Feeds

Vodafone gives away internet over Christmas

But not all of it

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.