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Android Susceptible To Apps That Turn On Roaming

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the would-love-to-see-an-actual-toggle-switch dept.

Cellphones 136

fermion writes "If seems that Google's Android and T-Mobile have not learned from the bad experience and wrath Apple incurred with roaming charges on the iPhone. Applications can switch to roaming and data operation without the user's knowledge. Also, according to The Register, there is no way to switch off roaming. Given the backlash that Apple experienced over international roaming charges, one would think that T-Mobile would have built a phone to prevent such unexpected charges." From the wording of the article, the inability to turn off roaming seems to be on a per-application basis; users can evidently disable it globally.

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Solution: (5, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090597)

When traveling, only do so in a faraday cage.

Re:Solution: (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092767)

Yeah.

And who's been drinking my turpentine?

Roaming charges are ridiculous. (4, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090651)

What reasonable explanation can exist for charging me an extra 50 cents per minute, just because I made a call from Maryland instead of Pennsylvania? I can't think of any. Cingular used to do that to me, but now I use Virgin Mobile which did away with that nonsense (I pay a flat 18 cents anywhere in the U.S.). That's how all cellphones should operate.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (4, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090737)

What reasonable explanation can exist for charging me an extra 50 cents per minute, just because I made a call from Maryland instead of Pennsylvania? I can't think of any. Cingular used to do that to me, but now I use Virgin Mobile which did away with that nonsense (I pay a flat 18 cents anywhere in the U.S.). That's how all cellphones should operate.

Ah, to summarize with maximum efficiency negating your "reasonable" request for an answer: Because they can.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

molotovjester (1273662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092943)

Ah to summarize the rebuttal with maximum efficiency to which no further argument can be made:
NO U

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093199)

which is why we should replace closed/proprietary cellular networks with open wifi access. rather than putting artificial limits on technology to suit the telecom industry's outdated business model, we should be doing away with these restrictive business models as they are quickly becoming a technological anachronism.

it just doesn't make sense to maintain a bunch of redundant specialized communications networks that are wholly owned and tightly controlled by a handful of telecoms who continually ream the public with extortionate rates and arbitrary penalties. what we should instead be doing is laying out more fiber to increase FttN/FttH penetration (and catch up to Europe, Russia, Japan, South Korea, etc. in broadband speeds/pricing), and then roll out municipal WiFi/WiMax networks, replacing cell towers with open wireless access points. and with ubiquitous wireless internet access, VoIP handsets can be developed that aren't crippled by cellphone carriers, don't have roaming charges, and don't charge you for sending or receiving text messages.

the internet is a public network that's been established with open standards and is suited for all types of digital communications, whether it's text, audio/voice, video, or just binary data. and unlike with cellular networks, you don't need any kind of carrier approval to design/sell hardware that connects to the internet. as a result, anyone and everyone is free to develop new applications using the network. that is one of the main reasons for the internet's rapid growth and unparalleled usefulness. cellular networks, OTOH, by their closed/proprietary nature actually impede the development of new applications & technologies. just compare the innovation and technological progress achieved using the internet over the past decade with the limited progress achieved by cellular networks in the same time span.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (3, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090939)

It wasn't just Cingular, it was the company that they were buying the airtime from.

Virgin Mobile skirts the problem by *only* working on Sprint's network. You simply don't have the option to use other networks, even if Sprint doesn't have coverage.

See, each company only has towers in some areas, and you probably actually have less coverage with Virgin than you did with Cingular+roaming.

Maybe you had a regional plan (where you get more minutes for less money, in exchange for less coverage), but I bet that it was a tower issue.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (4, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091185)

I think the whole "it's expensive to buy airtime from our roaming partners" thing is a crock of shit. If they all charge eachother some ridiculous rate for roaming onto their network, and that is passed straight to the end consumer, then it's price fixing. It was more transparently stupid here in Europe when you were roaming from T-Mobile UK to T-Mobile Germany and being charged through the nose for roaming onto a network that belongs to the same parent company. There was no excuse along the lines of "we charge ourselves a lot for roaming", so ultimately it was very easy for the parliment to demand a drop in roaming fees and, when the companies disregarded this, legislate a maximum fee.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (3, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091359)

Sure. The roaming minutes do represent an ongoing cost though, as opposed to the regular minutes, which are essentially a fixed cost, so part of the high charges is to discourage use.

The U.S. cellular system is a disaster anyway; the FCC should have licensed two networks and then regulated the shit out of them (basically, let them have customer facing operations, but force them to sell bulk rate airtime at or near cost). Instead, we have 3.5 incomplete networks. The huge investment in CDMA was nice for the rest of the world though.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092179)

Right, roaming charges themselves are justifiable (you're getting access to a range of extra networks you wouldn't normally use), which is easy to forget when getting wound up about how large they are.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092567)

Why is it my phones and minutes have both been so cheap if things are such a disaster?

I haven't been charged roaming in 6 years, I consistently pay less than friends in Europe, and my phones are usually free.

OK, I admit, when i was in Europe, I payed roaming, even on my own network (but kept my US number), and the furthest I've ever been without roaming is 2000 miles.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092861)

Probably because you spend most of your time in areas with good coverage and think that present prices for minutes are cheap. I am presuming that better regulation could actually result in even lower prices (which I would claim is a good thing for consumers), and better overall coverage.

get a haircut and a job and a shower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092961)

Forced? Regulated? Let them do this, stop them doing that? Fuck you and all the other stinking communist hippies.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091233)

Well Cingular owns virtually every tower in Maryland, so I shouldn't have been paying any kind of roaming charge.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (3, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091407)

Okay, then you almost certainly signed up for a regional plan in order to get more minutes/dollar (versus a national plan)

AT&T will sell you either, so you are basically complaining that they offer the option.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26095715)

Uh... actually my complaint is more about a single company charging me different rates simply because I crossed a state border. IMHO if they charge 25 cents a minute when I'm home, then that same company should charge 25 cents when I'm in Maryland. Charging me 75 is ridiculous.

For example when I cross the border, my bank doesn't charge me different rates for services. Why should the cellphone company?

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (4, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091275)

It wasn't that long ago that in the Augusta, Maine area an AT&T or T-Mobile customer was confronted with a carrier that did not negotiate a roaming agreement. They just refused to. So if youmade a call, you got the recording telling you how to give your credit card number and the charges that would apply.

I suspect it had something to do with Augusta being the state capital, and legislators from all over coming into town for the current session. Bringing their phones from Fort Kent, Portland, Boothbay, Farmington, etc., and all the AT&T/TMob subscribers just thinking it would work.

Later on, AT&T and/or TMob got service in the area. This carrier, if it latched onto your phone, would not let it go, especially if you came into town from the North or West. You had to get downtown and power cycle your phone usually, and maybe do that three times.

This humored me when I had a Siemens S46, the dual-mode-phone-from-hell. This carrier kept me on TDMA at all costs, even when I could have gone to GSM and gotten T-Mobile.

But that's another story. Sometimes, roaming isn't so nice. It ought to be different, but then again so many things ought to be different.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26093823)

Bringing their phones from Fort Kent, Portland, Boothbay, Farmington, etc., and all the AT&T/TMob subscribers just thinking it would work.

Yeah, well, that's just crazy, expecting phones which are technically capable of using a network to "just" do so.

IMHO there should be a separation between network operators and billing operators. Phones should simply request a desired service from the network and offer fixed-value tokens in return, which the customer buys from the billing operator. The network operators can then redeem the collected tokens for payout of the tokens' nominal value. Billing operators would compete on the asking price of the tokens, network operators would compete on the amount of tokens per unit of service.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26094669)

Later on, AT&T and/or TMob got service in the area. This carrier, if it latched onto your phone, would not let it go, especially if you came into town from the North or West. You had to get downtown and power cycle your phone usually, and maybe do that three times.

That is actually pretty standard. Once your call roams to another network, the other network's hand off mappings are only configured for their own towers. So the only way to get off of a "roaming" network is to end your call, disable the roaming feature on your phone (or return to an area where your carrier has the best signal).

It's been a few years since I've been in the industry, but I would be surprised if the major players haven't been optimizing their phones and networks to try to get off network calls handed off back to the carrier's network.

-Rick

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26095539)

I mentioned this because at the time it was not the norm. I regularly was in roaming, and would switch back easily (or at least quickly) when the home network was in range.

Now, along Route 1 on the coast, there was a stretch from about Bath to Rockland where I could NOT get service. After a particularly long session with AT&T (My T637 at the time), we found that my phone was indeed properly configured but no answer as to why I couldn't get service they said was available from 3 different roaming partners. After a few weeks, magic, it worked! I called back to the tech I was working with, and after a half-hour of finding who did it, turns out they had never properly configured the roaming arrangements, and had been paying for access and never using any minutes - no one could connect due to the software errors.

Amazing.

Now, the August carrier was a different breed of cat. When I called their customer service number and asked if they couldn't work out some roaming arrangement with AT&T, the first rep immediately became hostile. His response was that 'they don't want to work anything out. Call AT&T and tell them to get their head out of their ^&*". I called AT&T. A much more gracious supervisor reported that they had been 'unable' to work out an agreement. After 3 years of this B.S. I met a former network technician for the Augusta carrier. he told me, in confidence at the time, that his boss wanted an outrageous roaming plan, close to a dollar a minute, and no reciprocity. I thought this was pretty much baloney, but it turns out:

1. When AT&T first approached them, there was no service nearby, just this carrier. They had AT&T over a barrel, and asked for too much. No deal.

2. A year later, AT&T got permission to build in the area, but not in the neighborhood, go figure. The local carrier tried everything to stop them, and it was scorched earth after that.

3. The local carrier's policy was to blam AT&T. They may have been right, but no one I knew who had worked for them considered it a positive experience.

4. I heard from a buddy that the roaming thing is fixed in the phone configs now, and this carrier is limped along until TDMA died. I think they sold out to Verizon, since their towers would be the only asset worth a buck. And good riddance.

Cell service out in the hinterlands is an interesting experience. I once ran up a $1200 roaming bill in a month. About 450 minutes, IIRC,back in the old NAMPS days. I was the second-highest bill in the entire state of Maine that month. Woot!

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090959)

What reasonable explanation can exist for charging me an extra 50 cents per minute, just because I made a call from Maryland instead of Pennsylvania? I can't think of any. Cingular used to do that to me, but now I use Virgin Mobile which did away with that nonsense (I pay a flat 18 cents anywhere in the U.S.). That's how all cellphones should operate.

Why do you hate capitalism?!?

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (4, Insightful)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091249)

Ah, but this isn't capitalism - this is regulations, bught and paid for, allowing avoidance of capitalism. Capitalism allows competition - we have given competition away (ok, ok - sold out cheap) in exchange of supposed expensive infrastructure.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (5, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092165)

Ah, but this isn't capitalism - this is regulations, bught and paid for, allowing avoidance of capitalism. Capitalism allows competition - we have given competition away (ok, ok - sold out cheap) in exchange of supposed expensive infrastructure.

Truly free capitalism degenerates pretty quickly into monopolies and cartels (which are illegal for a reason). Once someone has a stranglehold on the market it does not allow competition as it is not in the interests of incumbents to give up power, and they have the means to easily crush any smaller companies (price fixing, bribery, coercion, subsidies below cost until the competitor goes under, etc etc).

The only way to ensure that doesn't happen is to introduce the regulations that you affect to despise.

Throwing out ten thousand babies (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093425)

Truly free capitalism degenerates pretty quickly into monopolies and cartels (which are illegal for a reason).

Not always, but even when so you can still make exploitation of monopoly status illegal (remember, it's not illegal to be wildly successful - only to EXPLOIT that position for unfair gain) while leaving the market otherwise open and unregulated.

Instead what you have with lots of regulation is the muct worse case where you have a cartel that cannot be expelled from the market by a better competitor - because over time regulations are worked to favor the existing players in the market. That's why you see so much ossification around things like car companies, electronics makers, etc. etc. - just the cost of complying with regulations is a wide moat to cross for a small company.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092681)

18 cents a minute is extraordinarily expensive.

Very quickly you get into the unlimited everything monthly rate plans other carriers offer.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091021)

Well, even with a flat 18 cents a minute, if I write an app that uses that connection all the time, it's going to cost you 24*60*0.18=259.2 dollars per _day_.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091293)

>>>if I write an app that uses that connection all the time

Why on earth would you do that? You definitely wouldn't get away with it though, since my phone only had $60 on it. It would drain dry in 5 hours and I would dispute the charge with my company as being "ridiculous; I wasn't talking for 5 hours today".

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (0, Troll)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091459)

Why on earth would you do that?

A bug? Using some third party library which talks to itself over the external IP address? Sheer incompetence?

Don't underestimate the sheer amount of bloody stupidity in the industry.

Note that it doesn't even have to actually stuff the pipe all the time. It just needs to ping something once a minute. It's an easier task to achieve by sheer idiotic mistake than you'd think.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093719)

It's an easier task to achieve by sheer idiotic mistake than you'd think.

There speaks the voice of experience...

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091273)

It costs millions to build and maintain a tower.

When you go into roaming, you are using your provider's competitor's network. The competition wants to make money to pay for their tower, and you are not their customer, so they are going to bill your provider an arm an a leg for access, and your provider will pass those costs on to you.

Even more so, the more the competition charges for roaming calls, the more upset you will be with your provider, and if you need to go into roaming often enough, you will be more likely to leave your provider and join up with the very competitor that had been billing 50 cents a minute for the same call you are now making for 10 cents a minute.

Although, with all the new peering and leasing agreements going on, we'll likely see less and less of roaming fees from any provider that owns some amount of their own towers.

-Rick

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (3, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091453)

It costs millions to build and maintain a tower.

Sure, if you maintain it for 27 centuries.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26094593)

Your inability to calculate TCO doesn't actually make it cheaper:

From a Cingular Press release.

Cingular Wireless has spent almost $90 million building more than 30 new cell sites throughout Indiana in 2005. This includes key sites in the following Indianapolis areas...

-Rick

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26094891)

Although, with all the new peering and leasing agreements going on, we'll likely see less and less of roaming fees from any provider that owns some amount of their own towers.

True, despite all the ads, Alltel's and Verizon's networks are essentially identical today. My alltel* phone will work anywhere the identical model Verizon branded one will.

No roaming or long distance charges in 99.9% of the USA that gets cellphone coverage.

*Because Alltel offered me a plan that works out ~$5/month cheaper.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26095087)

Same is true in Wisconsin. In the late 90's early 2000's US Cellular covered Wisconsin in CDMA towers and networks.

At first Sprint and Verizon were only covering major metros and interstates. But in order to be competitive in the area they needed more coverage. And US Cellular, while having an awesome network, didn't have the cash on hand to advertise and push demand. So Verizon buys (or leases, I have no idea on the details) service on US Cellular's network. Verizon went from insignificant coverage to almost total coverage of the state and US Cellular gets a nice chunk of change to pay for the network and their own growth.

-Rick

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091815)

What reasonable explanation can exist for charging me an extra 50 cents per minute, just because I made a call from Maryland instead of Pennsylvania? I can't think of any.

I can... it makes them RICHER.

Your cellphone company hates you and wants to rob you blind. When you understand that fact, you will have a far better understand of how Corporations do business.

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092431)

>>Virgin Mobile which did away with that nonsense (I pay a flat 18 cents anywhere in the U.S.). That's how all cellphones should operate.

No nono -- I pay a flat .10/minute and .05 per message with Net10 which runs through Tracphone which in turn is AT&T's network. Why would I want .18/minute? No monthly fees, no $10/mo taxes, notta. Just .10/minute and that's it. $30 for two months of service and 300 minutes, which includes tax.

That's how it should be :)

Re:Roaming charges are ridiculous. (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092517)

What reasonable explanation can exist for charging me an extra 50 cents per minute

You signed a contract and they want your money. Seems very reasonable to me.

Not true, marketplace apps tell exactly info (4, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090723)

Sounds like BS to me..

1) go here: http://tmobile.modeaondemand.com/htc/g1/ [modeaondemand.com]
2) click Simulation
3) Click the arrow icon on the screen to the right
4) click market
5) select any app
6) click install

Look at this screen. It tells you exactly what the app does.

Re:Not true, marketplace apps tell exactly info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090777)

[original research]

Re:Not true, marketplace apps tell exactly info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091445)

[Please wikify this article or section]

Re:Not true, marketplace apps tell exactly info (0, Offtopic)

One Monkey (1364919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091377)

1) go here: http://tmobile.modeaondemand.com/htc/g1/ [modeaondemand.com]
2) click Simulation
3) ...
4) Profit!

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Not true, marketplace apps tell exactly info (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091463)

But the big thing about Android is that you aren't limited to the Market Place for apps.... And who gets to write that text anyhow? The developers? Google?

Re:Not true, marketplace apps tell exactly info (2, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091535)

I can only assume here, but it's probably auto generated by looking at what parts of the android API your program accesses.

Re:Not true, marketplace apps tell exactly info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091999)

Correct. Your application has to explicitly define what permissions it will need. The user is then prompted to grant those permissions to the application before installation.

Re:Not true, marketplace apps tell exactly info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26093517)

That information is not written by anyone it's based on the actual APIs the application uses.

You have to dig in to the settings and explicitly allow non-market apps if you want to use them so you're taking responsibility for choosing apps at that point.

Bad summary (5, Informative)

jettoblack (683831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090731)

The problem is that the Android OS doesn't strictly enforce its global "Disable Data Roaming" option. Apps are supposed to respect this setting but some do not, thus a user who thinks it is disabled can still end up with $thousands in international data fees.

Thanks for the explanation (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090841)

This looks like a platform flaw to me.

Re:Thanks for the explanation (3, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091629)

They should buy a Symbian S60 or even a modern J2ME handset and see how strict you gotta be on communications network which user pays for bytes. Google embraced and extended J2ME but passed its sandbox/security model?

Everyone keeps hating Symbian and J2ME security model but it seems as the only way to make best of both open competition and security. Nokia and others learned it very hard and expensive way.

Re:Thanks for the explanation (1)

jmpvm (6160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092437)

It has nothing to do with sandboxes or security models. Nor does this have anything to do with Google not "screening" applications before they go on Market.

This has to do with the fact that the API allows applications to toggle this setting. The decision to expose that can (and should, in my opinion) be scrutinized, but it has nothing to do with security models, sandboxes, or "Apple being better". (To also comment to some other's responses)

Re:Bad summary (0, Flamebait)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091153)

You would have thought that the sandbox would prevent applications from doing unsanctioned things. This also gives more credibility to Apple's policy of validating third-party applications, despite possible flaws in the process.

Re:Bad summary (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091547)

Why? Do you honestly think Apple would catch something like this? They didn't the first time, and it was their own applications! The vetting process is not QA.

The problem is the disconnect between "roaming" and "network access". Roaming is not a technical issue. Roaming is not a security issue. It is an arbitrary external billing issue. The sandbox probably should enforce it, but I'm not surprised it is merely a suggestion. As far as I know, none of the other platforms include it in their set of capabilities.

Re:Bad summary (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093515)

Why? Do you honestly think Apple would catch something like this? They didn't the first time, and it was their own applications!

Nice try, but those are two completely different things.

Re:Bad summary (3, Informative)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091731)

It doesn't give ANY credibility to Apple.

J2ME security model, Symbian Security model which nears a billion installed base wouldn't do a mistake like that and yet there is no "Nokia Store" prison or "Sun Store" lock in.

Here is Symbian security model (295K pdf) http://www.symbian.com/files/rx/file3202.pdf [symbian.com]

J2ME security (Symbian also carries J2ME) http://developers.sun.com/mobility/midp/articles/permissions/ [sun.com]

It can't be used as excuse for Apple draconian policies. Apple's security policy on iPhone is: Nobody should never, ever compete with their iTunes on device.

Re:Bad summary (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092067)

You would have thought that the sandbox would prevent applications from doing unsanctioned things.

I agree. It's pretty disappointing.

This also gives more credibility to Apple's policy of validating third-party applications, despite possible flaws in the process.

Not really. It just gives credibility to testing the platform in general. Now this Android flaw is known and can be fixed. A central authority validating each app might have even ended up hiding the flaw.

Re:Bad summary (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091287)

Summary's not bad, just incomplete because it doesn't tell you the worst part. Not only can you not turn off roaming, it makes you think you have when you haven't.

Re:Bad summary (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091497)

No, that's wrong.

It's turned off however if you use an application that accesses the internet, that application may not respect the setting.

Hence it's the application maintainers fault, however it's also Android's fault for not forcing this in the first place.

Re:Bad summary (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093141)

It's turned off however if you use an application that accesses the internet, that application may not respect the setting.

If an application can choose to ignore the off setting, it isn't turned off. It's suggested off, hinted off or wished off.

A master setting isn't much of a master setting if it can be ignored.

that's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092065)

Software needs to come with a warranty as to suitability for purpose. Stuff like this that does considerable economic harm to the end user when they aren't doing anything wrong needs to be slammed right back at the developers and distributors economically until they cover the damages and fix what is broken or they can admit reality they are in over their head and go do something else for a living or just code games that aren't designed to be networked on the internet/telco system. That EULA nonsense that says "nothing is our fault" is beyond BS at this time. 40-50 years ago maybe software needed a little time to get up to speed to be classed and treated as normal consumer products, but not today, they should be treated like any other consumer product. They want the profits, they should be able to have a warranty.

Re:that's why (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092869)

Amen. Wish I had mod points because you put it well. Software EULA statements are the most outrageous things in the world. We click accept because we want to use the programs and there doesn't really seem to be an alternative. But if people understood the language in these I think there would be more of a backlash to them. It's like a car company saying that they're not liable if their transmission falls off the chassis, it's just insane.

Re:Bad summary (1)

grs1969 (238182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093449)

By coincidence I was reading about how applications work on Android earlier this week and was quite impressed with the security model.

Application packages have to declare the permissions that they need and those permissions are then granted or denied at install time. So presumably an application should have to declare that it wants to be able to control roaming and the phone user can deny it the ability to do so.

I would want to know if Android supports defaults for permissions, so that permission for turning on roaming can be set to always denied.

Also, do the global phone settings always override requests from apps to change them ? For instance, at some time the user might want a app to manage roaming for them, but at another they might want to firmly turn roaming off.

Another issue with automatic SMS.... (1)

mrboyd (1211932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26094163)

You are correct. Sadly this is a design flaw that was probably understood as a feature by Google with hope it would force all network to come up with unlimited data plan.

More precisely you have absolutely no control on which applications does what on the network once they are installed. Authorization to use the network (any network type, wifi, 3g, edge etc.) is given at installation time and is unrevocable.

This is a terrible mistake. By definition the environment of a mobile phone will change, people will travel, some carrier do not have unlimited data plan. It's obvious that at some point someone will connect a G1 to another network than t-mobile and pay for that mistake.

When I travel, sometime for extended period of time, I use local SIM cards to avoid paying roaming fees to my operator (not t-mobile). I had to turn off 3g connections by deleting all APN entries to make sure that no applications would use those network.

There is Another niceness which this time is T-Mobile US fault and not google's that didn't get any exposure. The MyFaves application that is hidden deep inside the contact manager needs to update it's status by automatically sending SMS to T-Mobile. When the phone is used on another network than T-Mobile the application bugs and starts sending SMS every few minutes potentially costing a fortune to the owner. There is no way to remove it for the retards at T-Mo decided the best way to implements the feature was to butcher the default contact provider (the "library" that every other application uses to read the contact list) of the android codebase instead of creating a standalone application.

Some smart people at xda-developer (http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=448) have found a way around it for the lucky few who have one of the original firmware that can be rooted and upgraded with a custom image.

For other people even if they have received their unlock code from T-Mobile, if they have tried to put another SIM they might end up with a very ugly bill at the end of the month.

There is a toggle for roaming (just checked) (1)

binary.bang (1372881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090763)

Just checked my G1, there's a setting to enable/disable data roaming. Maybe they're referring to Apps that can toggle that setting?

Re:There is a toggle for roaming (just checked) (2, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090793)

T-Mobile has issued an official response (posted in full after the break) to clear things up, and the gist of it is this: for users with a bone stock G1, the "Off" selection in data roaming should work fine, but third-party applications can essentially override this command and wreak havoc on one's phone bill. From the horse's mouth: "Some third-party applications available for download on Android Market require access to the internet and have the ability to turn on data roaming when in use. Customers are informed whether an application will use this feature prior to downloading, but should also be aware when traveling outside the country."

So in short, disable data roaming and don't use the apps which access your internet.

Re:There is a toggle for roaming (just checked) (0, Redundant)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093355)

If I disable roaming from a system-wide preference. It should do exactly that, disable roaming. 3rd party apps should not be override that. It's assinine to expect users to remember all the details about how every program on their system may or may not use various system resources.

This is the kind of thing, user experience, that Apple gets right and why Android isn't an iPhone killer.

Re:There is a toggle for roaming (just checked) (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093713)

When it is an "open" platform, applications can do whatever in the heck is possible. If the application requires Internet access to be useful, people would complain that the application did not work when data roaming was disabled. So the application authors take it upon themselves to insure that their application functions properly at all times.

Now, is this the right way to do it? Possibly not, but it is a choice that application authors can make for themselves.

Such devices are entirely too complicated to require each individual user run through a list of authorizations for each application. Blackberry has this and it would be a nightmare if it was really exposed to individual users. Normally, this is something the administrator does through authorizing the phone on the company BES system.

Re:There is a toggle for roaming (just checked) (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26094267)

This should be trivial to implement, even with the system being open.

If roaming is turned off as a general system level preference, the TCP/IP stack (substitute appropriate data network interface) should be disabled when the phone is in roaming mode. Open or not, that's something easy to enforce at the system level.

If I turn off TCP/IP in Windows, I get no TCP/IP traffic, regardless of whether programs want it or not. The only option at that point is for a program to provide its own TCP/IP stack which there really isn't much incentive to do except in very specialized situations. Disabling data roaming should work the same way on an Android and is something fully within the power of Google to dictate and setup.

Assuming developers will check general system config files and respect them is a flawed development model that leads to the kind of security problems that Windows has. If the setting isn't enforced, then what is the point of having the setting?

Re:There is a toggle for roaming (just checked) (1)

mrboyd (1211932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26094263)

The problem is deeper than that. You can't be sure that the application is not running. Any application you install could register an "intend" listener that would automatically wake up the application when for example an SMS or a Call is received. Or every 10 minutes.. or for whatever other reason.
The fact is the Android platform gives the user zero control on what an application can do once it is installed. Authorization are set at installation time and definitive.

If they couldn't... they'd still bitch... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090789)

If applications were restricted from using the full functionality of the phone, then people would complain about that.

Either you trust your applications, or you don't. If you don't trust them, you run them in a sandbox. If you trust them, and a third-party application does something you don't like, blame the application.

Re:If they couldn't... they'd still bitch... (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090861)

No this is not the way things should work. The "roaming disabled" should be like a firewall. It should be possible to add exceptions for explicit applications, and those apps could recommend you did this during install - but it should be up to you.

Re:If they couldn't... they'd still bitch... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090947)

I have no dog in this hunt. My desktop operating system of choice has a variety of security features that restrict applications from blithely changing settings, and has had since before Windows was a twinkle in Bill Gates' eye. I'm just noting the existence of an existential tension in the commentary on Slashdot. :)

Re:If they couldn't... they'd still bitch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091553)

Thank you for pointing out the obvious...

Re:If they couldn't... they'd still bitch... (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091221)

I'd say that a program that disregards your preferences is already falling short of using the full functionality of the phone.

Re:If they couldn't... they'd still bitch... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091375)

Applications are always restricted from using the full functionality of the computer, that is what separates them from operating systems. Now, it is certainly possible for applications to suffer under far greater restrictions than merely being confined to OS provided abstractions(and that is indeed worth complaining about); but I'd argue in this case that roaming/nonroaming, like other network related things, is a perfectly valid thing to hide behind an abstraction controlled by the system(at the user's behest, of course). Just as, while I'm typing this, Firefox doesn't have direct control over my NIC, IP address, DNS settings, etc. and relies on OS provided abstractions.

Some sort of OMGTRUSTED_DRMAPPLICATION_CONTROL!!! strategy, which forces approved applications to allow the system to control their operations according to roaming/nonroaming status would be incredibly stupid; but allowing the user to configure the system to treat "roaming" as equivalent to "no connection" is simple, noninvasive, and quite useful.

They got what they asked for... (0, Troll)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090791)

Well, wasn't the big draw of Android supposed to be that the big mean ol' bad Apple man couldn't tell your apps what they could or couldn't do? Complete freedom from turtlenecked oppression?

Re:They got what they asked for... (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091977)

Well, wasn't the big draw of Android supposed to be that the big mean ol' bad Apple man couldn't tell your apps what they could or couldn't do? Complete freedom from turtlenecked oppression?

A corporate authority (i.e. Apple) not being able to dictate what an application can or can not do is different than the user being able to dictate what an application can or can not do.

Re:They got what they asked for... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093551)

I MAY want to not have Apple (or whoever) telling apps on my phone what they may or may not do, but that doesn't mean *I* don't want to tell them what they may/may not do, especially when it could cost me a small fortune.

Ka-ching (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090871)

Didn't we learn anything from the refusal of the big telecoms to give their subscribers the option to opt-out of incoming spam text messages? These guys make their huge profits by nickel and diming us into oblivion, and roaming charges are part of the big picture.

Aren't people kind of asking for it? (1)

morgauo (1303341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091043)

Why do people buy a mutlti-hundred dollar phone capable of running pretty much the same apps as a home computer and not get a Nationwide plan with unlimitted data. Don't get me wrong, those plans are expensive and not everyone needs them... but... for those that don't just get a plain old cellphone!

Re:Aren't people kind of asking for it? (1)

_Swank (118097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091299)

and when you travel internaationally and bring your phone for its other functions? ooops...

Re:Aren't people kind of asking for it? (1)

radish (98371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091531)

It's international roaming that is the issue, there's pretty much no such thing as regional roaming any more (at least I haven't seen such a plan for a long time).

Re:Aren't people kind of asking for it? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26094963)

A lot of people in my area still go for the local phone company's cell phones, and they're roaming outside of the area outside the state/a bit of the neighboring. A bunch more go for regional phones.

Me, I travel several times a year, so have a national, but regionals are still offered. I went with the national because it was only like $2 more a month.

Change APN (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091101)

I think atm the only solution is changing the APN, so the G1 can't log on to the 2G/3G Data network.

Killer App indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091683)

this is the kind of thing that might kill the platform. Get a couple well publicized incidents where customers have thousands of dollars charged due to downloading some "app" and the lack of controls/oversight on their application store will become glaringly obvious.

Perhaps some "mission critical" devices should NOT be open source? (for your average Joe consumer anyway).

"T-Mobile would have built a phone..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091737)

I find it annoying that people get so confused about where their phones come from. The phone's software was created by Google and a company they acquired. The hardware was made by HTC. T-Mobile slapped their logo on it and probably made very small modifications to the software. If T-Mobile "built" this phone, then we have just radically redefined the meaning of "to build".

People need to stop saying "the T-Mobile phone", "the new Verizon phone", etc. None of these phones are actually made by the carriers. Let's not legitimize their anti-consumer-freedom lock-in scheme by giving them too much credit.

International (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091799)

To my knowledge, this is international roaming, folks. When this story first broke approximately a week ago, I called T-Mobile to ensure that all phone and data roaming in the US was covered and they said it was.

However, this might be just for my plan (MyFaves 600 and unlimited G1 data).

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091817)

T-mobile is very, very evil company, actually in general all of T-com is super evil. In my country they like to put "T" stuff in software of the phone when you buy it from them. I remember few years ago they used to lock one of soft key buttons on the phone to their mobile web page.. And don't get me started about T-com's land line monopoly we have here... As i said evil.

wesw02 (1)

wesw02 (846056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092015)

It would be possible to create a 3rd party app that detects if the phone is roaming and switches the phone to airplane mode (I.E. disabling all radio transmissions). Not quite desirable because this means that you can't use it to make or receive calls when roaming (without manual override), but it could be a lot better than the alternative.

Why would the turn it off? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092081)

If brings more money that any lawsuit could cost them, doesn't it?

company :: [Consumer] -> Money
company consumer:consumers =
    let screw consumer contract =
        if ((cost (possibleLawsuit (terms defaultContract)) consumer) > (projectedProfit contract consumer))
              then (profit (makeContract defaultContract consumer))
              else (screw consumer (tryToFix defaultContract))
    (screw consumer defaultContract) + (company consumers)
company [] = bailout

Triple core typo fail fix... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092143)

I'm sorry. I meant:

It brings them more money than any lawsuit could cost them, doesn't it?

Bugfix company-0.1.1.hs (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092209)

company :: [Consumer] -> Money
company consumer:consumers =
        let screw consumer contract =
                if ((cost (possibleLawsuit (terms contract)) consumer) > (projectedProfit contract consumer))
                            then (profit (makeContract contract consumer))
                            else (screw consumer (tryToFix contract))
        (screw consumer defaultContract) + (company consumers)
company [] = bailout

Wow, seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092117)

No roaming.

Two simple words that customers from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and the rest of you village idiots will never hear. We T-Mobile customers have been hearing them for over a decade now. My Mom had a cell phone with Powertel (one of those old Nokia 9000 communicators) and we have been T-Mobile customers for all 14 years since. How much have we ever paid for roaming? I'll give you a hint: one whole number greater than -1. We have never, ever paid a single red cent for roaming or long distance, because T-Mobile has never, ever charged for it.

So unless you're one of those people on AT&T trying to use a G1, this article is irrelevant simply because T-Mobile HAS NO ROAMING. When roaming all over the entire planet is free, who cares how much you do it?

Re:Wow, seriously... (1)

hplus (1310833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092541)

Bullshit - international roaming is not free with T-Mobile.

Re:Wow, seriously... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092621)

But, on the other hand, it's not that expensive either.

/T-mobile customer
//travels often

Re:Wow, seriously... (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092955)

That's only if you make sure to buy it in the plan when you're leaving the States. If you have the barebones plan with t-mobile I would think that the extra charge for international roaming might be quite high. Not that this is any different than the other providers, and it might be easier on t-mobile to switch to a cheaper international plan than with the others.

Why be surprised ? (1)

WildStreet (1362769) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092441)

As pointed out repeatedly, "Because they can" is exactly true. There is no incentive to give the customer help, information, or respect. All they want is the cash out of your pocket. Forget the "Jobs will be lost" crap. They have us addicted, and will not give that leverage away until we just plain stop buying their service. As for me, I have never paid for a personal cell phone service, and never will. I get along very fine thank you. A lot of people need mobile service, I understand this. So, when I say "I refused to be laughed at during the next board meeting" please don't take it personal.

Re:Why be surprised ? (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26095249)

Board members would laugh at you for owning a cell phone? Those dinosaurs.

Your post is stupidly hysterical, you've gone out on a huge limb and decided that because some cell phone companies are pushy, there must be something wrong with cell phones.

I use "Cricket" and it's been a godsend. Their business model is to give everyone unlimited minutes / SMS texting, but limit the non-roaming service range to the local metropolitan area. It's targeted towards people who use their phone a lot but don't leave the city often.

On top of being able to get unlimited service for $45/mo., the best part is that there are no contracts. That's right, you don't have to agree to a 1 or 2 year service period ... you pay month-to-month and there's no penalty for discontinuing service.

This might still seem superfluous, but you must understand that I don't pay for a landline telephone ... the cell phone is the only phone I'll ever need.

Really, couldn't you hysterically bitch about almost any company in any industry re: how "all they want is the cash out of your pocket?" Of course I think companies realize (at least some of them) that good customer service makes people more willing to take the case out of their pockets.

In summary ... man, lay off the crazy pills.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092683)

I'm Android G1 owner, and can show that roaming can be switched off with single check-box.

Re:Bullshit (1)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 5 years ago | (#26095497)

No, you can demonstrate that there is a checkbox which claims to disable roaming. The whole point of this article is that it doesn't actually do so.

Mistake? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26093279)

Oh.. yyyeah. We're real sorry about that "mistake", guys. Never meant to make a shitload of money through roaming charges. It's of the utmost importance that we prevent our customers' money from falling into our hands, and we'll do anything necessary to prevent it.

Love always,
T-Mobile

Mini tinfoil hat (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26094199)

I have no idea how this Android works, but all you need is a confirmation box before your applications starts to call, SMS, browse the net ...

And maybe an internal trust application system, where you can customize what is allowed. Totally inaccessible to [u][b]all[/b][/u] the application or we end up with another Windows firewall who can be opened by any kid script.

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