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peterh337 (Offline)
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Posts: 7
Join Date: 11 Jun 2011

Default Vodafone UK doing strange anti-tethering policies - 08-02-2014, 16:58

I have a Nokia 808 phone and a Thinkpad X230 laptop (winXP).

The phone has a Voda UK contract and works as one would expect.

The laptop can connect to the internet (when one is mobile i.e. no WIFI) in the following ways

1) Internal GPRS/3G radio
2) Bluetooth to the 808 phone
3) WIFI to the 808 phone running Joikuspot (ad hoc WIFI)
4) WIFI to an E585 GPRS/3G-WIFI modem

The SIM cards in 1) and 4) are Voda PAYG, generally.

Over the years most or all of the above were working, which I like because I travel around Europe a fair bit.

However 1) stopped working totally a few weeks ago.

2) also stopped working with any phone that has a Voda PAYG SIM. But 3) works with the same phone and the same SIM!

I have been doing tests to try to narrow it down.

I put a new (Simply tariff) Voda PAYG SIM into the phone.

Data works OK on the phone itself.

Data works OK via the phone, with the laptop connected via Joikuspot.

Data works on via the phone, with the laptop connected via bluetooth but only with a Virgin PAYG card, not Voda!

Data also works with the Voda PAYG SIM in an E585 3G/wifi modem.

With Voda, when it doesn't work I get Error 734 and it fails to connect during the GPRS/3G login. That happens on both bluetooth and if I put the SIM into the laptop's 3G module. Obviously something fails the instant the connection (*99# dial) is made. The computer doesn't see any problem until DHCP fails, so the network seems to be blocking data after the initial login.

So it looks like Vodafone are blocking tethering on their PAYG phone SIMs. They are not blocking it on contract SIMs because my main phone (Voda contract) works on bluetooth.

Very weird.

The UK data deal is 1/day/25MB and I guess they reason that one is more likely to use up most of the 25MB with a laptop or an Ipad etc, than with just the phone. So even though you are paying for it, they don't want you to use it!

The interesting Q is how they are detecting the ultimate device (the laptop). Somebody suggested it is the MAC address, which would make sense, because I would expect both Joikuspot and the E585 (both being essentially routers) to obfuscate the client's MAC, but I would expect it to be visible to the network if dialing out via bluetooth, because that is just using the phone as a dumb dial-up modem, with TCP/IP implemented on the laptop. And if the SIM card goes into the laptop directly then they can also see the MAC.

These networks must have teams of people working out how to screw customers...

The good news is that if you can get Joikuspot to work (which has its own issues) it enables tethering with a SIM card on which bluetooth don't give you a connection.

Does the above make any sense?

To implement this policy, Voda must have a database of the MAC address of every phone ever made, so they can allow those.

I have tried to talk to their customer service but Voda's CS is absolute s*** these days. There is a long queue and then you get a complete monkey. Voda have stopped the email option - even though the message form on their website still uses it, and your message then bounces back!!! Complete nutters.

I have also tried EE / T-Mobile / Virgin and as noted above Virgin works OK. I just don't use it because all the above EE networks give you no connectivity abroad until you buy an EU data back, which requires a browser to be started, and the browser has to be compatible with their stupid website which redirects any URL to their one which sells the data packs. Whereas Voda (usually the king of ripoffs) has the much better Euro Traveller on contract, and is 2/25MB/day on PAYG which is pretty good.

Voda try to sell you a different SIM for data, which costs much more and on which presumably they don't block tethering. I am not interested in that kind of crap deal.
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UKSTEVE (Offline)
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Posts: 197
Join Date: 26 Dec 2004
Location: Sheffield UK

Default 08-03-2014, 14:29

Yes, this appears to be a NEW VODA POLICY - no tethering on Mobile BB SIM cards...

I have a back-up Voda dongle that I used to use when you got 1Gb for 15 non-time limited.

Voda changed the ballgame late last year to time/data packages - e.g. 250MB for 30 days for 5.00... thank you so much Voda... not...

Brushed the dust off this last night for a pal whose home BB has gone belly-up,...

Works just fine in the dongle. Does *not* work in my MiFi (Alactel Y800).

Bloody Vodafone!

###LATER - seems like all Voda data SIMs won't work in MiFis...

[size=2]Steve Gold
PO Box 1014, Sheffield S10 5YG, UK

Home mobie: Telefonica O2
Other UK mobiles: 3, Vodafone, Virgin

Foreign SIMs: Toggle (multi); Germany (Fonic); Poland (Orange PL);

Skype: stevewgold
  Send a message via Skype™ to UKSTEVE 
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