Feeds

Vodafone gives away internet over Christmas

But not all of it

Top three mobile application threats

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.