Posts Tagged ‘O2’

A bug with O2 text messaging

August 11th, 2012 No comments

I’ve recently seen a bug with text messaging that could cause trouble for someone or even be used for fraudulent purposes.

A colleague (on Orange) sent a picture message to myself (on Vodafone) and another colleague (on O2). He sent it as one message with two recipients rather than two separate messages. Nothing wrong there.

In later conversation, the first colleague mentioned what I had said in reply to his picture. What reply? I asked. He then showed me a message on his Nokia 6310 that clearly appeared to have come from my number. I had not sent this message and I could prove it by showing him my itemised bill on the Vodafone website. Looking at the style of the message it looked like it had come from the second recipient which it turned out was the case.

Despite having a Nokia smartphone, this second recipient on O2 has a corporate restriction on receiving picture messages directly on the phone and instead receives a message telling him to visit the O2 website to view the picture. When he did this he sent a reply via this O2 website. Because I had been the first recipient on the original message, the O2 website falsely inserted my number as the sender.

Fortunately, our relationship is good enough to realise who had really sent the message but depending on the content of the message this could easily have caused an argument or bad feeling. This could also be used for fraudulent purposes?

How is it possible for O2 to spoof the sender details?

Wanted: a proper PAYG data plan

April 23rd, 2011 No comments

When I bought my iPad I almost chose a WiFi only version, but decided on a WiFi/3G version for the odd occasions when it would be used away from a WiFi connection. I had no real idea how much data I would be using. My average monthly data usage on the iPhone rarely exceeded 200MB. I did consider getting a GiffGaff SIM but they consider usage in an iPad to be ‘tethering’ (a strange interpretation of the word) and anyone mentioning tethering and iPad in a tweet leaves themselves open to GiffGaff’s Gestapo-like followers. GiffGaff seem to be scared of massive data usage on the iPad, something you’ll shortly see is far from the truth.

Unfortunately, none of the UK mobile telcos offers a proper PAYG data plan that works in the same way as a phone plan; on a PAYG phone plan your credit never expires (as long as you make a call once in a while, usually a month), not so with data plans.

I plumped instead for the best plan on offer at the time which was Three’s 3GB for £20. Unfortunately this data allowance expires after 3 months, but at under £7/month for a connection it was a start. Once I did start using my iPad, i found that my average monthly cellular data usage on iPad turns out to be around 40-50MB, a fraction of my iPhone usage, making a mockery of GiffGaff’s argument for allowing data usage on an iPhone but not the iPad.

I then came to renew the Three data plan but found that you cannot add another three months, but have to pay £10 for 1GB that lasts a month. At my usage rate this is a complete waste. It would be cheaper to go and buy another SIM for three months! It also means that these plans are not ‘pay as you go’ at all; since the data allowance only lasts a month they are effectively 30-day monthly contracts.

Monthly contracts are not suitable, paying for a plan that would largely go unused and also run the risk of some rogue app taking me over my monthly allowance and into more expensive data costs. A PAYG allowance is self limiting as it would simply run out.

So come on, Vodafone, O2, Three, T-Mobile, Orange, GiffGaff. Let’s have a real PAYG data plan where I can buy say 1GB of data top-up that never expires, just like my PAYG phone credit. I know I am not alone in wanting such a plan.

UPDATE: January 2012

GiffGaff are now allowing use of their SIMS in iPads. Data Costs 20p/day (for first 20MB) then 20p/MB for data used on top during that day – Perfect for the amount of data I use on the iPad. Credit does not expire. If I know I’m going to be using a lot more data, I can buy a data goody bag with my credit.

You can get a free GiffGaff SIM here.

iPhone 4’s faster CPU will fix O2’s slow network

August 5th, 2010 1 comment

…according to Carphone Warehouse that is.

I currently have an iPhone 3G, originally purchased through Carphone Warehouse and on the O2 network, the contract for which expires in less than a month. I haven’t bothered pursuing a new iPhone 4 for a number of reasons, the greatest being that although I could have paid £40 to get out of my existing contract, my shiny new iPhone 4 would have still been on the O2 network for at least another 18 months.

iPhone SpeedTest Screenshot on O2 networkSo what’s wrong with O2’s network? Well, two things mainly:

Data Speed

Or more accurately, the lack of it.

I’ve found O2’s 3G coverage to be patchy at best, but really that isn’t the issue here. There’s no point having a 3G connection between your phone and the local base station mast if the connection behind that appears to be running on wet string.

On a DSL/Broadband connection I would expect to see ping times less than 20ms rising to around 100ms on a mobile connection but not 8 seconds! – see screenshot to the right. Note also the measured 0kbps download speed.

Prior to getting an iPhone 3G, I had been with Vodafone and Orange and only switched to O2 in order to get the iPhone. I regularly tethered the phones on Voda/Orange (all GPRS only) to my laptop and never experienced the slow speeds on O2 that are more the norm than the exception.

Now, at a stretch, O2 could be forgiven for being caught out by the huge rise in mobile data that the iPhone and other smart phones have created; that wasn’t yesterday, however, and from my experience O2 do not appear to have invested sufficiently in their network infrastructure to cope with the increased demand, choosing instead to apply data caps. Although, at only 200MB average per month, I would not be affected by the caps, that’s no help if you can’t transfer that data at a usable speed.

Failed Calls/Calls wrongly sent to Voicemail

More worryingly are the problems with good old fashioned voice calls. It is not uncommon to require half a dozen attempts to place a call and incoming calls will often go straight to voicemail despite having a full network signal. Several work colleagues (both iPhone and non-iPhone) confirm similar experiences with calls on O2. Again this suggests that either the local base station or the network is swamped, so despite a full radio signal, there is no slot to make/receive the call.

Given all this, I decided to be patient and switch networks after the contract expired. Note that this is based entirely on mine and my work colleague’s personal experiences, others’ experience may vary.

Early Upgrade offer

All the above is basically background to the following:

This morning I received a call from Carphone Warehouse (020 8617 5910) offering an ‘early upgrade for loyal customers’. Although I had already chosen to wait, I decided to listen to what they had to offer. I happened to mention that whatever I upgraded to, it wouldn’t be on the O2 network.

“Why not?” I was asked.

I explained about the slow data network (we never got around to the issue making/receiving calls).

“Would you be upgrading to the iPhone 4?” (of course I would)

“Well the iPhone 4 has a much faster processor than your 3G so speed won’t be an issue”

What?! Were they seriously suggesting that a faster CPU in the phone could somehow make up for slow connections within O2’s network. This was one new feature Steve Jobs obviously failed to mention. Despite explaining that no matter how fast the CPU speed it could not make up for the slow connection, and that by their argument my WiFi speed would also be slow (it is not), they kept blaming the speed of the CPU in my iPhone 3G. The sales bod even went away and returned to say that her manager said the same thing. I wonder whether they realised that they were effectively saying the iPhone they had supplied was not fit for purpose.

I smelled a rat. Which network I choose is surely my choice. “Why are we even discussing O2’s network?” I asked before deciding to end the call, “Thanks, but I’ll leave it until my contract has expired when I’ll be shopping around”. “OK, I’ll leave it a few weeks before calling again”. Despite that CPW rang me twice again the same day!

Only after the call did I realise what was going on. Although I purchased the phone through Carphone Warehouse, my contract is with O2, not Carphone Warehouse. CPW are therefore not in a position to release me early from my contract, unless of course it was being sanctioned/offered to them by O2. No wonder they were so defensive about O2’s network, the early upgrade offer would no doubt have been dependent on staying with O2.

I will likely be switching to Vodafone or Orange but this phone call is discouraging me from doing it through Carphone Warehouse.

Update 9th August

Yet another call from CPW (unanswered). I made a comment on twitter to which CPW’s twitter account replied. I have sent them a message through their website requesting that the calls cease.

Update 10th August

Despite an email reply assuring me that I had been removed from their marketing lists, I was called again last night at 20:25, not what I would consider a reasonable time of day for a marketing call, and again this afternoon.

SMS from O2 pushing Wi-Fi

September 8th, 2009 No comments

O2_LogoI’ve just received the following text message from O2 (iPhone provider in the UK):

Get the most of apps and the web by using Wi-Fi, at home or out and about. It’s quicker, especially for apps like video, and really easy to set up. Tap the link and we’ll take you through the steps.

What they’re really saying is “It’s better for us if you don’t use our network for data”. They’re obviously feeling the pinch with data usage. Maybe if they implemented and maintained the data network that we are all paying for then they wouldn’t have a problem.

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Google thinks my iPhone is a malware bot

March 15th, 2009 No comments

Tried using Google while out and about on O2 3G but Google thought I was a malware bot and produced the following message:

iPhone Google Error

Since when has performing a search on Google been classed as suspicious activity?

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