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HTC G1 Cellphone
Sidekick Plan

Jim Carter, 2009-09-06

T-Mobile sells a line of smartphones collectively called the SidekickTM. In Spring 2009 they offered an attractive (to me) pay-as-you-go plan for Sidekick. The terms are/were USD $0.15 per minute for voice, and $1.00 per day for unlimited data including SMS. No ports were blocked, and UMTS (3G) technology is used in locales where the infrastructure has been installed.

Quite a number of G1 and iPhone users, including myself, have had good results using the various Sidekick plans.

However, starting about 2009-08-10, T-Mobile blocked ports 80 and 443; they require that Sidekicks access web sites through their proxy. It does the WAP thing and also suppresses images, in line with the capabilities of the actual Sidekick. The consequences for a G1 (or iPhone) user are these:

So what am I to do for data transport? My choices are:

My eventual choice: AT&T GoPhone pay-as-you-go plan, using the feature pack for data at USD $20 for 100 Mbytes. The package expires in 30 days, and since I never come close to using that much data, effectively I'm paying $20/month: less than on T-Mobile. For voice there are several options, but given the small amount of voice chat that I do, the $0.25/minute plan costs me the least. If a period of high voice usage can be anticipated, it is accepted practice (accepted by the carrier) to change to a more favorable plan, do the special activity, and then change back, possibly even on the same day.

I'm not getting UMTS (3G) service, but I figure that 2G that works is better than 3G that doesn't. Now that I can get to Google Maps reliably (if a little slow), every day when going home from work I check which of two routes is less congested.

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