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App Enables Surfing Over SMS/MMS Through T-Mobile

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the wonder-how-long-this'll-last dept.

Android 149

MrSeb writes "An ingenious browsing hack has emerged: if you have an Android smartphone and a T-Mobile (US) unlimited messaging plan, you can now use an app called Smozzy to surf the web... for free. Smozzy is just a wrapper around the standard Android browser, but instead of requiring a data connection, everything is funneled through SMS and MMS. Whenever you click a link, instead of firing off a packet to a remote web server, a web request is instead sent to Smozzy's intermediate server via SMS. Smozzy forwards the request, downloads the web page you're trying to visit, and then sends it along to your phone as MMS messages — and both SMS and MMS are completely free with T-Mobile's unlimited messaging plan."

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Cost Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351536)

Sounds Expensive.

Re:Cost Much? (2)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351560)

Well the app is free and unlimited messaging is like $10 I think (Maybe $20).
Not too bad when you compare to the possible overage charges of going over your data plan.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352186)

Until Smozzy starts getting a bill from T-Mobile for all the SMS communications. Do you REALLY think they'll let this go?

Re:Cost Much? (3)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352276)

Why would Smozzy get a bill for the SMS messages if it's the user who has the contract with T-Mobile?
At most I could see them doing a walled garden approach and trying to get it removed from the marketplace.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

ludwigf (1208730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352266)

Is a data plan that expensive in the states?

I pay 10 € for my mobile contract (free calls to land line and same provider included) and additional 10 € for my data plan (250 mb, after that its slowed down till start of the next month). That is ~ 27 USD in total. Got no unlimited SMS though - costs ~ 0.12 USD per SMS ... but I don't care as xmpp is way better anyway.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

VisceralLogic (911294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352716)

Is a data plan that expensive in the states?

I pay 10 € for my mobile contract (free calls to land line and same provider included) and additional 10 € for my data plan (250 mb, after that its slowed down till start of the next month). That is ~ 27 USD in total. Got no unlimited SMS though - costs ~ 0.12 USD per SMS ... but I don't care as xmpp is way better anyway.

For those of us on T-Mobile without a data plan, they just rolled out a new opt-out pay-as-you-go plan: $1.99/MB.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351566)

Which part? The app is free, and I think you get unlimited text included in a $60 plan, or something along those lines.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351676)

For £35 (~$60) I'd expect a few gig of data included.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352294)

My GF pays about that, and gets 200Mb of data and unlimited messages.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351570)

Which part of "unlimited messaging plan" did you fail to comprehend?

Re:Cost Much? (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351608)

Playing devils advocate, it depends on how you define expensive. As far as money goes yes it's free, as far as time goes, it has to be dog slow.

Also if this becomes popular and people start using... abusing it you can bet T-mobile will change their TOS.

In short this is why we can't have nice things.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351828)

I would expect it to have high latency, but relatively fast download speeds. I would guess (not having looked in to it very much since I don't have T-mobile and therefore don't care enough to) that it encodes the entire website into one txt message. It doesn't take long to send and receive a txt message, so actual download speed is dependent on the server, which I would imagine is not exactly hooked up to a 2400bps modem.

As to your second point, I wouldn't be surprised if they do that by the end of the week ;)

Re:Cost Much? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352226)

the entire website into one txt message.

I can't imagine the website will be of much use after its been encoded into a single 160 character text message packet.

And text messages ARE actually slow to send over the air, you just don't notice it when typing on a keyboard that you can't do more than 10 bps on.

It uses MMS to download. Not SMS. (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352362)

" Multimedia Messaging Service [wikipedia.org] , or MMS, is a standard way to send messages that include multimedia content to and from mobile phones. It extends the core SMS (Short Message Service) capability that allowed exchange of text messages only up to 160 characters in length."

Re:Cost Much? (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352852)

160 alpha-numeric characters including punctuation gives you a huge data storage potential if you encode it correctly. I would also imagine that flash, videos, and pictures will be stripped out of the page, leaving only text, formatting, and color info.

Re:Cost Much? (4, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351632)

Which part of "unlimited messaging plan" did you fail to comprehend?

The same part of unlimited internet having a cap.

Re:Cost Much? (2)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352172)

At least with T-mobile's unlimited internet plans, when you hit your cap, they just throttle you down to edge speeds. No extra charges incur.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351790)

The part where the carriers will turn it off as soon as people start using it too much, just like everything else.

Re:Cost Much? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351938)

They won't have to turn it off. They just have to block Smozzy. They can do this now without changing their TOS and without the regular users of SMS/MMS noticing. In fact other than Snozzy airing their complaints on twitter or slashdot, I don't think many will care.

Nice trick. Harkens back to the pre-2G days of the WAP.

Reading comprehension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351582)

"if you have an Android smartphone and a T-Mobile (US) unlimited messaging plan, you can now use an app called Smozzy to surf the web"

Re:Cost Much? (0)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352002)

Sounds slow...

Can it run BitTorrent, too... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351540)

This is really cool. I hope they do a version of BitTorrent as well...

Wouldnt that be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351548)

Absolutely fucking slow?! Cool factor aside

Re:Wouldnt that be... (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351574)

it's probably ok on bandwidth, but dog-slow on latency

Re:Wouldnt that be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351726)

What's the reasoning here? SMS messages (like all control messages on cell networks) are framed messages, not packets. (though most cell networks these days to packet them once they reach the tower)

When you send an SMS message to a subscriber, the latency has nothing to do with the network, it has to do with the Message Center that has to do "all the work" of determining if the message has to transition to another network. Most SMS centers are horribly overloaded, causing the delay you know.

In any MODERN network, you'd cache the result of the query near the network edge: the first text message to a phone number may require a cold lookup but further messages can easily be routed and accounted for by the network itself.

Privacy? (1)

gameboyhippo (827141) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351568)

How does this service handle SSL? Can Smozzy spy on you? This sounds very uncool.

Re:Privacy? (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351602)

I'm not an expert, but i don't see why public-key encryption wouldn't work here. The browser (which supports the SSL) is still just a browser. It's just that your encrypted data gets sent via SMS rather than TCP/IP.
Unless I'm missing something...

Re:Privacy? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351954)

I'm not an expert, but i don't see why public-key encryption wouldn't work here. The browser (which supports the SSL) is still just a browser. It's just that your encrypted data gets sent via SMS rather than TCP/IP.

If you do this right, it's just another transport layer. At which point, it's just a variation of "IP over Avian Carrier". Just like any layer you treat as an unreliable datagram, you build the higher level stuff on top of it.

Not sure how fast it would be, but using the unlimited SMS to get around bandwidth limits is brilliant.

I don't think you're missing much.

Re:Privacy? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352254)

Not sure how fast it would be, but using the unlimited SMS to get around bandwidth limits is brilliant.

Brilliant until you realize that if you just limited yourself to these bit rates from the start, you'd never go over your normal bandwidth limit anyway.

Re:Privacy? (2)

smoot123 (1027084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352280)

I looked up TCP over SMS a while back, assuming someone must have written an April Fool's RFC. Turns out some guy submitted a patent application for it (#20080146257 [uspto.gov] ).

Re:Privacy? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351964)

Sounds right. No different than SSL browsing through a proxy.

Re:Privacy? (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351622)

Privacy aside, this is a very interesting way to solve the talk and surf problem for those stuck on the EDGE network with no 3G coverage, since plain text messages can be sent and received while on the phone. Yes, this would be painfully slow and inefficient, but it is a work around nonetheless.

Re:Privacy? (1)

jciarlan (1152991) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351642)

The guy who made Smozzy replied to a bunch of questions on HN [ycombinator.com] There is no encryption between the phone and his service (yet)

Re:Privacy? (2)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351668)

It's also explicitly noted in the app's Options:

Confirm HTTPS Requests (checked by default)

Prompt for confirmation before sending HTTPS requests (recommended as HTTPS requests sent through Smozzy are not secure)

Re:Privacy? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351994)

Prompt for confirmation before sending HTTPS requests (recommended as HTTPS requests sent through Smozzy are not secure)

Wait wut? Unless Smozzy has gone out of their way to install some SSL MITM mechanism there should be no problem with sending HTTPS requests through this service.

Oh wait, just read the post below, this is nothing like a normal proxy, an SSL MITM would be necessary:

http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2420650&cid=37351652 [slashdot.org]

Re:Privacy? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352282)

You do realize that you simply didn't have to post after you saw the answer to your question .... right? You actually bother to write the question, go find the answer, then come back say nevermind?

Re:Privacy? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352674)

Other people might have had the same question, so he's saved them the trouble of trying to find the answer. At least that's what my teacher's always told me in class, that even if it's a stupid question, other people might be wondering as well...

Re:Privacy? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351652)

According to the writeup on techcrunch [techcrunch.com] the service is quite high level: you SMS them a URL(through the app), they grab the webpage, bundle it up, and MMS it back for display. It isn't clear that that would even handle some of the dynamic/login-required stuff, much less do so in a manner that doesn't involve revealing your credentials to them.

It's a pity, I was hoping for a more elegant hack, something along the lines of a VPN-style tunneling of arbitrary TCP/IP traffic encapsulated(in this case) in SMS messages. Could be that the unpredictable and sometimes extremely high latency of SMS dooms that one, though...

WAP used to be over SMS (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351588)

I remember the first WAP browsers that could use (special) SMS as a transport.

So how long now until they kill unlimited plans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351590)

Wonderful.... While this is a cool use of the technology, its sure to draw the ire of T-Mobile if it becomes popular.

Re:So how long now until they kill unlimited plans (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351818)

Isn't T-mobile supposedly one of the more open U.S. carriers when it comes to things like tethering, unlimited data, etc.? If that's true, it's a shame that people would take advantage of them like this. It's just this sort of cheap-ass shit that leads carriers to lock down their phones so much.

Re:So how long now until they kill unlimited plans (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352138)

T-mobile is currently I think the only carrier that you can use a smartphone without a data plan. If this does take off you can bet that T-mobile will change that policy.

And that, kids, is what economists call... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351592)

A textbook case of perverse incentives...

From the perspective of efficiency or architectural sanity, that is about as far from optimal as you could wish to be(short of running the fastest analog modem connection that will survive GSM voice compression to take advantage of your unlimited voice minutes); but the magic of telco nonsense pricing makes it entirely reasonable.

Hopefully getting their control channel hammered with SMS noise will induce them to offer some sort of reasonably priced modest-speed data mechanism that isn't a horrible pile of hack...

Incidentally, of course, does this lovely mechanism make whoever runs "Smozzy" a MiTM even within SSL-wrapped browsing sessions, or does the TCP/IP->SMS insanity just wrap the packets whole and serve as a peculiar sort of link layer?

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351654)

"Hopefully getting their control channel hammered with SMS noise will induce them to offer some sort of reasonably priced modest-speed data mechanism that isn't a horrible pile of hack..."

More likely it will just result in the elimination of unlimited SMS plans.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351756)

Either that or you would get rate-limited to 1 SMS/second and 1 MMS every 5 minutes. Even without overhead, that's taking you to the era of modems.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351830)

Nah, they'll just make their money back when some poor sod who isn't on an unlimited plan attempts to use this.. Don't the data rates over SMS come to a couple of billion dollars for a few hours surfing? ;-)

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352018)

Or the expense of untold man-hours and reduced performance to detect the hack and block it.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351716)

Hopefully getting their control channel hammered with SMS noise will induce them to offer some sort of reasonably priced modest-speed data mechanism that isn't a horrible pile of hack...

SMS might be over the control channel, but it's also the lowest possible priority over said channel. In short, not only will the latency be ridiculous and the bandwidth tiny, you'll also experience constantly high rates of dropped packets. It's a neat little project in a 'just to see if you can do it' kind of way, but I highly doubt it was ever meant to be practical.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351780)

It would definitely make T-Mobile even less happy; but bittorrent is actually an excellent choice for coping with every aspect of that except the tiny bandwidth bit...

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

foradoxium (2446368) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352068)

I'd think this would be perfect for twitter.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

AkaKaryuu (1062882) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351862)

I see a TOS update in the near future, rather than a restructring of their nonsense pricing.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351868)

Unlimited internet is $20 with a 2GB cap. Once you reached the 2GB cap, you can still browse the internet for free just with a slower connection. I'm sure the slower connection is still faster than using SMS.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352000)

If their "slower" connection was something realistic...say 768k or so...it's be a winner. You get dropped to 128k max at best when you hit the cap. There needs to be a bit better tiers than what they're offering. I can assure you I can blow through 2GB in about 2 or so weeks of average usage. I should know- I was doing that with Verizon and I was being careful with my usages. 5GB and 10GB should be there with a higher throttling speed if you buy one or both of those higher tiers. If they did that, they'd have a LOT more takers on their plans- just price them similarly to what Verizon's doing with the advantage of not being billed if you roll over.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352022)

Arrgh...this is what I get for posting quickly on a tablet... The spelling and grammar on that post was atrocious.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352390)

You get dropped to 128k max at best when you hit the cap.

Which is still about 12.8k times faster than SMS.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352038)

One more thing. T-Mobile had a $5 unlimited web plan that was designed around WAP phones. I had this plan until recently when I foolishly switched to an Android phone. Foolishly meaning I gave up the $5 plan by purchasing the phone through T-Mobile instead of buying one off of E-Bay. I was able to tether to my old phone through bluetooth and enjoy blazing 2G speeds without caps (well it's so slow I doubt its even possible to reach a cap during a single billing cycle).

The only saving grace being that T-Mobile customer service still rocks and they graciously grand fathered me into a nice 4G unlimited plan that's cheaper than the current plan and has a much higher data cap. I sure will miss them after ATT fucks them up.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352568)

Unlimited internet is $20 with a 2GB cap.

But how expensive of a voice plan does one have to buy in order to become eligible to buy "[u]nlimited internet [for] $20 with a 2GB cap"? Is it available to, say, someone on $10/mo pay-as-you-go voice, or does it need a $40/mo contract voice plan first? I'm thinking of switching from my current dumbphone on Virgin Mobile USA to a smartphone, and I want to know whether smartphone service is still priced as a luxury service.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352630)

If you like pays as you go, then stick with someone like virgin mobile. I think they have an unlimited data, talk, and messaging plan for like $35 bucks. I have a family plan with 4 people, so it's cheaper for me to stick with T-Mobile (well at least until ATT).

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352694)

You can get a smartphone through virgin. Voice/data smartphone plans start at $35/month. They have some nice phones, too.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

Hillie (63573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352052)

Unfortunately man they will do the opposite: Raise SMS service prices or remove unlimited SMS service altogether.

See, this is precisely why they took away unlimited data service, because of apps like MyWi and other things. I will be the first to say that I have used it in the past, but that's a more reasonable thing. I totally agree that this is one of the worst hacks I've read about this year.

It's my official stance that people need to stop trying to circumvent paying for stuff. If you don't like a service or think it's too expensive, no one is forcing you to use it. And yes, I saw an article about something where someone said that's not a fair argument because it's something like Facebook.

Seriously, people need to get a grip on reality. Get off of Facebook and f$$kin LIVE. There is a whole world out there, just waiting...

Case in point: If all outraged Netflix subscribers cancelled their plans COMPLETELY because of the price hike, Netflix would have two options: find another way to make the money they need, or go out of business.

Ultimately the consumer has all the power, but they're too busy "consuming" to wield it.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352192)

Tragedy of the commons and all that...

If it can be abused it will be abused and must be abused (and then whined about incessantly when it is taken away because of abuse) is the credo around here.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

Hillie (63573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352262)

pretty much :)

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352088)

Hopefully getting their control channel hammered with SMS noise will induce them to offer some sort of reasonably priced modest-speed data mechanism that isn't a horrible pile of hack...

You must be new here.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

orudge (458780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352428)

From the perspective of efficiency or architectural sanity, that is about as far from optimal as you could wish to be(short of running the fastest analog modem connection that will survive GSM voice compression to take advantage of your unlimited voice minutes); but the magic of telco nonsense pricing makes it entirely reasonable.

Of course, back in the (pre-GPRS) day, that's basically how WAP phones worked. You were charged on a per-minute basis, as the phone was basically dialling in for Internet access. I can also remember hooking my phone up to my computer and using it as a modem. It was extremely slow (I think it synced at about 9.6Kbps), but it was functional. :)

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (2)

Eil (82413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352666)

Hopefully getting their control channel hammered with SMS noise will induce them to offer some sort of reasonably priced modest-speed data mechanism that isn't a horrible pile of hack...

Don't be silly. They'll just do what they did with all the VoIP apps: block or cripple them. And if that fails, it would be trivial to filter the messages as they're bouncing through the network. Until strong net neutrality laws are enacted, mobile carriers will always have the last word on how you use your phone no matter how "rooted" or "unlocked" you think it is.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352750)

Hopefully getting their control channel hammered with SMS noise will induce them to offer some sort of reasonably priced modest-speed data mechanism that isn't a horrible pile of hack...
 

Not before T-mo suffers a worse fate than AT&T in dropped calls and such.

People think AT&T's atrocious dropped call rate is because of lousy signal - that's one reason to get a dropped call, but for AT&T, it's not. It's not even tower congestion (another reason, when the tower simply says it's full and you're just out of reach of the old tower).

It's control-channel congestion. A phone like the iPhone makes and breaks data connections very frequently (maintaining a data context takes power, so if you only establish, do your tranfer, and tear down ASAP, you can extend the battery life significantly). However, doing so means a lot of control channel congestion as stuff like websurfing will establish a connection to do the HTTP transfer, then tear down while the user browses. Now get a bunch of phones doing that and if a new phone comes in, it literally can't get a word in edgewise to associate with the new tower. And the tower sits there with plenty of channels to offer up bandwidth for voice and data, but a full control channel.

It happened to T-mo as well - there was an Android IM app that presumably managed to open a data connection right after Android shut it down, causing congestion from the bringup and teardown operations.

One reason it really only happened recently is the rise of texting. Texting in Europe and Asia is huge, and the carriers had the same problems, but they adapted with control channels that can expand in bandwidth as required. Texting in North America was basically non-existent until the turn of the millennium. So carriers pretty much got stuck with the problem and since it didn't hurt things too badly, they let things be.

Then the iPhone came about with its reckless (but power efficient) use of the control channel and AT&T suffered big time with control channel congestion. Places with the highest density of phone usage had the highest droped call rates.

It's why Europe and Asia didn't see the iPhone meltdown that AT&T did, why AT&T can have the fastest network despite the dropped call rates (having spare channel capacity is meaningless if phones can't get at them because the control channel is full).

Also, MMS isn't sent through the control channel - it's notified via the control channel and the phone's MMS client then establishes a regular data connection to download the attachments via the faster data interface.

Re:And that, kids, is what economists call... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352802)

1. it is quite possible to deliver SMS via GPRS data traffic these days, if the phone is set to request it and the network supports it.

2. i think one delivery mode for WAP was per SMS, as some kind of last resort.

But I thought sending SMS messages cost a lot (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351600)

But I thought sending or receiving a SMS message was more expensive per MB than getting data from the Hubble Space Telescope. I suppose it is a workable solution if you really need data access but can't get it otherwise but I wonder about this since I also see stories about how [physorg.com] excessive SMS messages going out over the control channels [eweek.com] could overwhelm the cell network.

Re:But I thought sending SMS messages cost a lot (0)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351614)

Wow I flubbed that one and missed a closing tag

Re:But I thought sending SMS messages cost a lot (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351752)

Its more expensive if you pay per message. Since this plan is unlimited messaging, it's cost per month / bits so the more you send/receive, the cheaper each bit is.

Re:But I thought sending SMS messages cost a lot (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351758)

SMS is more expensive than Hubble data if you pay per message to send/receive them. However, every major provider offers an unlimited option, usually for around $10 per line. Although if this were to become popular those plans wouldn't last long. Really, this system has problems everywhere except cost: bad latency, horrible bandwidth, best effort transmission, delayed and lost messages just to name a few.

The logical conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351616)

This is the logical conclusion of Cellphone companies allowing you arbitrary unlimited use of some services, and extremely expensive use of others. All protocols can be implemented using others; see voip (voice), email (mms/sms), and dial up modems.

How about Blackberry? (1)

LissJasmin (1120571) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351618)

Is there anything like this for BB? My parents love theirs (big screen, nice keyboard) and only occasionally want to surf the web, so an app for RIM like this would be great.

untapped resource? sms and mms work differently... (1)

demmer (623592) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351700)

omg, so much stupid:

"Most of all, though, if SMS and MMS really are “free” for a mobile carrier — if they really don’t conflict with voice and data traffic — perhaps the creator of Smozzy has *inadvertently stumbled* across an amazing, *untapped resource*."

also, sms go through control channels, but i always thought getting the data payload of an mms *does* require a data connection through grps or what ever means there are in your 2g or 3g network... but i could be wrong. (also this mms fetch traffic could be included in the t-mobile contract)

Sounds like a real PITA (0)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351704)

Why bother? Just get a decent 4G data plan and use your browser.

Re:Sounds like a real PITA (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351876)

Because a data plan is like $30 or $40 these days and the SMS plan is just included with the voice? That's a $360/year savings!

Re:Sounds like a real PITA (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352292)

That would be the data plan for a smartphone, there is also a data plan for non-smartphones that is less. I point this out because the service you would receive from using this would be much much worse than even their most basic data plan.

It's like saying you save $250,000 by riding a bicycle to work because otherwise you would buy a Ferrari.

Re:Sounds like a real PITA (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352438)

Because that only works in areas that they have coverage. Heh...in the area I would've needed their voice and data services, they've got bupkus and AT&T and Verizon have 3G, with Verizon having the more solid offering in the area.

Re:Sounds like a real PITA (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352572)

Great idea! Unless of course you live in the ~85% of the country that doesn't have 4G rolled out to it yet.

SMS Server Slashdotted? (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351724)

I went straight to the Market to download the browser for my Android. Fired it up... now I'm stuck at "Request sent. Waiting for response..."

I suspect that every other T-Mobile Android user on Slashdot is doing the same, and the poor guy's SMS gateway is now a smoldering heap of slag.

Interestingly, the Market reported that the download count was "10+". Obviously, there's some latency there...

Re:SMS Server Slashdotted? (2)

sys_mast (452486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351820)

And posting it to /. was T-Mobile's method of taking the service down. Quick,cheap,effective.

Re:SMS Server Slashdotted? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352592)

Slashdotted over SMS? Sounds like we have a new alternative to DDOS attacks.

SOS! It means hell (for your server).

Time until 'unlimited' isn't: 30 seconds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351746)

Just wait for it...

IPoV (1)

eclectus (209883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351808)

Now to get around data caps we need to have someone hack up a system that will use IP over voice so you can surf unlimited for free on nights & weekends. Now if we only had a way to carry electronic communication over phone lines.....

Although I'm sure someone has already patented using a modem over cellphones by putting 'on the internet' in it, so this won't work.

Re:IPoV... WinModem (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352168)

It's called a WinModem. The connections are in hardware, but the expensive DSP is done in software. So you just dial a modem-capable (SLIP/PPP) ISP and do the DSP in software. Any phone these days is capable of that.

Now, if only we were using a phone that we could see the source code, so we could figure how to route the software output to the phone instead of from the mic...

Re:IPoV... WinModem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37352426)

Nope.
My 12-years old Nokia 6150 (dual-band EU GSM phone) had the capability to act as GSM PSTN modem: hook it to the PC using a custom serial cable and you was able to surf at 9600bps (that's the maximum rate allowed on GSM due to the protocol).
Obviously my provider, now using Vodafone logo (purchased by it), offered a special "PSTN" number with very low per minute rates to connect such way.

My bet is that some S40 Nokia phones might still be able to do it.. maybe the 6230i does it (and its po-port connector means you can use an usb cable)

in the end, no need to trick the OS that the source isn't the microphone, many old phones do it for you. You don't need 3G for such connection. And likely they're cheap on ebay.

Unmetered wee hours (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352702)

Now to get around data caps we need to have someone hack up a system that will use IP over voice

The lossy compression that both GSM and CDMA2000 use for voice signals would interfere with using any decently fast modulation.

so you can surf unlimited for free on nights & weekends.

HughesNet satellite already offers unmetered wee hours (called "Download Zone") [hughesnet.com] . Why doesn't cellular?

d33z nuts via MMS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37351894)

sounds like a terrific pain in the ass. just pony up the money for a data plan, you cheap bastards. the couple of hours you'd spend getting fucked off by page delivery via MMS would more than pay for the cost of a data plan.

and this kids is why (0)

papasui (567265) | more than 2 years ago | (#37351918)

We can't have nice things. Someone always has to go and abuse the system and get it stuff banned for everyone. $5 this is banned within the month.

Re:and this kids is why (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352466)

Naw, its so bad to use it won't get abused. You can't get more than one or two sms packets every second realistically anyway, limited to 160 characters or whatever trivial amount it is.

It may work, but you won't be able to use it.

Re:and this kids is why (4, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352604)

We would stop abusing, "the system," if the system would stop screwing us.

Browsing + Phone Call at the same time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37352042)

WIN.

Interesting (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352112)

if this takes off would they limited the unlimited. I can just see it now "You have unlimited txting, yes sir. You have unlimited up to 5,000 txts, yep. You are really unlimited because you see people really don't text that much a month and if you go over your 5,000 unlimited txts then it's only 10$ more a month for every 1,000 more. Yes sir on this plan unlimited txting is better than ever."

Vonage did that (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352558)

"Unlimited" call time up to IIRC 5,000 minutes.

Well, then, it's not exactly unlimited, is it?

DNS Tunnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37352190)

It's a great idea and sounds similar to DNS tunnelling to get around kiosk logons.

VOIP (3, Interesting)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352196)

Awesome. Now if we can just tunnel VOIP through it we can have free calling as well.

brilliant marketing plan (1)

mcouper (128103) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352584)

By proxying searches/browsing/etc, they instantaneously gain profiling data for every user that uses the service. I can't imagine that data won't be mined/used for remarketting purposes. Of course, like Comcast has told me on numerous occasions, using my email/browsing data simply allows them to improve my overall Internet experience...

Johnny! (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352600)

"Please explain exactly how you sent and received 4.5 million text messages this month! Were you even doing your homework?"

Just loaded this up, and it does work (4, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37352856)

And it's not too slow for being essentially 'free', as in beer.

Not 'too' slow. No, not speedy. But it works. SSL is an issue, so I suspect this is not useful to do any banking with.

BUT...

One important item. TMO and everyone else expects you to have a data plan with your smartphone. So this does not get you out of a data plan. It does, however, make that 200MB plan with TMO a lot more useful. By limiting your use of that to say HTTPS and anything SMOZZY doesn't handle, and using SMOZZY to fully exploit your SMS plan, you'll avoid overages (caps and throttling) and incidentally fully leverage your SMS plan.

Since SMS was always a clever use of signalling, it will be the carriers' response to re-prioritize any excess SMS traffic to ensure network signalling gets through. as far as I recall, they never even promise SMS will be delivered, so if SMOZZY gets out of hand, they could respond as if it were SMS spam. And TMO might, though they might hold off longer than, say, VZW, which I predict would boil your firstborn if you tried this on their network. AT&T would attend the buffet. Sprint would probably quietly block them and deny all knowledge.

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