News Opinion

We can’t get the basics correct. We simply can’t!

Here, then, is yet another depressing illustration of how screwed the mobile industry is. It doesn’t matter how enterprising you’d like to be, or how innovative you’re mobile developers are, or how many 80 hour weeks you’re working away… if I can’t access your services on my device, then you don’t exist.

But, at least, most folk have internet enabled on their handset, right? Billing for data, now that’s another issue. But most folk have it activated. At least, ok… let me qualify that: If you’ve been given a *new* handset by your mobile operator recently — in the last two years or so — it should work. It should have MMS settings, data settings, it should have all that gubbins’ that the meta mobile industry depends on.

(By ‘meta mobile industry’, I mean the folk around it. The folk who give value to it. Beyond just calling and texting.)

It’s all good, yeah?


I write this as another reminder so that in years to come, we can look back and see why it took 25 years to properly ‘mobilise’ the United Kingdom (as an example country) when it really should have taken 5.

I just took delivery of a new top-of-the-range (at the moment) Nokia N95 8GB, on my T-Mobile UK account. It’s a T-Mobile branded device, configured with all their settings.

Or so I thought.

I fired up the phone and tried connecting to the web. (I was looking for the 3.5G sign). Nothing.

‘Ok, perhaps there’s a signal issue in this area,’ I thought, since I was out in the sticks. I tried again when I got into London. No. No data.

‘Maybe the settings aren’t correct?’ I had a poke about. Looked ok.

I connected to my local WiFi fine. Just, my N95 8GB data settings appeared screwed.

Five days after switching on the device, I got this text message.


Reply to this text for free? What does that mean? Do you send a blank text? Or…? Screw it. I sent a text message with the word ‘hi’ in it. Just in case.

I got these two messages back:


Weird. I’ve already got ‘T-Mobile Internet’ on my device as an access point (that one isn’t working). So why would I need Web’N’Walk?

Whatever. I installed them both.


I won’t bore you with the stupid blank-screen screenshots.

So what am I supposed to do now, T-Mobile?

Obviously I will arse about with the device and try and get it working. I’ll phone them to check that they’ve, er, enabled data on my account. And, I’ll generally mess about until it works.

But, let’s just assume that, this morning, 100 people took delivery of their new N95 8GBs from T-Mobile on an 18 month contract. How many of them aren’t able to access data on their device? And how many of them will actually phone up and complain? Most will, I’m sure, simply assume that ‘it don’t work’ and leave it there.

How depressing.

How shit does a mobile network operator need to be, to deliver me a NEW top of the range device that is incorrectly setup?

I thought we’d sorted all this, I really did.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

29 replies on “We can’t get the basics correct. We simply can’t!”

If I were you.. i'd change the product code, flash to the latest (and greatest) firmware and get the settings sent from the T-Mobile website. You won't look back.. promise!


oooh you're bang up to date! Well thats a good thing I suppose.. Personally I would change the product code and flash it again to have the 'vanilla' firmware rather than the T-Mobile branded shizzle. When you DO get it working, grab the newest version of Nokia Maps (making sure you download the maps with Nokia Map Loader!) – it really does rock! Actually Google Maps 2.2 (I think) for the S60 is great too – even has train times! 🙂


Normobs may think they are getting a fully configured handset out of the box but that never happens. Settings are rarely set up correctly and require too much fiddling by the user.
Companies I deal with just want to put a SIM in the handset and all the configurations and software they want for a particular handset type/firmware is automatically downloaded and installed. So that's what we try to provide. Autodiscovery of the handset / SIM combo, leads to a database lookup of the user and config/email/security/software requirements, then automatically setup and zero touch user involvement .
Sounds like a sales pitch – sorry.
But this is what the networks could have provided years ago, and could do now, but can't be bothered.

that message should have been sent to you when it picked up the IMEI change. It came through straight away with when i put my sim in an n82.
My biggest problem was access points there are so many to choose from I think 4 in total. T Mobile Internet, T zones, T-Mobile Picture Message, T Mobile MMS and Web and walk. How the hell are you suppose to know which one to use?

Hey, I know it may sound silly, but how does the phone react to the “Sett. Wizard” application? It came in handy when I was setting my Vodafone Germany N73 to Plus settings (Plus is a Polish carrier partially owned by Voda), and didn't want to fiddle with messages with settings. I selected the Sett. Wizard, which was in the Tools menu, and it automatically detected my carrier and put in the correct settings. Also, I'm not sure if that option is present in branded handsets, but you can always try.

This is all very depressing. The more I hear the more I'm confident I did exactly the right thing staying with 3UK (2 phone accounts and a data dongle). In fact, it's starting to perplex me as to why they're not the market leader by now. Every service I've ever had from them just works, their call and data packages have to be the best (still!), coverage has never been a problem, EU roaming is dirt cheap now and they have a respectable handset line-up. What on earth are T-Mobile up to?!

I hate to tell you Ewan, but this sounds somewhat similar to my fiasco with Blyk. Maybe the other networks will copy their “gracious” customer services too?
For everyone's sake, I sincerely hope that this isn't the case.

If the automatic settings fail to work, try and look around for manual settings (yes, long, and boring), they might work.

Ahh, why do networks do this?


Yep, and you're left feeling rather useless. Why simple things such as settings can't work, is actually beyond me.
I'm guessing you may have already, but have you phoned up T-Mobile to complain and find out what is going on?


No Ewan! You of all people cannot lose hope!

Us mobile users, and customers have to make a stand. Even if we're in the minorities, nothing ever gets changed if we insist on plodding along with the norm.

My attempt to be philosophical, but you can get what I mean.

Go on Ewan, don't let T-Mobile weaken you by accepting a poor service!


Just delete all the settings you've been sent and get them re-sent by the website – its fairly quick and painless – beats speaking to someone in India for 15 mins..


I feel your pain (it was my six week anniversary of Blyk not working yesterday), but I mean, there is hope.

And, T-Mobile arn't all that bad. Yes, their signal is crappy, and they charge too much for bad quality ringtones; but it can be fixed.

Don't lose hope!

(This is me being very optimistic here, a rarity in this form – relinquish it!)


<repeates to self: mustn't rehash S60 Select Access Point……er, point>

Yes, T-Mobile have done a mini-T5 (t5?) on this, by the look.

er….this is just as much to do with Nokia/Symbian IMHO – I mean, all this multiple Access Point bollocks?

<bugger. Bangs head against chest of drawers in Dobby-The-House-Elf-like fashion>

It's not just T-Mobile, I've got a ZTE broadband dongle from 3 that came pre-configured with the APN “3internet” which didn't work until I created a profile that used the “” APN which works perfectly every time.

The documents also say to insert the CD-Rom… which it doesn't come with since the drivers are provided by the device itself using USB mass storage.

Well that's odd. cos as soon as one puts the sim in the phone the message comes thru within minutes. The rare occasion some bits may be missing. I know the feeling though. O2 couldn't get it right when I connected to them in January. OK I correct myself, I got my K850i from carphone warehouse and there were settings for all 5 Networks in it and none of the O2 settings were correct. All these places just dont know how to get it done. I am sure I could Rant on about the faults of O2 but I wont go there

I've just sent my post. And I gotta add something. In reply to Samantha's post. I'm sorry but you are kinda wrong. T-Mobile's Signal is one of the best. including their 3G coverage. Orange is the WORST I've ever come across.
BUT… all that in here in South Wales.

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