In the US at least, every subscriber to T-Mobile’s prepaid service gets free access to the mobile web. Before you get too excited I have to point out that it’s a walled garden and a very small one at that. In the garden you can find the usual pricey carrier downloadable games and ringtones, view your plan’s prepaid balance and expiration date and add money to the account.
At one time, before T-Mobile offered any prepaid data plans, they gave prepaid users unlimited access to seven off-portal sites at no charge – and they weren’t bad sites either. ABC News was linked directly from the phone’s default homepage and CNN, ESPN and many more would work if you type in the URL.
Recently T-Mobile redesigned their prepaid mobile portal and eliminated the ABC News link, which no longer works even if you type in the URL
There are still some free sites available on T-Mobile prepaid. The available sites keep changing and often require using a special t-mobile variant of the URL
Someone has created a mobile portal at fast-mobile.com that links to all the currently known free sites.
Fast-Mobile.com and the free sites it links to work with any browser that can connect through a WAP gateway or directly to the Internet, including Opera Mobile and the built in browsers of most phones. It doesn’t work with proxy based browsers like Opera Mini, Bolt or the UC Browser. Except for wml sites it also works with the Safari Browser of unlocked iPhones.
Free T-Zones doesn’t work with proxy based browsers like Opera Mini, Bolt or the UC Browser because access to the proxies is blocked. It also doesn’t work with the Android phones sold by T-Mobile and the Google Developer phones all of which are explicitly blocked from free T-Zones.
If you are not using a T-Mobile branded handset, you will need to input the T-Mobile data settings. Refer to your phone manual or Google ‘GPRS settings “your phone make and model“‘
The relevant settings information for T-Mobile are:
- Access Point Name (APN): wap.voicestream.com (you must use this APN)
- Homepage: http://wap.myvoicestream.com
- WAP Gateway IP Address: 126.96.36.199
- WAP Gateway Port: 9201
Not of these apply to every phone. At a minimum you will need the APN. Non-smartphones generally require the WAP Gateway IP and port. If the phone asks for Username , Password or DNS you can safely leave them blank,
It’s really pretty cool that T-Mobile is giving away a subset of mobile web for free to prepaid users.
I don’t know what T-Mobile’s goal is with free T-Zones. It’s probably just a loophole caused by a misconfigured firewall. But it does provide a no-risk introduction to mobile browsing – creating awareness and buzz among pre-paid customers.