Monday, August 6, 2007

German Mobile Network Operators are now definitely banning the use of VoIP

Vodafone and T-Mobile are now definitely banning the use of VoIP in their mobile networks in Germany. This had been long announced. Yet two years ago Vodafone Germany changed its Terms of Service (TOS) to reserve its right to block VoIP from the 8th of july 2007 on. But they weren't sure whether they would really do it. In february 2007 Vodafone Germany's speaker Heiko Witzke still told me that it was unclear whether or not Vodafone would really adopt the ban.

Now, since the deadline has passed, the German webzine Teltarif inquired and got a straight answer: It's forbidden to use Vodafone Germany's data plans for VoIP, says the press department. The other German mobile telephony providers, E-Plus, O2 and T-Mobile, have similar footnotes in their TOS. T-Mobile even forbids the use of instant messaging over GPRS and 3G. But none of the four companies seems to filter their data traffic for voice packets yet, maybe because this would slow down the entire network.

Crippling VoIP would be really annoying for a friend of mine who recently signed a Vodafone contract to use 3G instead of DSL on his laptop. He doesn't know much about technology but loves to use Skype. With Vodafone's HSDPA and HSUPA 3G he enjoys download speeds of 3,6 Mbps and uploads at 1,45 Mbps in the whole city of Berlin, which makes him quite happy. Vodafone charges him 45 Euros monthly but someone should tell him that he is violating the TOS. I am sure that he would directly cancel his contract.

He had weird problems anyway. The service, Vodafone Mobile Connect, doesn't run on Windows Vista. But as a newbie he has a brandnew laptop with Microsoft's latest OS. We installed everything from CD as told. But it did not work and so we went to a Vodafone shop for a reinstallation. The clerk was quite friendly and invested one hour of his valuable time for a reinstallation, but all in vain. Then we went home and downloaded the latest Vodafone Mobile Connect software from the website and did all possible firmware updates. Still no success, although the Vodafone website tells that the latest software should work with Vista.

Luckily we found this solution which tells how to use the Vodafone 3G PCMCIA card as if it was a normal network adapter. This works great. My friend could uninstall the crappy Vodafone software entirely and is now happily surfing the internet.


  1. Here in the US it usually depends on the plan. If you are unlimited there is normally an unenforced ban on all streaming content(including not only VOIP but stuff like youtube videos and music downloads) Generally if your plan is metered(charged by the MB) you can do what you like. The threat in the fine print is that your bill will be adjusted to the highest possible charges if it is determined that you voilate the fair use policy and could be cancelled. There is generally also a ban on tethering your phone to a laptop if you are on an unlimited data plan.

  2. My friends in germany use phonegnome with O2 genion accounts as a excellent way to recieve VOIP calls via varies DID's and SIP/VOIP accounts on mobiles for free. This also gives reliable circuit switched call quality.


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