Today's world is a lot more mobile than every before but despite our mobility, we still expect to be connected. Whether it be via the phone, email, IM, or even the snail mail, we expect to be able to communicate with others at a moments notice. Well, I am happy to announce to you that such has gotten even easier.
Although accessing the Internet through your phone has existed for a long time, its only recently that T-Mobile has eliminated the need to access the Internet through a proxy. Previously, you could access the Internet only via a few ways: first, you could purchase an expensive data plan and then follow their list of steps to tether your mobile to your laptop, second, you could use the mobile's mediocre screen and input device to handle your communications, or finally, attempt to tether your laptop to your mobile without using a data plan.
TMobile is a GSM network and thus uses GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) to handle data communications which has speeds similar to a very poorly connected 56K (expect speeds on average to be around a 33.6K modem). They also have deployed EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) which is capable of speeds closer to that of ISDN. Think 2 - 4 times as fast as GPRS but still dog slow compared to everyday broadband.
Why anyone would want to pay for this service is beyond me. I do have the 2.99$ T-Zones plan which I found out had ports 25 and 110 open to the public Internet. I then set up a proxy running on a computer to listen to port 110 and then pointed the proxy setting for IE to the IP of my computer. This allowed me to then tunnel http traffic past T-Mobiles proxy. It was painfully slow but worked and allowed me to tether too.
A few weeks ago I removed the proxy information and noticed that my Internet connetion still worked, in fact, worked better than ever. Even when I re-tethered, it continued to work. Howard Forums also has some information saying the T-Mobile silently removed the proxies. Now even this very blog will be posted over GPRS (edge is not offered here). I am truly glad for this as it continues to make me want to stick with T-Mobile as a wireless carrier. In addition I a also am looking forward to their HSDPA. After paying around $4 billion in frequency licensing fees, T-Mobile is looking to launch their rollout starting early next year in metropolitan areas first.
Right now, I am not aware of T-Mobile not wanting you to take advantage of the newly opened access. My only recommendation is to be a good stewart and use it responsibly. Don't run P2P clients, minimize traffic to that which is only necessary and don't depend on it for communications. Whenever HSDPA rolls out, I will be getting it. Until then, I will be gingerly using the E/GPRS network as the needs arise.