Anyone know about iPhones?

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Anyone know about iPhones?

Post by KevR » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:19 pm

Just been given an iPhone 3G by my little sister (all my phones are either hand me downs from my mum or hand-me-ups from sister!
Need to get it unlockd from O2 but that shouldn't be a problem.
However I want to use it with a PAYG sim and I've heard there's a problem in that even if you turn off internet access by phone network and only use it for web via wi-fi, it can still east up all your phone credit trying to update itself automatically and there's no way to turn that off.
Anyone got any experience of this? Suggestions?
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Post by BX Meteor » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:51 pm

If web access by phone network is turned off, then I would have thought that all types of internet download by network (browsing and ftp etc), would be turned off. Check this out with the network provider.

In my experience working on mobile networks, is is usual for all IP traffic to be routed the same, but it is possible for networks to differentiate on the type of IP traffic for billing purposes. I'm not an expert on SIMs, but I would expect that it is possible to get a PAYG SIM that only allows Voice and Text services, so again check with network provider.

If this is so, then updates will then only come over WiFi.

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Post by KevR » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:39 pm

Ah, that's what I would have thought too, but this is Apple we're talking about, so you can't take anything for granted...
No point checking with my network provider – it's Leclerc mobile, sort of French equivalent of Tesco Mobile. As soon as you mention the word iPhone to the customer services chimps, they immediately say, 'Oh, in that case you want an iphone-specific contract,' etc etc. No, I don't want a contract as I don't use the phone enough to make it worth it – all I want is to be able to use it as a phone occasionally when I'm out and about, and use it to check emails etc when I'm on my travels and within range of free wifi.
1990 BX TZD Estate ('the grey one', 1991 BX TZD Estate ('the white one'), 1982 2CV6 Charleston (in bits), 1972 AZU Serie B (2CV van), 1974 HY72 Camper, 1990 Land Rover 110 diesel LWB, 1957 Mobylette AV76, 1992 Ducati 400SS, 1966 VW Beetle, 1990 Mazda MX-5, 1996 Peugeot 106D, 1974 JCB 2D MkII, 1997 BMW R1100RS, 1987 Suzuki GSX-R1100, 1978 Honda CX500A, 1965 Motobecane Cady, 1988 Honda Bros/Africa Twin, 1963 Massey Ferguson 825, and a lot of bicycles!

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Post by kiwi » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:06 pm

And there was me expecting one those threads on how do I get the Iphone connected to my car stereo in my BX :lol:
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Post by messerschmitt owner » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:26 pm

switch off data roaming - that sorts out the looking for stuff when out in the wild!
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Post by BX Meteor » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:44 pm

Every SIM card has what is called an IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity). The IMSI is associated with information stored on what is called the HLR, or Home Location Register (an extremely large database).

When you switch on a phone, the IMSI tells the phone the home network of the ISMI, and the phone searches for that home network. If it cannot find the home network, then it attaches to the network with the strongest signal, and that network is used to route to the IMSI's HLR.

The HLR holds information on what services that that IMSI is allowed. Different network providers handle the relationship between HLR and Billing in slightly different ways. No two networks are identical.

For example, T-Mobile UK used to have (and I think they still have) a pre-pay SIM with the capability to block voice services as soon as the free minute allowance has been reached. This is because T-MO UK use the PAYG system for the pre-pay system i.e. a PAYG SIM stops as soon as the credit has run out, so, the T-MO UK system uses a crediting operation on its pre-pay billing. On the other hand, O2 did not (and I think they still do not) have this system, which means that theire billing runs behind actual usage, so that it is impossible to block voice calls when the free minutes have been used up.

The above gives just 2 examples of the way services are handled by networks. But note that in the above description, I did not need to mention the phone .... because the IMSI, HLR, and Billing systems control the way that services are handled.

So when you go into a shop, say "I want a PAYG SIM, but I only want voice and text, no MMS services, no internet services, no IP services. So does your network provide a SIM with all services blocked, apart from voice and text". If they do not know what you are talking about, ask to speak to someone who knows. Try this with each network provider.

If they ask what phone you have, say that you do not have it with you, and tell them it is an old Nokia N70 to get them to shut up about the phone. But make sure that they understand that you want all services blocked apart from voice and text. I am certain that you will find at least one network that can do this, if not all, because PAYG HLR and Billing is more sophisticated in general than Pre-pay.

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Post by KevR » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:22 pm

BX Meteor wrote:
So when you go into a shop, say "I want a PAYG SIM, but I only want voice and text, no MMS services, no internet services, no IP services. So does your network provide a SIM with all services blocked, apart from voice and text".
I just need to translate all that into French then... :shock:
Thanks for the detail, although I think I may need to go and sit quietly with a bottle of wine now. Fortunately that was part of this evening's plans anyway! :D

What I'm going to do is take it one step at a time - get a temporary pre-pay O2 SIM in UK so I can get the damn thing unlocked, turn off data roaming etc, then stick my existing French SIM in it with no more than 10 euros on it, and see what happens. If it all works ok, excellent. If not, then I'll think about traipsing round the service providers. The thought doesn't fill me with joy though - the French attitude to customer service is a bit medieval, to be honest. :cry:
1990 BX TZD Estate ('the grey one', 1991 BX TZD Estate ('the white one'), 1982 2CV6 Charleston (in bits), 1972 AZU Serie B (2CV van), 1974 HY72 Camper, 1990 Land Rover 110 diesel LWB, 1957 Mobylette AV76, 1992 Ducati 400SS, 1966 VW Beetle, 1990 Mazda MX-5, 1996 Peugeot 106D, 1974 JCB 2D MkII, 1997 BMW R1100RS, 1987 Suzuki GSX-R1100, 1978 Honda CX500A, 1965 Motobecane Cady, 1988 Honda Bros/Africa Twin, 1963 Massey Ferguson 825, and a lot of bicycles!

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Post by BX Meteor » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:11 pm

KevR wrote: What I'm going to do is take it one step at a time - get a temporary pre-pay O2 SIM in UK so I can get the damn thing unlocked, turn off data roaming etc, then stick my existing French SIM in it with no more than 10 euros on it, and see what happens. If it all works ok, excellent. If not, then I'll think about traipsing round the service providers. The thought doesn't fill me with joy though - the French attitude to customer service is a bit medieval, to be honest. :cry:
Sounds a good plan, but I didn't know that French customer service was still so bad.

A bit more about how phones work:
Networks are split into two parts, access network, and core network. Most access networks are similar by technology, but no two core networks are the same (there will even be differences between T-MO UK core and T-MO DE core for example). Access network is also split by technology, so for a single operator, 2G and 3G access are separate, but with modern core networks, the core can handle any technology. The core network is where the HLR and other control databases are located.

Each network broadcasts an MCC (country code) and an MNC (network code). Here are some of the codes:
........................MCC MNC
O2 UK ............... 234 10
Vodafone UK ...... 234 15
Three ................ 234 20
T-Mobile UK ........ 234 30
Orange UK ......... 234 33

SFR ................... 208 10
Orange France .... 208 02
Bouygues ........... 208 20

When you buy a SIM, it has a unique IMSI, and the MCC-MNC of the network issuer. When you turn the phone on, the phone looks at the MCC-MNC of the SIM, and looks for that MCC-MNC network.
If the phone cannot find the home MCC-MNC, and only sees MCC's with different MNC's, then the phone attaches to the strongest signal, and you will only be able to make emergency calls (no roaming allowed in home MCC area).
If the phone cannot find the home MCC-MNC and finds different MCC's, then the phone attaches to the stongest signal, and sends the IMSI to that network. That network then routes to the HLR in the home network to find out what roaming services are allowed.
If the phone does find the home MCC-MNC, then the home network finds out from its HLR what services are allowed.

Thereafter, each time you start a service of any description, the IMSI is sent at the start of the service, and the HLR is checked to see if there is credit for that service (there are local HLR's distributed about, called VLR's, but to keep it simple just imagine one HLR per network).

All that you have to do with any SIM, is contact the home network provider and in effect tell them what services you want, and what you do not want. For example, you might have a Nokia N70, and you might only want to use it for voice and text, but you might have a partner or a sibling who occasionally uses your phone for browsing, hence using up your credit. Thus you ask for that SIM to only have voice and text set up on the HLR for that IMSI.

Most UK call centre staff are aware of this sort of thing (maybe not to that extent though), but I know nothing about those friends of ours over the water !!

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Post by KevR » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:07 am

My head hurts! :oops:
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Post by BX Meteor » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:57 am

LOL ...sorry if I did an information overload, but I don't think there's an easier way to explain how services are managed by networks.

btw, in the paragraph "For example, T-Mobile UK .... etc ....when the free minutes have been used up" I meant to put "post-pay" where I had put "pre-pay" (typo because pre-pay is same as PAYG). So that para should read:
For example, T-Mobile UK used to have (and I think they still have) a post-pay SIM with the capability to block voice services as soon as the free minute allowance has been reached. This is because T-MO UK use the PAYG system for the post-pay system i.e. a PAYG SIM stops as soon as the credit has run out, so, the T-MO UK system uses a crediting operation on its post-pay billing. On the other hand, O2 did not (and I think they still do not) have this system, which means that their billing runs behind actual usage, so that it is impossible to block voice calls when the free minutes have been used up on post-pay

PAYG systems were the main revolution in mobile networks. Before PAYG, penetration of phones into populations was peaking at about 30%. In the years 1995 to 2000, penetration went crazy, and a licence for spectrum for a mobile network became known as "a licence to print money". That is no longer true, but they make most money out of roaming and PAYG.

An iPhone is the same as any phone in that the services the phone can use depend on what has been set up for the SIM's IMSI on the HLR. This applies to each service, whether it be roaming use or home network use.