Unofficial poll: / 3G Network Sheepshearing

Andy Green andy at
Fri Apr 11 08:53:00 CEST 2008

Hash: SHA1

Somebody in the thread at some point said:

| I myself am also much closer to Hugo.  If I want access to data, I'm
| usually near someplace with wireless access and would rather use Wifi

I have a little experience recently with 3G data access... it worked
well when stationary but completely failed while in a moving train.
When it worked it was cool though.

However, getting an account at the provider 3 in the UK was like being a
sheep showing up to get sheared.  After I explained what I wanted they
insisted to test my credit card to confirm my PIN and then my physical

They tried to upsell me to an 18 month contract on the basis that is was
"GBP45 cheaper" since they halve the price of the data access and give
me a "free" phone, but in fact comparing 12 months of payments against
18 months, this is GBP45 more expensive and you are locked in for
longer, so no thanks.

Then they asked me if I was married -- I replied it was none of their
business.  The salesperson explained that it was needed for a "credit
check".  I shrugged, so they proposed a Pay as You Go method, it charges
the same GBP15 for 3GB access, but in order to stop everybody avoiding
the contract lock-in, they destroy any remaining transfer allowance 30
days after you started using it.  Outrageous!  And if you went over your
limit in transfer, you are charged GBP10 per MB -- per MB!  Watching a
25 minute vid on Youtube like that and suddenly you owe them GBP800.  Of
course this stops anyone getting even near their transfer limit in 30
days through sheer terror, to the benefit of the network provider.

Further, in order to find your remaining balance you have to sign up at
a website, but they insist to send your login password via SMS.  I don't
have a 3G phone -- now what do we do?

When we talk about the possibility to use freely shared WLAN vs a
telephony network connection we shouldn't ignore the "collateral damage"
of becoming a customer of these satanic sheepshearing factories.  I
guess most people are beaten down to expect this experience otherwise we
would see more foaming at the mouth rants like this one.

| We are starting to see a push to integrate WiMAX & WiFi into the same
| chipsets and this will only become more common.  I think WiFi is popular

I think a good general rule is to only push your luck in one domain at a
time.  Arguably we push our luck in several places at once already.
WiMax doesn't really exist yet despite the hype, betting everything on a
technology that is a bit slow to mature and not widely adopted by
carriers (yet) would be pretty dangerous for our health I think.

- -Andy
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