Vodafone gives away internet over Christmas
But not all of it
Vodafone UK is giving away internet access between Christmas and the new year, but only to those who have their APN set correctly.
The promotional offer is an extension of the operator's free Fridays, and runs from Christmas morning until January 1st. But because it's aimed at those using the internet through a mobile phone, some customers might get caught out.
In Vodafone's world, there are two kinds of internet user: those browsing on a mobile phone and those surfing from a laptop. The operator distinguishes between them by offering two APNs (Access Point Names) - one called "WAP" and the other "Contract Internet", with mobile-phone users being directed towards the former and dongle users to the latter.
The problem is that the WAP APN, while it is packet based and offers the same speed, doesn't provide unfettered internet access. It routes everything through Vodafone's Novarra-supplied gateway which mangles content and puts additional
adverts navigation features into web pages. Those wanting to run their own instant messaging client, or applications that use HTTP transport and don't want it mangled, need to switch to the "Contract Internet" APN, which won't be free next week.
Using different APNs, billed at different rates, is a long-standing bodge job that attempts to create tiered billing without having to monitor the traffic. At one point operators offered special APNs for media streaming too, and the 3G UMTS standard envisioned handsets connecting to different APNs for different applications, all billed at different rates.
But customers just want internet access: they don't want to be greeted with a list of APNs every time they try to check their e-mail, so the bodge should disappear over time as the operators turn to more intelligent solutions. But until then, take care if you're planning to do some free Vodafone surfing over Christmas. ®
Pretty hopeless but...
sorted their act out when I threatened to leave and take them to court for being so completely useless.
I was on their "old" billing system with unlimited texts and picture messages, but their old system couldn't cope with the "unlimited" mobile internet bundle (unlimited in this case meaning 500MB). So every month for 10 months I was being charged the off-plan rate for internet use, and then having to get my bill adjusted (and getting them to waive the non-DD payment fee since I had no faith in their billing). When they realised this was the case they said I still had to pay for the usage - even though I'd used it in good faith.
After the threatening letter, I was moved to the "new" billing system (and therefore a different tariff) - but the new system can't cope with bundled MMS messages.
In some ways they're a total bunch of clowns, in others they're much better than other networks (unless hell freezes over I'm never touching Orange again!).
Anyway, the WAP gateway is hopeless - didn't work for A-GPS on my N95 so swapped to the Internet gateway, and have got my Xperia X1 on the Internet gateway from day 2 of having it since the WAP gateway was still so very, very slow and rubbish!
Given that PAYG Internet on their USB dongles is cheaper than the rate that they charge for their mobiles (it's why I bought a separate USB dongle instead of just tethering my phone), it seems odd that they also need to feed ads to mobile users, but not dongle users...
But anyway, surely modifying and distributing a derivative work of someone else's content is a violation of copyright? Sure, as a customer, you consent to viewing vodafone's adverts. But if I'm a website owner, at no point have I given permission for vodafone to distribute modified versions of my page, surely?
Few errors here
The WAP stuff doesn't use Navarro transcoding kit. Only VF live stuff goes via this.
The WAP APN like the internet APN on VF UK goes via 724 solutions web optimisers. These boxes work by reading the HTTP user agent string to modify the traffic/code as appropriate to reduce traffic volume.
@ Pandy06269 the HTC Magic is sent to the WAP gateway for a number of device customised reasons (ie Android Marketplace connectivity).