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  1.    #1  
    Background:

    I have had a Sony T616 for a year or so and have used the MediaNet unlimited plan off and on as business needs dictate to get internet access (via bluetooth) to my Palm Tungsten and my laptop. A couple weeks ago, I bought a Treo 650 (unlocked GSM) and added MediaNet unlimited to my account via Cingular's web page. Everything has been working great.

    The last few days I have noticed really spotty data service (dropped connections, slow performance, etc). This morning I called Cingular to see if this was a known problem.

    Today's call:

    I spoke with a Cingular rep about my data issues, and she left me a number of times to "check the settings on [my] phone." After a while she said everything seemed fine. At the end of the call, she asked what phone I had and I told her a Treo 650. She immediately went into a rant about how I had the wrong plan, needed to add the DataConnect option for $39.99 and if I didn't, I would be charged per/KB usage fees. After running around in circles with her unable to tell me any difference in the data service of MediaNet vs. DataConnect, I insisted she transfer me to a supervisor.

    I spoke with the supervisor at length. She mostly just parroted what the 1st rep said. We got into a discussion about the definition of a "PDA." My argument being that my Sony T616 also had a calendar, contacts, task list, web browser, etc. Finally we got to the real issue.

    She told me that if that was all I did with the phone, there was no reason to upgrade to DataConnect. "Most people with that phone [the Treo] use it as a modem for their computer. If you don't do that, you don't need DataConnect." I asked her what the difference was between data sent to my phone, and data sent to my phone, then to my laptop. She had no real answer and just kept reiterating that if I didn't use it tethered, I wouldn't "incur usage charges."

    Bottom line is this, Cingular is not monitoring the amount of data you use, since I mentioned things like MobiTV, and she said lots of data was fine. Cingular has no way to know whether your phone is tethered when sending data or not. This whole DataConnect thing is pretty much a scam to charge more for the "unlimited" data usage that is not really "unlimited." No different than the dial-up ISPs that used to boot you for being connected too long on their "unlimited" plans.

    This is pretty much what I figured, but the interesting thing about the whole exchange to me was that as soon as I said I wasn't tethering the Treo and didn't plan on doing so, she was 100% OK with my being on MediaNet.

    Perhaps you violate the "spirit" of the MediaNet Unlimited plan if you tether constantly, but it seems to me that there is no reason (other than PPTP VPN) for anyone using the data mostly on the Treo and occasionally tethering to get anything other than the MediaNet package.

    Hope this helps some people who are confused by Cingular's data policies and plans.

    Regards,
    Bob

    P.S. The data problems were, in fact, related to a couple towers in this area that they are working on.
  2. #2  
    I have a $24.99 unlimited data plan from when I was with ATTWS and I do get charged extra when I connect my laptop to the phone. It's something like $0.001/kb or $1/MB. I don't know how the system knows, but I can assure you it does because on the months I only use the Treo for data (no computer) I don't get the extra data charges. Someone suggested that it was due to using VPN software and that perhaps Cingular assumes if you use VPN related ports that you are tethered. Last month I experimented with just connecting to the web but not activating my laptop's VPN and I didn't get any extra charges. I'm not sure I transferred enough data to the computer, though. I am still experimenting with this.
  3.    #3  
    emuyshondt,

    That's interesting. I used MediaNet exclusively on my T616, and the only time I ever used it was via DUN from either my laptop or my Palm. I never received an overage charge.

    Additionally, if you read their legal notices at: http://www.cingular.com/media/media_legal, you'll see that there is no provision for charging additional when tethered. Their only recourse (according to their legal notices) is to drop you from the plan.

    "Cingular reserves the right to remove customers from MEdia Net packages for the use of a wireless device as an interface to other devices or networks, as determined by Cingular, including but not limited to device tethering."
  4. #4  
    AT&T was a lot different. They actually put measures in place to make sure you didn't tether or use your SIM in a laptop card. Cingular, however, doesn't do this.
    So far every time I hear someone got charged more for tethering it was because they still had Pay per use on their account, Cingular reversed the charges and fixed the problem.
    Treo 750 (AT&T)
    Treo600->Treo650->Cing8525->Blackberry 8700c->Treo750->AT&T Tilt->Treo750->iPhone 3G
  5. #5  
    By the way, thanks Cortopar. The issue of weather or not they monitor capacity and how at least this supervisor views usage of the different plans says a lot to me.
    It sounds like a simple message. If you are going to be using a laptop, get the PDA (now called data connect) plan. If you're just using the phone for web, email, and even Mobi TV, then Media Net is fine. I would even go as far to aruge that if you're the rare once to twice a month light tetherer you could still use Media Net.
    "Pay for what you use, Please"
    Treo 750 (AT&T)
    Treo600->Treo650->Cing8525->Blackberry 8700c->Treo750->AT&T Tilt->Treo750->iPhone 3G

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