Smartone-Vodafone logoToday all PCCW Home Netvigator (one of the largest Broadband ISP in Hong Kong) customer encountered problems accessing web sites outside of Hong Kong. It started for me some time around 14:00 and is still an issue. Fortunately, many people who has an iPhone was able to tether their computer to their iPhone's HSDPA connection.

This produce a very good result. Although, as the PCCW problem persist throughout the evening. I presume more and more HSDPA customers are tethering their phone to their computer for Internet connection.

I notice Smartone-Vodafone; who previously did not make a distinction between regular HSPDA traffic and tethered traffic. This evening all of a sudden modified their settings so that their "SmartoneIN Toolbar" momentary appeared in the Safari browser window on the Mac, while the Mac is tethered to the iPhone.

This means that Smartone-Vodafone may have changed their exchange settings in an attempt to identify tethered traffic and/or control the bandwidth usage on their network.

For anyone who is not paying for a Smartone-Vodafone Tethering package, I suggest you stop tethering your computer to your iPhone until we who had used this service this month check our upcoming bills for charges from Smartone-Vodafone.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice, iphone

Smartone-Vodafone logoLast Friday I reported that I was stuck at a Starbucks that did not have a reliable WiFi connection, so I decided to give the iPhone tethering a try. That trial ended up lasting 4 hours of work on my Mac. When I decided to use it, I was not 100% certain how Smartone-Vodafone was going to bill me. I have one of their IOM (Internet on Mobile) plan that has since been discontinued, but very similar to the current "IOM Value Pack" except without a contract.

This plan comes with a HKD15.00/15MB rate for any HSDPA traffic outside of their "Internet Browsing" traffic. So I concluded that Smartone-Vodafone cannot tell the difference between regular local data traffic and tethered traffic from my Mac. Therefore and tethered traffic will be charged based on the HKD15.00/15MB rate (with a price cap of HKD298.00).

I received my bill yesterday and I was correct. The only extra data charges I have was lump into the other HSDPA traffic that Smartone-Vodafone did not consider to be "Internet Browsing". It came out to about 105MB of usage for the 4 hours of tethering.

Today I also received confirmation of how Smartone-Vodafone's billing system is distinguishing regular HSDPA local data traffic and what they considered "Internet Browsing". For the iPhone:

Any traffic through the Mobile Safari browser on the iPhone and any traffic from the use of the YouTube native application are all considered "Internet Browsing" according to the Smartone-Vodafone billing system.

All other HSDPA data traffic from any other applications on the iPhone will be considered extra data, and will be charged based on the HKD15.00/15MB rate with a price cap of HKD298.00.

Also, the HKD298.00 is a price cap only, that means HKD298.00 is the maximum amount Smartone-Vodafone will charge for extra data usage, but if you reach that amount the data usage is still usable past the 298MB.

I hope this helps clarify some of the questions people have with using the iPhone in Hong Kong on the Smartone-Vodafone network.