    >>from using it in a way that could result in competition to their main
    >>service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if this could be
    >>challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to get away with
    >>banning internet phone calls through their broadband service, then I can
    >>see VoIP being increasingly threatened.

    >
    > It will always be "threatened" as long as it's a competing technology
    > and something that may lessen the operators revenue. It goes as far as
    > being illegal in some locations - eg. as far as I'm aware in South Africa
    > where the govt. is the majority shareholder in the telephone company,
    > and I've had issues in smaller (african) countries with the ISP blocking
    > VoIP ports.
    >
    > Three allows Skype calls, but not Skype-out calls as far as I'm aware -
    > obviously Skype-out is a revenue loser for them. There were early
    > reports of Vodaphone (and maybe orange?) "crippling" phones with VoIP
    > capabiltiy too - removing the VoIP parts. However my E90 does SIP very
    > well over Wi-Fi, and mybe over 3G too, but I've yet to try it.
    >
    > I do have to say though, that I'd rather use a mobile phone for GSM/3G
    > calls rather than VoIP calls - it's probably cheaper (contract depending)
    > and more reliable at present, but who knows in the future...
    >
    > Gordon

    As regards the smaller African countries there is a good reason for that.
    The pipe cost is prohibitive and no one really wants to open the floodgates
    and make it cheaper for various reasons.
     
    Al, Mar 23, 2008
    #4
  5. Harry Stottle

    RH Guest

    "Harry Stottle" <> wrote in message
    news:q2qFj.3546$...
    >I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was looking
    >through the options. T-mobile are advertising their Web'n'Walk service at
    >£15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a couple of layers of small
    >print, I found the following
    > <Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    > calls</Quote>
    > Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    > This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    > providing a different type of service, but banning users of that service
    > from using it in a way that could result in competition to their main
    > service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if this could be
    > challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to get away with
    > banning internet phone calls through their broadband service, then I can
    > see VoIP being increasingly threatened.


    This is fair enough as far as I can see, as long as they tell you in advance
    can not see an issue with this. They offer a service
    and is up to user to agree if they want it or not. Why would any company
    offer a service which would cut their core business
     
    RH, Mar 23, 2008
    #5
  6. "RH" <> wrote in message
    news:fs61at$ei6$1$...
    >
    > "Harry Stottle" <> wrote in message
    > news:q2qFj.3546$...
    >>I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was
    >>looking through the options. T-mobile are advertising their Web'n'Walk
    >>service at £15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a couple of
    >>layers of small print, I found the following
    >> <Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    >> calls</Quote>
    >> Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    >> This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    >> providing a different type of service, but banning users of that
    >> service from using it in a way that could result in competition to
    >> their main service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if
    >> this could be challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to
    >> get away with banning internet phone calls through their broadband
    >> service, then I can see VoIP being increasingly threatened.

    >
    > This is fair enough as far as I can see, as long as they tell you in
    > advance can not see an issue with this. They offer a service
    > and is up to user to agree if they want it or not. Why would any
    > company offer a service which would cut their core business

    So what would happen if BT and Virgin Media decided they were not going
    to allow VoIP over their services?
    VoIP would be severely limited, making it unavailable to the masses just
    to protect the profits of the big companies.
     
    Harry Stottle, Mar 23, 2008
    #6
  7. Harry Stottle

    Woody Guest

    "Harry Stottle" <> wrote in message
    news:WSvFj.4294$...
    >
    > "RH" <> wrote in message
    > news:fs61at$ei6$1$...
    >>
    >> "Harry Stottle" <> wrote in message
    >> news:q2qFj.3546$...
    >>>I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was
    >>>looking through the options. T-mobile are advertising their
    >>>Web'n'Walk service at £15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a
    >>>couple of layers of small print, I found the following
    >>> <Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    >>> calls</Quote>
    >>> Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    >>> This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    >>> providing a different type of service, but banning users of that
    >>> service from using it in a way that could result in competition to
    >>> their main service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if
    >>> this could be challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to
    >>> get away with banning internet phone calls through their broadband
    >>> service, then I can see VoIP being increasingly threatened.

    >>
    >> This is fair enough as far as I can see, as long as they tell you in
    >> advance can not see an issue with this. They offer a service
    >> and is up to user to agree if they want it or not. Why would any
    >> company offer a service which would cut their core business

    > So what would happen if BT and Virgin Media decided they were not
    > going to allow VoIP over their services?
    > VoIP would be severely limited, making it unavailable to the masses
    > just to protect the profits of the big companies.
    >



    Since both BT and VM supply business users with line phones using VOIP,
    the words kettle and black come to mind.

    On the other hand, unless they make a fundamental change to their
    contracts - and to which you as the user would have to agree - I suspect
    they may be on a sticky wicket legally if they tried port blocking.
    Unfair Contract Terms might come into it, and even the Competition
    Commission may have something to say - and that ignores the useless
    OffCom (deliberate misspelling) within who's bailiwick it would fall.


    --
    Woody

    harrogate three at ntlworld dot com
     
    Woody, Mar 23, 2008
    #7
  8. "Woody" <> wrote in message
    news:LLxFj.17623$%...
    > "Harry Stottle" <> wrote in message
    > news:WSvFj.4294$...
    >>
    >> "RH" <> wrote in message
    >> news:fs61at$ei6$1$...
    >>>
    >>> "Harry Stottle" <> wrote in message
    >>> news:q2qFj.3546$...
    >>>>I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was
    >>>>looking through the options. T-mobile are advertising their
    >>>>Web'n'Walk service at £15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through
    >>>>a couple of layers of small print, I found the following
    >>>> <Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    >>>> calls</Quote>
    >>>> Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    >>>> This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone
    >>>> company providing a different type of service, but banning users of
    >>>> that service from using it in a way that could result in
    >>>> competition to their main service. How do others see this, and does
    >>>> anyone know if this could be challenged legally, because if
    >>>> T-Mobile are allowed to get away with banning internet phone calls
    >>>> through their broadband service, then I can see VoIP being
    >>>> increasingly threatened.
    >>>
    >>> This is fair enough as far as I can see, as long as they tell you in
    >>> advance can not see an issue with this. They offer a service
    >>> and is up to user to agree if they want it or not. Why would any
    >>> company offer a service which would cut their core business

    >> So what would happen if BT and Virgin Media decided they were not
    >> going to allow VoIP over their services?
    >> VoIP would be severely limited, making it unavailable to the masses
    >> just to protect the profits of the big companies.

    >
    > Since both BT and VM supply business users with line phones using
    > VOIP, the words kettle and black come to mind.
    >
    > On the other hand, unless they make a fundamental change to their
    > contracts - and to which you as the user would have to agree - I
    > suspect they may be on a sticky wicket legally if they tried port
    > blocking. Unfair Contract Terms might come into it, and even the
    > Competition Commission may have something to say - and that ignores
    > the useless OffCom (deliberate misspelling) within who's bailiwick it
    > would fall.
    >

    Shortly after posting the original post here this morning, I sent an
    email with similar content to my local MP knowing of his interest in
    technology matters. I also know that he is usually very busy with
    correspondence, so I put in the email that I didn't need a reply, and
    that I was just informing him of the situation. Exactly 25 minutes
    later, I received a reply from him, he agreed with my concerns, and is
    passing the details on to his ministerial colleagues at BERR, (Business,
    Enterprise & Regulatory Reform), to check if they are aware of it.
    Not a bad service from an MP, especially on Easter Sunday, but he is one
    of the better ones.
     
    Harry Stottle, Mar 23, 2008
    #8
  9. Harry Stottle

    mattpark Guest

    IIRC, T-mobile *do* allow you to make VoIP calls over their data
    connections.

    The catch is that you must be subscribed to an "advanced" web and walk
    package that doesn't block required ports, and has modified terms and
    conditions.

    Be prepared to pay an extra £15 on top of your usual web and walk
    price.

    Matt


    --
    mattpark
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    mattpark's Profile: http://www.ukvoiptalk.com/member.php?userid=3
    View this thread: http://www.ukvoiptalk.com/showthread.php?t=3422

    External post from http://www.ukvoiptalk.com
     
    mattpark, Mar 23, 2008
    #9
  10. "mattpark" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > IIRC, T-mobile *do* allow you to make VoIP calls over their data
    > connections.
    >
    > The catch is that you must be subscribed to an "advanced" web and walk
    > package that doesn't block required ports, and has modified terms and
    > conditions.
    >
    > Be prepared to pay an extra £15 on top of your usual web and walk
    > price.
    >

    This is like a power company providing an electricity supply, and then
    branching out into selling electrical appliances, then banning customers
    from using their own appliances with the supplied electricity unless
    they pay extra for it, or unless they buy their appliances from the
    electricity supply company. I know it is not exactly, but it is as close
    as I can get at this time of night to try and compare it with other
    situations that might arise, where companies could try to use their
    strength to impose unfair restrictions on customers.
     
    Harry Stottle, Mar 23, 2008
    #10
  11. Harry Stottle

    Martin² Guest

    Few years ago all the mobile companies started charging for 0800 calls, when
    in fact they get PAID by the 0800 number owner to deliver the call.
    This was in response to various competitors offering cheap(er) calls via an
    0800 number (e.g. OneTel).
    If someone is willing to take 0800 call from a mobile and forward it to
    Timbuktu is none of the business of the mobile provider !
    Clearly this IS restrictive and highly anti-completive action from the
    mobile providers !
    Complaints were sent to Oftel, but nothing was ever done about it !
    So, for the same reason, they will get away with blocking VoIP calls....,
    (until maybe Ms Viviane Reading at the EU decides to force them)
    Regards,
    Martin
     
    Martin², Mar 24, 2008
    #11
  12. Harry Stottle

    mr deo Guest

    "Harry Stottle" <> wrote in message
    news:q2qFj.3546$...
    > I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was looking
    > through the options. T-mobile are advertising their Web'n'Walk service
    > at £15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a couple of layers of
    > small print, I found the following
    > <Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    > calls</Quote>
    > Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    > This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    > providing a different type of service, but banning users of that service
    > from using it in a way that could result in competition to their main
    > service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if this could be
    > challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to get away with
    > banning internet phone calls through their broadband service, then I can
    > see VoIP being increasingly threatened.
    >
    >


    They all have this get-out clause.. Some of them work however and it's not a
    big deal..
    They do all make it clear that it's not allowed so I see nothing wrong with
    it.. If they start telling lies and saying it's allowed just to get
    customers onboard then there would be a big cause for concern..

    If your a big user then the charges above your limit make this service
    horrible.. If you were using this service as your full portal for a windows
    XP machine for instance, you might spend 180£ the first month just letting
    it grab patches!...

    I would like to see the data rate cost go down a lot, and restrictions to
    follow.. But lets face it, Mobi operators pay a lot (or did pay) for the
    spectrum lisence and now they dont want to go broke due to people not making
    phone calls..
     
    mr deo, Mar 24, 2008
    #12
  13. Harry Stottle

    mr deo Guest

    "Al" <> wrote in message
    news:CDrFj.65670$...
    >
    > "Gordon Henderson" <> wrote in message
    > news:fs5fru$16no$...
    > > In article <q2qFj.3546$>,
    > > Harry Stottle <> wrote:
    > >>I was considering taking out a mobile broadband service and was looking
    > >>through the options. T-mobile are advertising their Web'n'Walk service
    > >>at £15.00/month for 3 GB, but when I dug through a couple of layers of
    > >>small print, I found the following
    > >><Quote> We do not permit use of this service for internet phone
    > >>calls</Quote>
    > >>Link http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/
    > >>This seems like a restrictive practice to me, a mobile phone company
    > >>providing a different type of service, but banning users of that service
    > >>from using it in a way that could result in competition to their main
    > >>service. How do others see this, and does anyone know if this could be
    > >>challenged legally, because if T-Mobile are allowed to get away with
    > >>banning internet phone calls through their broadband service, then I can
    > >>see VoIP being increasingly threatened.

    > >
    > > It will always be "threatened" as long as it's a competing technology
    > > and something that may lessen the operators revenue. It goes as far as
    > > being illegal in some locations - eg. as far as I'm aware in South

    Africa
    > > where the govt. is the majority shareholder in the telephone company,
    > > and I've had issues in smaller (african) countries with the ISP blocking
    > > VoIP ports.
    > >
    > > Three allows Skype calls, but not Skype-out calls as far as I'm aware -
    > > obviously Skype-out is a revenue loser for them. There were early
    > > reports of Vodaphone (and maybe orange?) "crippling" phones with VoIP
    > > capabiltiy too - removing the VoIP parts. However my E90 does SIP very
    > > well over Wi-Fi, and mybe over 3G too, but I've yet to try it.
    > >
    > > I do have to say though, that I'd rather use a mobile phone for GSM/3G
    > > calls rather than VoIP calls - it's probably cheaper (contract

    depending)
    > > and more reliable at present, but who knows in the future...
    > >
    > > Gordon

    > As regards the smaller African countries there is a good reason for that.
    > The pipe cost is prohibitive and no one really wants to open the

    floodgates
    > and make it cheaper for various reasons.
    >
    >


    Wi-Fi is ideal for large spreads in african countrys... I know a few
    companys that have spent years (well over 10) selling VoIP based Wireless
    networking signals in Africa.. Solar power Phone boxes that allowed wireless
    pc's (with their hardware) to pick up and use the service ;)..

    But yes, there's lots of reasons for not shoving a TB of data down the
    pipes of those providers, maily that they cant cope.. I doubt you would get
    a data package that's even remotely similar to the one offer'd in the
    UK/Europe...

    I havent look'd at the american rates but knowing what they pay for phone
    calls I imagine they make African Mobi Operators look cheap :p
     
    mr deo, Mar 24, 2008
    #13
  14. Harry Stottle

    Herman Guest

    "Al" <> wrote in message
    news:fPqFj.65445$...
    > Take the O2 service. I was led to believe initially that VoIP ports were
    > blocked on that whilst their sister service Bethere did not.
    > Is that still the case does anyone know?


    I am using VoIP fine on O2 broadband - I take it you are not talking about
    mobile broadband here...

    The only port I have found they block is SMTP - but there are good reasons
    for that that have nothing to do with commercial interests.
     
    Herman, Mar 24, 2008
    #14
  15. Harry Stottle

    Al Guest

    "Herman" <> wrote in message
    news:fs8v4u$ft4$...
    > "Al" <> wrote in message
    > news:fPqFj.65445$...
    >> Take the O2 service. I was led to believe initially that VoIP ports were
    >> blocked on that whilst their sister service Bethere did not.
    >> Is that still the case does anyone know?

    >
    > I am using VoIP fine on O2 broadband - I take it you are not talking
    > about mobile broadband here...
    >
    > The only port I have found they block is SMTP - but there are good reasons
    > for that that have nothing to do with commercial interests.
    >


    Thanks for the clarification, Herman.
     
    Al, Mar 26, 2008
    #15
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