Smartone-Vodafone logoThis morning when I plug my iPhone in to iTunes, it reported that there is a new carrier update. The .IPCC file is what was updated and each Apple carrier partner in the world has one of these files. Visual Voicemail and Tethering are dependent on these files to be activated officially on the iPhone. So with my report yesterday regarding SMV's Voicemail migration and today's appearance of the .IPCC file, SMV is well on its way to become Apple's 2nd official carrier partner in Hong Kong.

[Update: January 16, 2010, 19:00] After restarting my iPhone I now have Internet Tethering back. What I also had to do was to remove the Profile originally created with

Categoriesiphone, Mobile

Starting January 23, 2010 Smartone-Vodafone (SMV) will become an official Apple carrier partner in Hong Kong, along with 3 HK. May be this will mean that the two long awaited features: "Visual Voicemail" and "Tethering", will also be officially available to SMV customers (old and new). I was not able to get an official confirmation about this, as everyone I spoke to are keeping the SMV iPhone tariff plans and features very secretive. When Apple released version 3.1.2 of the iPhone OS, they disabled the long enjoyed tethering feature for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS users in Hong Kong who are not 3 HK's customers. This arguably is not the right thing to do and does not make sense. As 5 out of the 7 carriers in HK offers iPhone tethering plans for their customers. Plus all iPhones purchased through official Apple channels are fully unlocked and full featured. When I spoke with AppleCare about the disappearance of tethering on my iPhone 3GS, they admit that tethering should be working for me (a SMV customer).

This is especially frustrating when a friend of mine who purchased his iPhone 3GS from 3 HK, but has since switched to SMV. He is able to see the "Enable Tethering" feature on his iPhone using the SMV SIM. Putting his SIM card into my iPhone 3GS, or replacing my SMV SIM card with a new one, did not correct the problem.

I hope my hypothesis about tethering and Visual Voicemail coming to SMV customers is correct, I guess in a bit over 1 week we will all know.

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.

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.