Smartone-Vodafone LogoWell not exactly... that are dropping POP3 in the list of protocol that comes free with their "Internet Browsing" plan. For those iPhone users in Hong Kong who followed my advice and subscribed to the Smartone-Vodafone's "Internet Browsing" and the GSM 2G/3G Data plans, you should have received a SMS from Smartone-Vodafone to inform you that they will be dropping the POP3 protocol within the "Internet Browsing" plan.

One less protocol in the already limited features list of this "Internet Browsing" plan; you can see my article, "iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Smartone-Vodafone", from a Smartone-Vodafone customer's point of view on using the iPhone in Hong Kong for my opinions on this plan.

I am not certain if this decision of Smartone-Vodafone is the direct result of too many Smartphone and iPhone users using the Internet Browsing plan for POP3 and IMAP access. It is very obvious that their Product Development department did not think clearly about this plan before they launch it, and now they are trying to recover by dissecting the features of this plan further. Spawning even more VAS from it.

If you are one of the many iPhone users who took my advise in the article, "iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Smartone-Vodafone", then there is no need for you to do anything. Unless your POP3 usage is so large that it exceeds your current 2G/3G Data plan monthly quota. In that case you may want to weight the benefit of upgrading to the higher 2G/3G Data plan of the new "POP3" VAS to the Internet Browsing plan.

Note: that Smartone-Vodafone only speak of POP3 and they did not mention IMAP, nor did they exclude any POP3 access over a VPN. So you should take these into consideration if you need to argue with them on your next phone bill.