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Unexpected use of GPRS data with UK T-Mobile SIM card

Posted on 2010-11-14
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a G1 Dev phone with original setup purchased from Google in Summer 2009.

In germany I just used it with a Vodaphone SIM card without any credit so that the phone would boot and let me access WiFi and apps on the phone. This was to avoid signing up for any 3G data services.
For telephone calls I just used my old reliable, very unsmart Nokia.

Back in the UK, I put my UK T-Mobile Sim card in the G1 phone and used it for phone calls as well. In some ways it not as good at basic telephoning as my old Nokia.

What I have noticed is that my PAYG credit declines steeply - £5 / day for very few calls & texts. I later noticed that I was accessesing data services when not connected to WiFi. The UK card must support data.
In the settings I have disabled data services, told it to use 2G to save battery and generally tried to turn off all data access except voice calls & WiFi. I can't seem to turn off data services without also turning off WiFi.

Q1 Is there a way to do this?

Q2 Where can I find the OS version? I expected to find something like "Android 1.5" under About Phone but instead find a Model Number, Firmware version, Baseband version, Kernel version, Build number, none of which include "1.5"

The closest is
Build number: dream_devphone-userdebug 1.0 UNLOCKED 116222 te3st-keys
Kernel version:  2.6.25-01843-gfea26b0

Q3 Will this G1 phone support Android 2.2 ( and later versions), within the capabilities of the h/w, if I install it on the phone?
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Question by:memyselfi
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Frosty555 earned 500 total points
ID: 34130713
I can't tell you much about Android, but I can go on a bit of a rant about T-Mobile UK...

T-Mobile will charge you for "pay as you go data" on a daily basis - capped at couple of pounds a day - if you use data while local in the UK on one of their sim cards. This applies for iphones / blackberries / regular phones using WAP browsing.

They offer a few different kinds of of "boosters" which you can add to your contract in order to get data on your phone. You get the booster by texting a "code" to a 4 digit number on your phone. The money is deducted from your balance and you get the benefits of the booster for a duration of time depending on the booster.

Unfortunately, T-Mobile has changed how these boosters work and what message you have to text where for what rate so many times that nobody - including the staff in the t-mobile store - really know what is current and what works and what doesn't. This is compounded by the fact that the boosters are not properly documented in any clear way on T-Mobile's website. Furthermore, the "old" boosters - which are either bad deals, or plain don't work properly -  are grandfathered, and DO activate / take your money if you try to use them. So if you get "old" information from somebody in the store or from the internet, you can be charged for a service that only half works.

To be perfectly honest, I don't think it's worth the headache. I was with T-Mobile from July through to October this year and found the 3G data to be terrible, and found signal converage and call quality to be appalling. Many areas in London did not have reliable 3G coverage, and most frustratingly, a 5-10 minute call in a 5-bar signal coverage area at any given time I found had about a 25% chance of getting dropped at some point during the duration of the call.

Tell you the truth, I'd just ditch T-Mobile entirely and go with O2. They seem to have better coverage and a better understanding of their own plans - even if they are a bit more expensive.
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by:Frosty555
ID: 34130725
^^^^ I know that doesn't really solve your problem, but if you are using an Android phone, you really should have a data plan on your phone that works.

Some OSs (blackberries definitely, not sure about Android), are designed to seamlessly switch between Wifi and 3G. The idea being when you enter a Wifi area, it connects to the wifi, and routes all data through it's APN, giving you a seamless connection to the internet regardless of which method you use to connect. The benefit to this is that you can move in and out of Wifi coverage without losing your current connections to various game/mail/web servers. The downside is it means you do need to have your phone radio active to use Wifi - they aren't totally separate.

iPhones are capable of using Wifi only, but Blackberries are not. I suspect Androids may work similar to the way blackberries do.
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Author Comment

by:memyselfi
ID: 34132338
I never know how long I will stay in a country. In Germany a contract for data services is at least 2 years. I'm soon going to India where I hope to find an amenable contract.

THe Dev phone allows me to mess about with a smartphone without having a contract - although it still requires a simm card.
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Author Comment

by:memyselfi
ID: 34182983
A friend showed me that his iPhone could disconnect data services.
T-Mobile burnt thru 14 GBP in 3 days. AFAIK by downloading refreshed browser page images that I didn't need to see while away from a wifi connection. I got a booster text offering 5 days internet for x. Wasn't clear if this included dta services.
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Author Closing Comment

by:memyselfi
ID: 34182992
not really a solution as there doesn't seem to be one, but useful anyway
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