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AU Mobile Operator Optus Blocking Paid Android Apps

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the life-without-net-neutrality dept.

Cellphones 102

APC Magazine details how Optus, an Australian mobile phone operator, has for months been deliberately blocking access to Android paid apps. "Optus is the exclusive Australian mobile carrier for the HTC Dream and Samsung Galaxy Android phones, and yet people who signed a long-term contract for these phones have to date been blocked from buying paid Android apps and getting the full Android experience. ... APC found many angry and frustrated comments on the Whirlpool community forums by Optus & Virgin Mobile customers." The article speculates, reading between the lines of the opaque comments offered by both Optus and Google, that the carrier is "demanding a cut of the sales revenue from Android apps if it is to remove its restriction on accessing them."

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This should be interesting (0, Redundant)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294568)

I bet I know who wins this battle.

The question here is who is more powerful--the phone company or its customers.  To date, the phone company has become accustomed to overwhelming advantages, born of its original monopoly status.

For the first time, I believe they shall find that their customer's have more power, and Google understands this, which is why they will continue to tell them to stick their shakedown where the sun don't shine.

It won't look good to the Board of Directors when customers flee to the competition in droves the minute their contracts are up.

Re:This should be interesting (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294626)

Optus was never a monopoly. I believe you mean the govenment owned telstra (formerly telecom). You're either not Australian, not old enough to know the history, or too ignorant to be making comments.

So, which is it?

Re:This should be interesting (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294812)

Indeed. Given the punitive contract clauses all the telcos enforce when customers change providers, it'll be Optus who wins. Actually, we might as well use $TELCO, since ALL of these operators in Australia have a smelly name when it comes to customer complaints. If the others aren't using similar methods to gouge their customers, it's only because they haven't thought of it yet.

Re:This should be interesting (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295220)

lol funny so Singtel wasn't ever a monopoly?

Besides my point, in any case.

Re:This should be interesting (2, Informative)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295248)

Optus is Singtel who was to Singapore what Telecom was to Australia. They do have experience being a monopoly carrier, just not here.

Re:This should be interesting (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294736)

I bet it is not the customers

Re:This should be interesting (2, Funny)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294776)

born of its original monopoly status.

That would be an interesting premise, considering that Optus was the first "new" carrier allowed to operate in Australia after the privatisation of Telecom.

Their catchphrase/tagline, by the way, is "Yes". Guess that doesn't apply to Android apps.

Re:This should be interesting (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294924)

They are a Bell in their own right ie Singtel.

Re:This should be interesting (4, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294832)

I bet I know who wins this battle.

For an Australian phone company only one thing can haemorrhage money faster then negative publicity and that's a visit from the ACCC.

The question is does the ACCC think this is worth their time.

born of its original monopoly status.

Telstra was the monopoly, born of Telecom Australia when it was privatised in the 90's. Optus was the first new, entirely private telco, Optus is majority owned by Singtel (Singapore). Our government, when privatising our telecommunication infrastructure had the wisdom and foresight to put in place good regulation to prevent a US style balkanisation.

Not withstanding that there are only three mobile network providers in Australia, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone/Hutchinson Australia. All others are MNVO's and/or subsidiaries using one of the three networks, on the plus side I can get access to all three networks in all major population area's and Australian telco regulations allow me to roam for no cost (calls and texts only).

I believe they shall find that their customer's have more power

We've always had a good measure of power, via the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) but the TIO's mandate is they can only act on violations of regulations, codes/standards of practice, laws or terms of service/contacts. It's a black cheque that says to the telco's if you screw with your customers we'll screw with you and good.

It won't look good to the Board of Directors when customers flee to the competition in droves the minute their contracts are up.

Up until Voda/Three released the Magic, the majority of Android handsets came in from overseas using our grey import laws. A lot of them still do given the strength of the AUD vs the EUR and GBP.

Re:This should be interesting (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295466)

the majority of Android handsets came in from overseas using our grey import law

What 'grey import laws' are you referring to? I was planning to get my next phone in a similar fashion, but I am unaware of any laws pertaining to this...

Re:This should be interesting (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295958)

What 'grey import laws' are you referring to?

Not so much of a law as a lack of one. Grey imports in this scenario is more accurately called a parallel import [wikipedia.org] , which is the import without the permission of the license owner, often this is called a grey import [wikipedia.org] . This is completely legal. Customs may ping you for tax if its on a prohibited item list or worth enough money, generally that's alcohol, tobacco, dangerous goods and anything over A$1000.

You can order your phone from Ebay or overseas retailers like Clove.co.uk, handtec or expansys.co.uk which is where a lot of the Australian Android phones are coming from. Simply put AQIS is not going to stop you over a phone.

Breach of contract (4, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295038)

I don't know what kind of contract the Optus victims customers have, but if I got an Android phone through Optus and they're intentionally blocking Android services, then I'd definitely consider that breach of contract. In form them of that, get a new sim-only contract elsewhere, and stop paying the old contract.

Or sue them. This sounds deserving of a class action suit.

Re:Breach of contract (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295816)

Can't you install an app on android from a PC? This would solve the problem entirely, as none of the bits required to install an app would transit on the said telco's infrastructures...

Re:Breach of contract (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295888)

Probably, but it's still a workaround that wouldn't be necessary if Optus did what their customers paid them for.

Re:Breach of contract (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295962)

Can't you install an app on android from a PC?

You don't even need the PC - you can download apps with the Android browser. But most authors of paid apps on the Android Market won't be in the habit of sending out links to (easily copied) .apk files.

Re:Breach of contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30296792)

Certainly when I got my Android phone yesterday, access to the Android app store was a positive point that was pointed out repeatedly (I was threatening to leave to get an iPhone, so I got a discounted package).

Re:This should be interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30295042)

Next they will be asking for a cut of any credit card or Google checkout purchase when people buy things via the android... what a bunch of C**TS..

Seriously, WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294594)

Though I wouldn't expect any less from Aussie telcos. Why do we get shafted? Because the general populous are fucking morons devoid of any inclination to learn about and do something about these issues.

Someone wake me up when the average Australian cares more about science and technology, please? (should be around 2150)

Re:Seriously, WTF? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294822)

Why do we get shafted? Because the general populous are fucking morons

If you can tell me one thing the Australian populace can do about predatory telcos, then let's hear it.

...

??

Thought so.

There's certainly not a damn thing ANY of the political parties in Government have any intention of doing.

Re:Seriously, WTF? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294904)

Being a grammar/spelling Nazi is the last bastion of a losing argument. That and I've been playing too many games of late.

Also preempting the inability of forming a cogent response is the height of arogance.

What can the Australian populace do about this sort of predatory behaviour? Simple. Put down the beer, turn off the damn sports channel and learn about the issues. Take issue with this kind of behaviour and actively seek help from institutions such as th ACCC and the telecommunications ombudsman.

Your quick tempered autism impresses no one.

Re:Seriously, WTF? (2, Insightful)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295606)

"What can the Australian populace do about this sort of predatory behaviour?"

Simple. Complain to the ACCC about third-line forcing.

Re:Seriously, WTF? (3, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#30296184)

Take issue with this kind of behaviour and actively seek help from institutions such as th ACCC and the telecommunications ombudsman.

Unless you've been living in a barrel, you will be aware that it has been widely reported that both have received countless complaints against the telcos.

Have those bodies done anything about them?

No. Neither body has sufficient teeth to do so, and the Government has not lifted a finger to change that.

I don't believe this opinion qualifies as arrogance or autism. Try a dictionary.

Proxy? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294606)

I can't find the answer easily in the articles but I wonder if it would be possible to mirror or proxy the app store. Presumably it uses an http url. Is there an http proxy setting in android?

Re:Proxy? (3, Informative)

unfunk (804468) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294976)

No. It's a network setting that Optus needs to change. You can get around it by using the "Market Enabler" app that's available on the net, but you need to root your phone* and void your warranty etc to use it.

*and in Australia, this phrase is rather amusing because "rooting" something is usually vernacular for "have sex with"...

Re:Proxy? (3, Funny)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295274)

Not only that, but we can root as much as we want without legal troubles (barring void warranties, returns etc.)

It comes down to simple numbers (1)

The_Laughing_God (253693) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294632)

I ask myself this:

1) What fraction of Google's global Android paid-apps revenue could Optus/AU represent?
2) What fraction of Google's global Android paid-apps revenue could be lost if a payoff precedent is set?
3) What fraction of Android users will sit salivating in the window, deprived of the full benefit of their hardware, just to remain Optus customers, while their friends on other ISPs are not restrained?
4) What right does an access provider have to block legal access by their customers. By what argument are their customers *not* being deprived of they kind of access for which they are paying? This is as much a question of user perception as local legal technicalities, but it sounds like Optus has been thinking in terms of the latter.

Re:It comes down to simple numbers (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294768)

3) Those who are bound by a contract?

Re:It comes down to simple numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294784)

exactly, How can they just block a certain phone that conforms to a certain standard. Where is the consumer protection in Australia.

Cant some open source group take legal action and take this to court !!

Re:It comes down to simple numbers (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295362)

5)How many users actually buy android apps? Free apps are the vast vast majority of downloads.
6)Why can't those users just turn off the non-marketplace firewall and install via download from the producer?

Re:It comes down to simple numbers (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#30297514)

5)How many users actually buy android apps? Free apps are the vast vast majority of downloads.

No doubt, but some quality apps are a bit too much work to give away for free. The ability to pay for apps provides an extra incentive for developers to make cool apps. Extra value for everybody.

6)Why can't those users just turn off the non-marketplace firewall and install via download from the producer?

They could download it directly as download from a website if the developer were to distribute his app that way, but that makes it very easy to copy and give all your friends a free copy. The entire point of having an app store is to make it much easier to get access to lots of apps, including making it easier to pay for them than to install an illegal version. By driving people away from the app store, Optus is driving them to other methods of getting apps.

Re:It comes down to simple numbers (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 3 years ago | (#30296356)

What right does an access provider have to block legal access by their customers. By what argument are their customers *not* being deprived of they kind of access for which they are paying? This is as much a question of user perception as local legal technicalities, but it sounds like Optus has been thinking in terms of the latter.

Seems like a good example of why net neutrality regulations need to extend to mobile developers. "Oh, you can download applications, but if you spend money on them we want a cut". Sorry buddy, I'm already paying you for service, deal with it.

Re:It comes down to simple numbers (1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 3 years ago | (#30304436)

I own my Dream/G1 outright and I asked myself this:
Why can't I access paid apps if I own the phone outright and therefore cost them nothing in hardware?
Why should I stay with a provider that sends me a $650 bill (!!!!!) because their network is so unreliable that it takes me 20+ attempts to download the same 45MB update?
Why should I stay on the network that has the worst coverage and is oversubscribed?

I changed to 3 and that has worked out great. For the same as the 69$ cap on Optus, I get the same calls and texts (roughly, works out the same for me) plus 1GB of data per month.

If anyone on Optus in Australia has had recent problems with excessive data charges when you believe you have been conservative, call the ombudsman. It worked for me - my $650 bill became $22.

On three, using the data all the time instead of switching it off 90% of the time means I hardly go to about 10% of my limit and I'm thinking of changing the plan down a bit. Not saying Optus will always suck here, just that they suck at the moment. Even the 50c/MB roaming on three has worked out cheaper overall. I am consistently under my cap because I am mostly in a three coverage area and when I am not, I switch to Telstra.

Screw Optus, go Vodafone (3, Insightful)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294718)

Seriously. I've ditched Optus around about 1998, and haven't looked back. Vodafone care a heck of a lot more about their customers; for example, they're just about the only telco I know of that allows tethering on the iPhone. Very handy!

My point is, does anyone expect anything else from the likes of Floptus and Telescum?

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294816)

I think google should just opt-out from selling the devices to Optus if this really is the case. There is no way that G should let itself to be blackmailed this way, hopefully the aussie company will understand it before they just miss out the whole android ride.

The days where a mobile company could do whatever they want are over.

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294926)

It doesn't really work that way.

Google created open source mobile phone software. Electronics manufacturers use this software on the phones that they build, then sell those phones to mobile companies. Google doesn't really have a say in who gets what phones.

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295074)

What Google could do, however, is indirectly fund a class action suit against Optus. Just pay a lawyer to volunteer to handle that lawsuit, and pay for some national media attention to reach more disgruntled customers.

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295136)

http://www.android.com/branding.html [android.com]

But they cannot call it an andriod phone without Google giving permission.

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295462)

It's not the operator's choice, though. The operator does not manufacture the phone, or decide which OS gets put on it.

HTC might get told off by Google if they were disabling Android functions, but which data is allowed over the network's infrastructure is between the network and the customer.

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#30298422)

But they cannot call it an andriod phone without Google giving permission.

Funny enough, I don't see Android phones for sale. I see phones called HTC Dream, HTC Hero, Motorola Droid, etc. So it looks like it's never been a problem - at best, these phones may say "HTC Dream with Google", but other than maybe the Android logo (#1/#2 usage, which isn't covered under the Google branding), that's it.

Sure it runs the Android OS, but they don't advertise that fact. Just like you don't see phones advertised as Windows Mobile - they always have a product. Like Android phones, they run Windows Mobile, but it tends to just be a spec-sheet item. Hell, I suppose a carrier could demand that the Android phone be completely locked down (i.e., no apps can be installed, period) if they wanted.

And like Windows Mobile, carrier requirements can't be bypassed - if the carrier doesn't want something, it goes or they won't sell it. Luckily, being GSM, it doesn't exclude the possibility of someone importing their own phone and using it.

The only manufacturer who gets to bypass most requirements is Apple. And the only reason the carriers acquiesce to Apple's demands is because of demand. Customers wanted it, and they're not afraid to import it themselves if they can't get it. That, and Apple knows most demands are crap, are calling it crap, and refusing to follow them.

The only reason Android is "better" is that it's open source. But unless someone creates something that people want badly, it'll be gimped as much as needed to satisfy the carriers.

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (1)

salmonmoose (1147735) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294818)

The Marketplace works on Telstra. Although rumor has it that Telstra are blocking Android because it competes with their online services (and doesn't have the strong brand recognition of the iPhone).

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (2, Informative)

jnnnnn (1079877) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294848)

Agreed. Their internet sucks too - we switched to ADSL with iinet recently (no Internode available here) and haven't looked back. Optus' upload speed is about 22kbyte/s even with 1Mbyte/s download speeds.

Optus is a good example of how not to treat your customers.

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (2, Informative)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294860)

Vodafone care a heck of a lot more about their customers...

Yeah. Pity their coverage sucks, though. And they're expensive. I'm on Vodafone currently (I had a couple of years with 3, and it was with relief that I dropped that to go back to Voda) but I'm going to have to go to Telstra to get the coverage I need when I move to Tasmania...

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295546)

The worst phone company is always either the one that someone just had, or the one that they currently have. I don't think there are any that are particularly good (these statements are generally more true in places with poor regulation of the industry).

Re:Screw Optus, go Vodafone (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30295298)

I want to buy a iphone 3G

Please help me !!! I want to buy it before my Marriage with my iPhone girlfriend [venuemirror.com]

Diana

so you wanna playing that game, eh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294720)

google can very easily crush Optus by blocking all access from Australia to all google services and just post a "here's why!" link.

Optus is lucky google doesnt play the evil card.

Re:so you wanna playing that game, eh? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#30299594)

Blocking would be "stupid evil"

There are so many deviously evil ways to get back at Optus that Google can do, with a low chance of getting caught.

Even if it's actually someone else pulling the trigger...

e.g. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/09/six-year-old-st/ [wired.com]

You think Google can't figure out who is and isn't likely to pull a particular trigger?

Oh and there are plenty more ways that even I can think of :).

p.s. if anyone thinks Google is good they should remember the motto is "Don't be evil", not "Be Good". Somehow so many people seem to think that's aiming high. Perhaps it is by the standards of US corporations, but then that's pretty dismal eh? ;).

wow (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294762)

Who would have known? You can be more evil than US cell phone carriers.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294840)

Who would have known? You can be more evil than US cell phone carriers.

Not for US carrier's lack of trying. This is exactly why they want tiered internet content and are so opposed to net neutrality.

good to know (1)

kregg (1619907) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294782)

I won't be getting my Android phone from Optus then

Wifi? (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294806)

If the summary is indeed correct about optus being a "mobile carrier" (yeah, big IF, i know), then couldn't you just install/download the apps via wifi?

I know it's more convenient to do it via 3g, but it's not like they are not able to install them at all.

Re:Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294880)

If the summary is indeed correct about optus being a "mobile carrier" (yeah, big IF, i know), then couldn't you just install/download the apps via wifi?

I know it's more convenient to do it via 3g, but it's not like they are not able to install them at all.

Android is open source, so anyone can modify it. If carriers sell the phone, it gets to modify the software thats installed on the phone. I suspect THAT is the problem, and then you'd need to jailbreak the phone first, which many customers don't want to as it has his own problems.

The fun thing here is that the restrictions are added by the distributor (network operator), not by the copyright holder (Google), so there's a clean solution: Buy non-crippled Android phones at another place. Of course, you would have to have known that beforehand...

Re:Wifi? (2, Insightful)

unfunk (804468) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295004)

No. You need a valid SIM in your phone to access the market, and as far as I can tell (with my HTC Magic on Virgin), you can only download apps over 3G. You can queue them up over WiFi, but I've never seen an app start downloading until I've disconnected from WiFi.

Re:Wifi? (2, Informative)

yahwotqa (817672) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295092)

Huh, I only download apps via wifi on my HTC Hero. Just as well, as I only have a 10MB/month data plan.

Re:Wifi? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295760)

That's just bizarre. The iPhone will only download or update large apps over wifi, it simply refuses anything over 10MB over 3G or GPRS. I think most people use iTunes on their PC or Mac to download apps.

Re:Wifi? (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 3 years ago | (#30301852)

if that's true, then it's another provider-specific hack. i download apps over wifi all the time. considering i don't have 3g access in my dungeon / house, i'd be pretty upset if that was the case.

Re:Wifi? (1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306116)

Nope. Until my Dream stopped doing wifi due to some unknown bug, I was downloading apps over wifi exclusively. I would use APNDroid to completely disable 3G and it would download apps. You might want to complain to Virgin about that.

Different from Canada? (2, Informative)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294820)

So this is different from how you can't get paid apps from the Android Market in Canada, Sweden and such? Or are the restrictions in those markets the result of malice, too, instead of incompetence or laziness?

Re:Different from Canada? (2, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294858)

So this is different from how you can't get paid apps from the Android Market in Canada,

Ask to your telco, of the three networks in Australia (Telstra, Optus and VHA) only Optus users have this problem. People who bought an Android phone outright or from Vodafone and Three (Vodafone/Hutchinson Australia or VHA) and do not use the Optus network can access paid applications. The Optus network includes some MNVO's and their subsidiary Virgin.

Re:Different from Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30299032)

You mean, MVNO

Re:Different from Canada? (2, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#30296058)

That was my first thought (from Malaysia, I can't even get access to free apps on the Android Marketplace - which I consider downright EVIL of Google), but Australia is listed [google.com] as one of the few countries where paid apps are available.

Re:Different from Canada? (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 3 years ago | (#30298312)

I think that Rogers just had HTC remove the paid app functionality from the phone, and surprise surprise, Rogers has their own paid market instead (which is useless). I'm considering reinstalling the OS to turn my Dream into a regular Google phone.

Why everyone hates Optus (5, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294838)

It was created by a knave of a Federal Government who thought they could introduce competition into the Australian Telecommunications market (then controlled by Telstra aka Telecom) by regulating to introduce just *one* competitor: Optus. The idea was that Telstra and Optus would fight each other with lower prices and better service. Instead both just sat on their hands and a monopoly became a cozy duopoly. Even though the market was opened up, these two fat, lazy and arrogant companies still dominate the market.

Optus has been a terrible teleco ever since inception. Its broadband packages are amongst the worst in the country. It's offerings are overpriced and plagued with poor service. They're arrogant to boot: Whenever they do screw up their PR is terrible. They're unethical too (which is to say they're criminal, but being a big company with good lawyers mean you can break the law with a slap on the wrist at worst case).

Like this one: Incredible, but Optus conspired to have phone sex calls made by aussies to International Numbers *diverted to their own phone sex partner!* That's right, when you saw Hot Monica advertizing at 2AM on Channel 10 and called, your call was diverted from the advertizer and ended up fattening Optus's profits. Sounds as illegal as hell. Yes: This is Australia's #2 Teleco:

"In an earlier case, Justice Robert McDougall was much harsher with Bragg, saying he had no regard for the truth, except for when it suited him. In this case Optus was forced to pay millions to Gilsan after it was found to have skimmed money from Gilsan by under-reporting the number of minutes porn clients were on the phone so Optus could take home a larger share of the profits."

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.dcom.telecom/browse_thread/thread/37a2629cd46244a0 [google.com]
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/articles/2009/01/05/1231003882552.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 [brisbanetimes.com.au]
http://www.the-scream.co.uk/forums/t28492.html [the-scream.co.uk]

Google for "optus sucks" and equally "telsta sucks" and you will see many links.

Re:Why everyone hates Optus (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295084)

"[Optus] offerings are overpriced and plagued with poor service."

They are more or less the same as Telstra on price, but yes cheaper deals can be had. However my experience with the Optus internet service over the last decade has been exemplory. The rare connectivity problems I have had have been sorted quickly and cheerfully, their frontline helpdesk operators understand such terms as ping and ipconfig. Since I often work from home, that level of service is important enough to me to keep paying the ~$20/month premium.

I can't say the same for their phone service (the two services are semi-seperate entities). For several months they kept sending me two different bills for the same phone, each month I would ring up pay one bill, be assured it wouldn't happen again, then wait to have my phone cut off because I hadn't paid the other one. It was not helpfull that the first line of defense on their hopedesk was a dollar a day slave chained to a desk in Bangladesh asking me "are you sure it is not your internet bill". Needless to say I no longer use them for the phone.

Having said all that, we do at least get the opportunity to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Re:Why everyone hates Optus (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295174)

Back when optus was new I had one of their mobile phones and I diverted my telstra landline to the optus phone when I was out. My bill just told me how many 25 cent units I had used but I wanted to know if turning the diversion on and off cost me money so I called telstra and asked them. They came back after about five minutes and said we can't answer that question because you have selcted optus for long distance calls. In other words. STFU.

ummmm.... (1)

schlick (73861) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294866)

So I'm not saying that what Optus is doing is right, but can't ppl get paid apps if they use wifi instead of the gprs or 3g or edge or what ever they have in Australia?

I got a Motorola cliq from T-mobile and wasn't able to add a data plan to my phone right away but was able to use WiFi to install anything I wanted from the Market. Do those phones not have WiFi? Once again I'm not saying that it is right what the phone company is doing, but maybe there hasn't been a huge negative reaction because it is pretty simple to get around the block.

Re:ummmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294940)

No... Optus has a modified firmware version on the phone that blocks you from getting them via WiFi too. Of course you can reflash the phone, but then you risk voiding your warranty, etc.

Re:ummmm.... (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295132)

But as I understand, if you simply insert a sim card from a different provider, you can access paid apps normally. How is that possible if it's a firmware issue?

Re:ummmm.... (1)

danwarne (545932) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295496)

Well, I guess the firmware blocks downloads via their APN.

Re:ummmm.... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295226)

I can't find the reason in the article but I suppose the phone is hard coded to go to one host for the apps. With wifi you could intercept traffic for that host to your server but I suppose a certificate could be used to make life difficult for hackers.

30% fee on apps (2, Interesting)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294892)

Wait one freaking minute! That 30% google is so kindly taking off each one of my sales was supposed to go back to the telecommunication company anyways to "pay for the bandwidth required to supply my app".

Re:30% fee on apps (1)

Will47 (1068152) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294956)

Why the hell should Google pay for traffic already paid by the customer downloading your app?????

Re:30% fee on apps (1)

SJ (13711) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295016)

Umm... the customer already PAID for the bandwidth required to receive your app. They pay for that every month!

Google uses that 30% to pay for the bandwidth required to get the bits TO Optus.

Re:30% fee on apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30295330)

More like google uses .3% of that 30% to pay for the bandwidth required to get the bits to Optus and pockets the rest. Which they are perfectly entitled to, and they let you set up your own marketplace if you don't like it.

Wifi's not an option? (1)

Random5 (826815) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294948)

Wifi with an Optus SIM won't give you access to the paid market? That sucks. Glad I'm with vodafone.

Is that legal? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30294950)

I can only assume that to block access to paid apps requires blocking part of the internet, which would put them in violation of trade description act. It might also impute denial of them being a common carrier, with loss of the protections that that confers.
-- newall

Not the only country, get in line. (2, Informative)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#30294966)

I have Android phone in NZ and the paid apps were unavailable for months on the Vodafone network, even with after market firmware which should have enabled paid apps. For a long while Vodafone could not provide any information when asked about this. This was/has also been occuring in China South Africa, Ireland, Brazil, Israel, Switzerland, and a few other countries. However the reasons vary and one should not attribute to malice what could be attributed to red tape (um.. same thing?).

Re:Not the only country, get in line. (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295400)

Ignorance, malice, red tape, whatever the excuse it's incompetence. Unfortunately they are large enough that incompetence is inevitable, inefficiencies of beauraucracy dominate any efficiency of scale past a certain point.

I fully expect them to ignore this situation and suffer loss of customers without batting an eyelid, and take 50x the money it would cost to enable what people want on their phone and spend it on a snazzy marketing campaign to try and woo customers back.

Somewhere in a lonely office building there is a computer engineer pleading for some sanity from his boss, when the VP of sales walks in...

Re:Not the only country, get in line. (1)

the ReviveR (1106541) | more than 3 years ago | (#30296902)

This really needs to be illegal. The possibilities of blackmailing software providers and harming users is pretty much endless when the carrier gets to decide the firewall settings.

That said, luckily they can't pull this shit with my N900. Anyone could make a new copy of the software repository, use proxy or simply go through WiFi if the 3g is blocked.

Another reason to keep Optus on my blacklist (2, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295002)

I have already blacklisted Optus for other reasons (including their crappy ads and the fact that at the time I was looking, they didnt include data in their caps but Vodafone did) and this block is even more reason not to purchase anything through these idiots (their fixed line and internet services arent any better either)

Re:Another reason to keep Optus on my blacklist (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#30297172)

Are they legitimate?

I've started getting international charges to my US credit card from Optus, despite never having done any business with them. I've disputed the fraudulent charges (pretty much my first in years) with my CC company, and while they say that they'll refund the money to me, I still haven't seen it in my statement. The first was for $50AUS back in August and recently another charge for $200AUS last month.

I looked at the Optus website, but I was kinda afraid of contacting them about it for fear of revealing more information about myself, thinking it might be better to let my CC company handle it. Will try to get them to block further international charges from Australia, but if it happens again I'm reporting the CC stolen :P

Just wondering what my chances are of getting this cleared up with Optus, or if I should treat them like internet crooks >:P

Yeah well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30295062)

This is why you choose 3 or Vodaphone.

Double dipping? (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295140)

Aren't people already paying for the data plan through Optus? Sounds like a case of double dipping to me. While not illegal in this case, sure is shady.

mod dowN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30295254)

THINGS IN on my Pentium Pro ELSE TO BE AN However I don't you to join the to look into our ability to notorious OpenBSD

Silly Telcos. (1)

yanguang (1471209) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295280)

Customer buys paid apps. Customer uses more data through paid apps. Customer pays for data use. More customers start buying data plans to be able to buy and use paid apps.

Telco bans paid apps. Customers can't get paid apps. Data use significantly reduced. Less paying for data use. Less customers buy data plans.

Re:Silly Telcos. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295562)

They don't think of people as customers, they think of them as monthly revenue that hassles them for services.

There ARE ways around it (4, Informative)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295578)

Market Enabler [google.com] allows you to fake your network to the Market (root access required).
I've been buying payed apps in Australia since Cupcake, using Markets in the US and EU.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 3 years ago | (#30296806)

n/t

This is what iPhone got right... (2, Interesting)

Purist (716624) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295640)

IMO, the iPhone app store is probably the single biggest innovation of the iPhone...and it's not even a technological innovation so much as an assertion that things should be done the right way for a change. Here in the states as well as abroad, Apple used its power to strong arm their cellular partners into acting the way they should act - as an INFRASTRUCTURE provider.

Cellular companies have always been very short sighted about their role with respect to applications at the end point. They would push crappy applications (cellular companies don't know how to develop mobile applications!) to the device via tightly regulated network access and the result was a horrible customer experience. Thanks to the iPhone app store, those days are coming to and end. The fact that Verizon (historically one of the WORST culprits) here in the U.S. is allowing unfettered access to Android Market is indicative of this fact.

M

How?? (1)

khchung (462899) | more than 3 years ago | (#30295846)

Isn't the whole point of Android is that it is "Open"?

How could your mobile operator prevent you from accessing any sites? They may block the site through their 3G network, but what prevents you from using Wifi, proxy, or thousands other way to work around it?

Why aren't there simple programs available for Optus customers to auto bypass it?

Are you saying it is easier to jail-break a closed iPhone than it is to work around simple blocks on the open Android?

Re:How?? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#30297654)

Isn't the whole point of Android is that it is "Open"?

How could your mobile operator prevent you from accessing any sites?

Exactly because it's open. Optus can modify Android to not give access to the paid market, and put that modified version on the phones they sell.

Of course you can simply respond by installing Cyanogen, but not everybody is tech savvy enough to do that.

Are you saying it is easier to jail-break a closed iPhone than it is to work around simple blocks on the open Android?

No, jailbreaking is harder. But that's also not something that the average user is going to do.

Fuck Optus (2, Insightful)

shplorb (24647) | more than 3 years ago | (#30296130)

Optus turned to shit when earlier this year they unilaterally decided to start charging $2.20 to mail their bills under the guise of "being green".

Not even the banks I have accounts with are crooked enough to charge for mailing statements.

No...don't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30296358)

...you might catch something off of them...

Re:Fuck Optus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30304550)

Banks can't assume you have an e-mail address, but an ISP knows which e-mail addresses you have with them, and can put it in their T&C that yes, we will be e-mailing you softcopies of your invoices unless you specify otherwise, and because it costs us for printing, stationery, labour (envelope stuffing and running them down to the post office) and postage, we will charge you.

They probably also have in their T&C that their T&C can change with no notice and you have to like it.

Re:Fuck Optus (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306056)

Optus also provide telephone services, not just an ISP. Many customers are phone only, an they get charged the $2.20 too.

Screw them... (2, Informative)

dsouza42 (1151071) | more than 3 years ago | (#30297638)

Just install market-enabler [google.com] and you can use any paid apps you want

Extortion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30297686)

I'm left in awe how this isn't considered extortion. Lets move the issue over to something else, like say plain old phones. What would happen if $TELCO would approach any business that directly relies on its phone lines to make any revenue, and say "You will give us a cut on your profits, or we will cut your lines"?

Sounds more like the mob than a legitimate business to me.

Memo for telcos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30301192)

You are a dumb pipe. Get over it.

Optus (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30302822)

They are the same scummy people that charge you $10 a month to be able to tether and use up the bandwidth you have already paid for. So they'll sell you internet, but you need to pay $10 a month to use it as you see fit.

Then there is the problem with the quality of their service. It happens on a weekly basis that I cannot get 3G or any internet connection on my iPhone in the middle of Brisbane CBD. Then the amount of dropped calls when I am at home in one of the Eastern Suburbs, not more than 10Km from the CBD. It is almost impossible to rely on Optus.

Google/HTC's fault as much as Optus (1)

sethanon (26295) | more than 3 years ago | (#30305156)

I've got an HTC Hero which is connected through Optus. The phone wasn't available in Australia when I bought it so I imported it. I think it was originally intended for Malaysia. It doesn't have Android Market installed on it and as far as I can tell, Google won't provide access to it.

Optus is may be trying to direct app sales to their own marketplace by not selling phones with Android Marketplace installed but the real problem seems to lie with Google for coming up with the "Google Experience" concept and HTC for trying to get exclusive deals with telcos (and offering phones without Android market as part of those deals.)

If Google wasn't trying to restrict access to the Market this wouldn't be an issue. Optus could block traffic or do whatever they want but if Google wasn't blocking access to the Market I could access it over wi-fi and Optus wouldn't know the difference.

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