Does the T in T-Mobile stand for “Trouble staying connected”?

This content is 17 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

It’s getting on for midnight and I’m here in a hotel room in Prague, after fighting to get my Internet connection working (again). There’s a T-Mobile hotspot here but I’ve been having problems with it all week. A few nights back I couldn’t successfully login after buying a 24-hour pass from the hotel, so I returned the pass for a refund. Then, later in the day it seemed to be working again, so I paid 595Kč (about £15, or $30) for another 24-hour pass and was able to browse the ‘net and connect to work over the VPN. Sorted. Or at least I was until I went out for the evening and returned to my room to do some more work only to find that the connection was so slow as to be unusable.

The Google homepage took about 90 seconds to load and everything else timed out – either as unreachable, or coming back as a google search on the domain name.

As Google seemed to be the only site responding (pinging the gateway came back with Reply from gatewayipaddress: Destination net unreachable), I ran a ping test using ping -t and after a while I could see that I was losing about half the packets on the wire:

Ping statistics for ipaddress:
Packets: Sent = 157, Received = 74, Lost = 83 (52% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 45ms, Maximum = 69ms, Average = 49ms

Restarting the computer didn’t seem to help. Neither did disconnecting and and reconnecting the wireless network connection. So I called (T-Mobile’s English helpline for the Czech Republic) but after 35 minutes on hold at international mobile rates (goodness knows how much that cost), I gave up.

Thanks for nothing T-Mobile.

After a week of fighting with this (and a successful call to T-Mobile, during which they admitted that I could have held on all night because there were no English-speaking staff working…), I’ve discovered that logging out manually (from the link on the page displayed after a successful login, or by typing logout. in the browser address bar) works fine; however if T-Mobile log me out for inactivity, and occasionally when the connection suddenly drops of its own accord, the only remedy is to shut down the computer, wait a while (the shortest I’ve tried was about half an hour) and then start up again, after which everything seems to work as expected.

According to the receptionist at the hotel where the hotspot is, only the people in my group (all attending Microsoft training) have reported any problems. Hopefully this information is useful to some other poor soul who’s trying to get their T-Mobile Wi-Fi connection to work.

(For reference, I’m using Windows Vista Enterprise Edition, 32-bit, with an Intel Centrino 2200BG chipset and Internet Explorer 7.0.6000.16546.)

2 thoughts on “Does the T in T-Mobile stand for “Trouble staying connected”?

  1. Next time you are in the Czech Republic and looking for connectivity try the O2 network – not necessarily any cheaper than T-Mobile but 24 hour help desk available in English

  2. Thanks Abe. I’ll bear that in mind on future trips; unfortunately the reason I was using T-Mobile was that the hotspot was in my hotel!

    A colleague who’s also out here for the week is using an iPass client to roam without any problems but there isn’t one available for Vista yet…

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