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Tethering and Mobile Phone Packages

ProssPross Posts: 26,988
edited June 2013 in The cake stop
I'm just switching off an O2 contract and thinking of going to Giff Gaff on an 'unlimited' data package. I haven't been using that much data on my phone so far (about 40mb per month apparently) but want to be able to use my phone / ipad to watch TV, listen to the radio etc. without worrying about going over a data limit. The only problem with Giff Gaff and the similar priced packages on Three is that they both don't allow tethering. The question is how do they know? I could legitimately watch a film through my mobile phone but would be breaching the T&Cs if I were to watch exactly the same thing on my ipad via my phone to get a bigger screen which just seems ridiculous. Do they just monitor your data usage and assume that if you use huge amounts of gigs that you are tethering (even though you could just be using your phone) or do they have software that can detect what sort of device is connected? Will they bother stopping you as long as your data usage isn't stupidly high? I can't understand why they don't just have different limit levels rather than claiming it is unlimited data and banning tethering :?

Posts

  • Pross wrote:
    ... or do they have software that can detect what sort of device is connected?
    Assuming they're not supplying you with the phone (in which case they can stop tethering at the phone easily), it's possible to pick up a lot of information about the device making http requests from the request headers. All they need to do is watch your http requests and pick out the browser info and block anything that doesn't come from something that's clearly a mobile phone browser.
    Mangeur
  • ProssPross Posts: 26,988
    Pross wrote:
    ... or do they have software that can detect what sort of device is connected?
    Assuming they're not supplying you with the phone (in which case they can stop tethering at the phone easily), it's possible to pick up a lot of information about the device making http requests from the request headers. All they need to do is watch your http requests and pick out the browser info and block anything that doesn't come from something that's clearly a mobile phone browser.

    Thanks. So would they do that as a matter of course or would it take abnormal data usage to trigger them checking? I assume it is easy enough to run a programme that automatically flags such usage? Also, if I was tethering an ipad through a phone would that register differently to browsing through an iphone? If it's likely to be an issue I would rather go for a Three package that does allow tethering for an extra £7 but would have to get my phone unlocked.
  • I've genuinely got no idea, but I would have thought that a system to monitor request headers such as that would watch all traffic. The iPad browser has a different identification string to the iPhone browser, so yes, they would be able to differentiate between devices if that's how they were doing it.

    For what it's worth, you can see the difference in agent string by visiting...

    http://pgl.yoyo.org/http/browser-headers.php
    Mangeur
  • ProssPross Posts: 26,988
    Cheers. I'm not very techy so find all this stuff confusing. I might just try it and if they stop me I'll move to Three instead and I can always argue I'm not tethering, I'm using my phone as a wifi hotspot which is technically a different thing!
  • My iPhone on O2 shows how much data is tethered through it to another device as you have to turn on the "personal hotspot".
    Don't know about 3 but I imagine they know as otherwise everyone would be doing it anD avoiding the extra £7 pm.

    Good luck
    2010 Specialized FSRxc
    2011 Giant Defy 4
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    Tesco are 02 service and around the cheapest package available.
    Living MY dream.
  • neilrobinsneilrobins Posts: 102
    I am on 3 and can tether within my contract, you just have to choose the right contract, I think mine is called "the One"
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