A mobile fone deal in Britain, circa 2001
we'd rather not promote the buying of mobile fones. but if you're going to get one anyway, here's one way thats better than most. and because choosing a fone and all the faff that goes with it can be horrendous, hopefully this might save you some wasted time.
built-in modem for Internet access (accesable via infrared or ?cable?)
infra-red port for connection to computers and printers (computers, including Psion5/5mx, can use it to control the modem or backup information you've stored in the fone)
lots of memory in the fone itself for storing hundreds of fone numbers, SMS messages, etcetera (the SIM cards most fones store on only hold 90 fone numbers and 10 SMS messages)
longer battery life than most
WAP (a restricted version of the world wide web for mobile fones. not great but it seems to have its occasional uses)
frequencies operates on: 1800MHz (Orange use DCS1800, a GSM variant) and 900MHz
predictive text input (using AOL's T9 software)
supported cryptographic algorithms (not sure if this info is current): A3: Authentication algorithm; A8: Cipher Key Generator (essentially a 1-way function); A5: Ciphering/Deciphering algorithm (presently A5/1,A5/2). see http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/14.60.html
The same fone is available in a 'ruggedized' version (the 6250, http://www.nokia.co.uk/html/phones/6250.asp) for ?£100?, built as these things should be - so you can drop them without them breaking
The Service/Network Provider
Orange UK (100% owned by France Telecom, as of this writing in 2001) usually offer the cheapest tariffs
in the UK, of the four main service providers, but not compared with others you can have as well as the main service provider.
free 0800 (freefone) numbers, which you can use to dial into another telephone network (i.e. Breathe) for their cheaper voice calls
Orange environmental report: http://www.orange.co.uk/about/environment/
The Initial Deal
nothing complicated here. no initial charge; a free 6210e when you take out a 1 year contract.
£20 (and sometimes £30) rebate against your bill if you give them your old fone (50% for the fone if it atleast just switches on, 50% for the manual and charger).
Mobile fone tariffs are head numbingly complicated.
each telephone company has their own range and they may also let you choose terms that match another company's tariffs
the cheapest worthwhile Orange tariff is 15 UK Pounds a month, 50 minutes free landline calls a day off-peak. you get the opportunity to change yr tariff each month. if you don't get a contract, and instead get what in Britain is called 'pay as you go' then the telefone company doesn't allow you to make data calls, receive faxes, or use most of the other interesting digital features (atleast Orange don't appear to, don't know about other companies)
Who To Buy From
it seems to be cheaper to buy from an intemediary company rather than direct from the telephone company (but perhaps more complicated)
Carphone Warehouse (http://www.carphonewarehouse.com) seem to have the same terms as the best of the rest but also give you the £20 back (sometimes £30), and have shops aswell as the telephone contact (it can be more pleasant to complain in person than over the fone)
you can buy from Carphone Warehouse either over the fone or from one of their shops.
they go under slightly differing names around Europe, but the typeface they use for their name seems to always be the same.
I got mine thru a salesman called ***** ***** (xxxx-xxx-xxxx), he's usually busy on the fone so if you leave your number he's good at ringing back, even to mobiles. or you can get the salesperson you reach on the Carphone Warehouse freefone number to put you thru to him. if you say you want the same deal as I had, he should give you a leather case and in-car charger, this seems to be the most he'll give, and note that if yr offered the hands-free kit for free it comes with the fone anyway. by mentioning that you've been passed on to him by ***** ***** might help you swiftly and easily get the few added freebies he's offering as we've gotten atleast xx fones thru him so far, then again you may get them easily anyway
if you want to use the interesting functions on these fones (suchas connecting a computer/PDA, or using WAP), then you need to take out a contract, rather than payasyougo. this is atleast true with Orange, I don't know about other telco's. the cheapest tariff is Everyday50: £15 a month, stupidly dear calls during the day, 50 minutes free each night, unused minutes carry over for one month only, 1p/min to UK landlines and 5p/min to Orange mobiles after 7pm (dont recall fully, but think calls to Orange mobiles aren't included in the 50 free minutes). next tariff up is £25/month: much cheaper during the day, includes insurance (but insurance for fones can be bought for something like £40 a month from a third party)
Carphone Warehouse send out the fone next day by courier who tends to turn up before 10am (but isn't guaranteed to), even when you order up to as late as 8/8:30pm. it doesn't have to be sent to the address you're registered to. the address you register to can be any residential address, not necessarily the address the bank account details are registered to. it can take 24 hours to get the fone connected up to the network, but usually it should be on by late afternoon if you ring up Carphone Warehouse's activation line first thing in the morning. if you want to take your old fone number over to your new fone, first cancel yr existing contract by telling your telco you want to do that and transfer the number, they'll send you a Porting Authority Code (PAC) in the post which you tell the salesperson at Carphone Warehouse when ordering the fone (and then I think send them in the post soon afterwards) and it should take from 3 to 30 days for the fone's number to switch (tho it took me just under a week)
direct debit - they'll need account details. they don't have to be yours. and an
address to register to, it doesn't have to be yours, but it helps if it passses a credit check
the DirectDebit is setup with Orange, not Carphone Warehouse, if you give Carphone Warehouse bank details for this they may forget to give them to Orange so you need to double check this with Orange.
or pay monthly by sending a cheque or using a credit/debit card over the fone. I've been able to pay with someone else's card and they be happy to accept that, other times they need the card holder to give permission
Activating the Fone When You Get It
when you receive the fone, depending on whether its a new fone or replacement, ring the Carphone Warehouse Activation Line or Orange registrations (see further on for numbers) with the SIM card number and IMEI number and they'll begin activating the fone. (things can get confusing if you ring the wrong people to activate the fone)
nows a good time to put the fone on charge for 16 hours (see 'Charging the Battery' further on)
with the fone switched off (but charging), wait perhaps 2 hours (this works with it switched on but Orange don't advise it, don't know why)
switch the fone on and you should have network access (you can try switching it on before 2 hours is up, but if you're not connected switch off again)
if the fone doesn't have network access when you switch it on, switch it off and wait another 2 hours
you should receive SIM updates in the form of text messages which you read(?) then reboot the fone for them to take effect
Charging the Battery
when you get the fone, the first charge defines the capacity of the battery for ever-more,
so be sure to give it the full 16 hours without any interruption (despite what
Orange representatives tell you). With subsequent charges you can partially charge
the fone, and by a proportionate amount limit its capacity, but this can be reverted by completely
discharging the fone then completely recharging it (which you may have to do a few times); but this
doesn't apply for the first charge where its imperative to max out the battery.
£5/month from Orange ('Orange Care') or from a third-party company for £40/year. sounds like the Orange insurance cover allows perhaps 3 replacements per year no-questions-asked, as long as you actually lost it rather than left it somewhere public (which is just the way you mince yr words). or get the £25/month tariff (I forget the name) (with cheaper daytime calls) that includes insurance.
you used to be able to swap for free after a month to OVP (Orange Value Promise), a Virgin equivalent tariff;
now it costs £10 per month or is free after a year.
With OVP the monthly payment is replaced with a daily one charged on the calls themselves. This is beneficial when combined with a Breathe account.
take out a Breathe (http://www.breathe.com/) account. (this option is probably no longer available).
dial in using their 0800 number, their network recognises your fone and then you dial the number you want and get billed cheaply to your own account. Breathe used to be called FirstTelecom, and a host of others. Breathe give you £5 for each person you recommend.
Carphone Warehouse ?'Sales'?: 0800-1388690
Carphone Warehouse 'Customer Care': 0870-1680870
The Carphone Warehouse Limited, North Acton Business Park, Wales Farm Rd, London W3 6RS | tel: 0208 8965000 | fax:0208 8965005
Orange contact details: http://www.orange.co.uk/about/contact/
Orange Registrations: 0800-0790027
Orange Customer Services: 07973-100150 or 150 (free from an Orange fone)
Orange billing: 07973-100152 or 152 (free from an Orange fone) [09:00-20:00 mon-fri]
Orange Sales: 0500 802080
Orange Accessory Order Line: 0500 178178
Orange Payment Processing, Southend-On-Sea SS99 6LU
http://www.prattfamily.demon.co.uk/mikep/gsmnet.html - Mike Pratt's info
http://www.isaac.cs.berkeley.edu/isaac/gsm.html - GSM Cloning
if you can send operating system updates to a fone in the form of an SMS message, then there's obviously the potential for maliciousness:
SMS to mobile fones from the web, ICQ and email: http://web.icq.com/sms
if you use mobile fone numbers in services such as web to SMS gateways, will the fone numbers be harvested and spammed?
Orange provide Internet by connecting their exchanges to Demon Internet, who in turn connect thru BT (I think)
if you want Internet access its better to have a fone with built-in modem, rather than the modem being in the computer/PDA. either using the fone's modem over a cable or infra-red. some fones have a built-in POP3 client for checking email, otherwise you use the POP3 client on your computer; or via WAP. there are quite a few such fones
the Nokia 6210e appears similar in specification to the 8210 but is actually a lot better
the 6210e's modem operates at 33,000baud ('33K') but some vague information I got a year ago said the means by which it achieves this speed (which is faster than mobile foines have been able to connect to the Internet before) was poorly supported by the telephone companies and some new technology early this year was supposed to come in new fones and be better supported by the telephone companies that would enable much faster access, but I didnt see it arrive. worst case is that the speed would be 9,600baud, which would probably be just about ok in terms of speed for plain text email (ask people not to send you email in HTML, or attachments).
To connect the computer to the fone you'll probably need a cable. a Nokia cable (DLR-3P) will be something like 15 to 30 UK Pounds, I hear third- party cables can be bought for something like 5 UK Pounds, or you can make up yr own. alternatively you can connect the computer to the fone using infra-red, but that might be slower, I can't remember, and you'll need a modern laptop with an infra-red port. another way is to get the PCMCIA (sometimes called a 'PC card') version of the fone: a 6210e built into a PCMCIA card that you just use with the computer rather than as a handset; I expect this option is expensive
The 6210e has WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) aswell, which is web access directly using just the fone rather than using a seperate computer in conjunction with the fone, however you can't access HTML pages using WAP, only WML pages (an ugly non-standard subset of HTML), pages created specifically for cramped wireless devices. WML/WAP is very limited but there appear to be atleast a couple of interesting uses for it, suchas checking email when you haven't got yr computer or finding out what films are on at yr local cinema, etcetera, whatever; I've not seen anything better than this yet. the display for WAP on such fones is small and text only. for WAP Orange charge 10 UK Pence peak, 5 UK Pence off peak, your mileage may differ. other telephone companies charge differently for 'data' calls
Psion's list of which fones are compatible with which Psions: http://www.psion.com/mobile/irphone.asp
Psion's 'Connecting with Nokia Infrared mobile phones support document'
Psion knowledge-base on connecting to the Internet
Psion's 'Mobile' section: http://www.psion.com/mobile/
Unlocking the Fone from the Service Provider
To unlock the fone so it isn't locked to the one service provider you need a flasher cable and software to partially re-write the fone's flash memory. there's info on this at http://www.cro-web.com/maroon/, who might be selling the kit
To access the fone from a computer using a cable (rather than infra-red) you'll need either the Nokia DLR-3P cable, a copy made by a third-party company
or to make one up yourself. you can buy third-party copy cables for 15UK Pounds.