Moving to 3, a Twitter issue and the Nokia E71

Three Mobile
Three Mobile

I shifted from Vodafone to 3 last week after Adam kindly told me of a nice tariff they have. For £20 per month, I get unlimited texts, internet and calls to other 3 mobiles(subject to the usual “fair use” policies which make them limited…) and 200 minutes for everyone else. And a shiny Nokia E71 to play with.

I do recommend it. It’s a good deal. And if you decide to go for it, please get in touch and tell me beforehand. If I give you my number and you quote it when you sign up, we both get £30 – more if you get a mobile internet dongle for your laptop as well.

However, a few points to note which aren’t made clear. I’ve spent a little while on the phone to their support (in India, but all three people I spoke to were really good) which has clarified a few things. They did credit some of the cash back as well. I’ll detail as I go.

First up, you can use the Nokia E71 as a modem. Either through the included USB cable or with a little utility called JoikuSpot. The “Light” version is enough for general web access though you do have to tweak your proxy settings to access “https” resources. This means the roaming internet dongle isn’t so useful, although it does have the benefit of ease of use. On the other hand, it’s £15 per month for 5Gb usage. The telephone contract offers unlimited downloads on the same 3G network regardless of whether it’s on your phone or your laptop via the phone.

Next up – video calls ain’t included on your tarrif. They’re 50p per minute so that’s an expensive assumption to make. The charge for the one I tried out (which never even connected – thankfully) was 48p and not refunded.

Using the Three mailserver costs you if you’re sending emails. Ditch the “Mail on 3” or “3Mail” settings ASAP once you unpack the phone. Replace it with GMail, Hotmail or whatever you use. Just make sure you don’t send any emails through their SMTP servers. The costs for the couple I sent when I was tinkering with the phone were refunded.

Nokia Maps, supplied with the phone, costs cash after a while – I think 90 days (at least the very useful Drive and Walk features do). It’s a nice bit of software but Google Maps does just as good a job and costs nothing. I’ve not been able to uninstall Nokia Maps, though – it seems it’s part of the firmware and can’t be completely removed. To get Google Maps, use the browser on the phone to go to, click the link at the top for “More…” and then scroll down to “Maps”. Download and install.

Here’s a biggie, though. Twitter have a UK (+44) phone number you can use to send SMS‘s to for publication in your Twitter stream. They do say on their FAQ that some networks see it as a foreign number… and Three is one of these networks. It seems that despite it having the UK prefix, it’s based in Ireland and therefore subject to international charges of 25p per text.

This does worry me. Not because of Twitter per se, but the fact that some numbers can be “international” without appearing to be so. How on earth has this situation arisen?

It is a shame as sending an SMS is quicker than using the Twitter web page on the mobile or an alternative utility. On that score, however, I recommend Twim. Locate the current stable release’s .jar or .jad file, click on it in your mobile browser and install. It does give the occasional error message, but on the whole it’s pretty reliable and the Twitpic integration new with the current release is ace. The author says it uses about the same bandwidth as using the web page, but it’s far wasier to use. On this tariff, it’s irrelevant anyway. And, hey – it’s free.

I’m happy with the package, don’t get me wrong. A little more clarification on what is chargeable would have been nice. Oh, and there is nothing in any of the paperwork I received that told me the voicemail number! For those also looking… it’s “123”.

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