In which we rant about T-Mobile

A couple months ago, I signed Erin and I up for T-Mobile service, carrying our old phone numbers with us. We got snazzy new Sony T610 phones, which are Bluetooth-equipped, therby allowing me to get to the Net via my similarly-equipped Palm. T-Mobile’s internet service was more or less the same as any ISP, and they allowed me unfettered access to their outgoing SMTP server (which, of course, you have to be on their system to use) since I can’t use my “normal” one associated with Earthlink without being on the Earthlink network.

Today, without warning, T-Mobile changed the rules. I can still get web, shell, and incoming mail on my Palm, but I can’t SEND mail. I called tech support and escalated a couple levels until I was no longer dealing with the idiot fringe, whereupon I discovered a new “feature.” In order go send mail from my normal account (at, I needed to go to the T-Mobile website (horror that it is) and configure the account there, supplying T-mobile with my username, password, and mail server address so that they can mirror my mail on their servers. Only then would I be allowed to send using their SMTP server.

I’m sorry, but: What. The. Fuck?

It took a bit for my initial tech-support person to ferret this out, but she and her supervisor both confirmed this setup, as does the site itself. When they planned to notify their subscribers, however, was unknown. No one with half a brain should give up their mail password, nor should anyone similarly en-brained consent to mailbox mirroring. I pointed these facts out, and (no surprise) discovered the tech support people thought it was precisely as good an idea as I did.

My next call was to Brent, my corporate rep with T-Mobile. I explained the situation, and he understood immediately how unattractive their new plan was, and promised to get back to me next week about what workaround are available. I’m not terribly optimistic.

The only good part of the whole deal is that T-Mobile appears NOT to filter outbound SMTP traffic, so I can, if I can find one, use an external SMTP server. I don’t know of one, but I do have a box I can run one of my own on — except I’m not terribly excited about the additional hassles and such that this implies. However, I may not be able to escape it, at least in the near term — i.e., between now and when I show T-Mobile the door. Which SMTP package ought I use, and how can I lock it down tight enough that I don’t become Spam Central?

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