T-Mobile : How to get T-Zones Web unlimited data for $5.99 (works w/iPhone and Nexus one)
This recipe is not really so much a tech/hardware recipe but more of a social hack. I’ve had T-Mobile as my cellular provider for well over 4 years and have not moved off of them because of their much cheaper (but previously slower until as of recently) data plans. Lets get back that T-Zones $5.99 plan!
First some quick background on this recipe. Back before T-Mobile rolled out 3G, they offered quite a few VERY cheap data plans. They would often limit the open ports on these data plans so they were usually sold to owners of non-smartphones (ie Razr or some other candybar or flip-phone that tmobile offered). At the same time they offered smartphone/pda/blackberry and pc data cards a more expensive Total Internet package at around $19.99 (this plan had all ports opened and did not require a proxy server).
However in the last year and a half, they finally started rolling out full 3G services and at the same time they altered their pricing and data tiers. Add into the mix the fact that almost all carriers allow you to be grandfathered into a plan (basically, if you have it and they change plans; you keep it until you change your plan or buy a subsidized phone). T-Mobile basically could no longer block/limit port access by the nature of the web, amount of time/cost it would take to enforce it, possibility of upsetting longterm customers and the sky rocketing use of smartphones. So they had to open all ports up and allow users w/older data plans to still get data and also open ports up for the new Blackberry/WM Phones/Android. Thus leading us to this social hack.
First off, if your getting a Nexus or iPhone and a new T-Mobile customer, you will probably want to wait a month before trying. For those on T-Mobile already (long time customers should not have any problems, my co-worker called and asked for it and got it on the spot), it can be super easy or more of a challenge.
What your trying to do is to get the T-Zones Unlimited Web data plan ($5.99/mo). This plan is no longer advertised and most customer service reps will claim it no longer exists. I would recommend stating you have a Razr or another older non-smartphone tmobile offered at some point (nokia ones) and you want the cheapest data plan since your probably not really going to use it but would be nice just in case. think about what your going to say ahead of time to make it a smoother call 🙂
Be nice! Remember these people are just doing their job. Again, tell them you have an older phone you want to get full data on and that you wanted to sign up for the T-Zones plan. You can try to escalate it to the terminations department (some people have said that they had better luck w/the terminations department but ymmv).
Small talk and treating the rep like a real, warm blooded person always helps. Remember, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar! Hopefully by the end of the call, you’ll have a your shiny cheap T-Zones data plan.
After getting the plan, you can basically move right into using a Google Nexus One. Again, remember you have to buy it unlocked via Google.com/phone or else you will lose your plan. The amount of money you save from having the T-Zones plan vs the $39.99 plan will net the cost of the Nexus One unlocked and save you over $500 in the 2nd year of ownership. Remember that!
Here is a list of APNs you can use for this plan:
–epc.tmobile.com (seems to work for most people)
–internet2.voicestream.com (used in total internet plan, alt if epc does not work)
–internet3.voicestream.com (used in total internet plan)
–wap.voicestream.com (very old one used w/original t-zone data plan)
Devices and Results:
The iPhone 3GS/3G/2G will work with this plan and verified working as of 1/11/2010. You only get EDGE since the 3G is the AT&T flavor not Tmobiles.
The Google Nexus One works flawlessly with this plan and uses the epc.tmobile.com APN. I get full 3G speeds and GPS access. Speed tests netted from 952kbps to 1440kbps depending on coverage.
All Blackberries will work with this plan however you will not get the Blackberry Internet Service or be able to connect to a work Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES). Google apps and email work fine and Blackbery App Center and PUSH weather service.
Dumb phones work just fine with this.
My Aircard (EDGE speed) did work with this plan. Not sure if it would work in a new 3G USB modem though. I may test later this year.
I would assume windows mobile phones would work but may need to have their APN changed accordingly.
Enjoy and good luck!
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