[MoMoBangalore] Airtel 99Rs Unlimited GPRS plan is limited

janakiram ganesan
Thu Dec 20 11:53:56 IST 2007

Please my reply in blue color.

On Dec 19, 2007 10:33 PM, Banibrata Dutta banibrata.dutta at gmail.com> wrote:

> The conclusions stated as a result of your analysis are a bit profound.
> The question is, is the research done sufficient to support your conclusions
> ? How come you trust a person from a shop in Indranagar to be an expert on
> the subject, and took his words on their face value ?
    I am not emotional but surprised,  I would be happy to know the reality.
I like to give the complete analysis data, we will discuss and come to the
correct conclusion. I have not taken the decision only with details from
technical person but used for substantiation.

> Use of IMEI (and few other means) to determine phone make/model and thus
> their capabilities is a fairly old technology now, and it has been use in
> most GSM networks world-wide for few years (I'd think atleast 3-4 years).
> Today it also forms basis of things like "Mobile Device Management", or
> "Authomatic Device Detection", which is used in-turn to do things like
> device-specific Over-The-Air (OTA) provisioning of your devices, or even for
> the customer-support personnel to give you device-specific technical help.

   Perfectly correct, it can be used for many purposes state above (real
purpose of the IMEI) and also for blocking the mobile user w.r.t to the
tariff. So technical feasibility is very high. it is just a question,
whether they are doing it or not?.  Any technology can be misused.

The use of same technology to block access to certain features ( s.a. WAP
access over GPRS) is certainly possible, however that being done in purpose,
seems very unlikely. I've to admit that I've not read the fine-print on the
Rs.99/- unlimied GPRS plan, but note that GPRS forms only the "transport"
medium for various kinds of traffic, and to various kinds of destinations.

>From your post, it's clear that you understand this very well. In all
probability (and as you have found) the Rs.99/- plan is permitting access to
WAP site (and possibly the Airtel Live "Portal") over GPRS. The Rs.499/-
plan on the other hand, give clear-channel TCP/IP access over GPRS to the

 Yes I do understand the transport,  Actually, I don't want to give all
fundu terms but excuse me this time.

Any mobile should establish a PDP connection.

GPRS connection establishment has the following steps
1) PDP Attach with information about mobile
2) Identity response from the SGSN
3) Sending IMEI number for verification
4) ACK for IMEI check         [It fails here is my argument]
5) PDP Activate (APN)
6) DNS query
8) Dynamic IP allocation (say 10.x.x.x)  [So IP address is not allocated to
iPhone for Airtel Online APN]

After IP allocation, it can go through the proxy address, *
* to reach any WAP / HTTP site. So iPhone supporting WAP or only HTTP is not
the question. All these things are happening far before the site access.

More over if you browse any WAP site from iPhone, instead of rendering in
the screen it will display the wml file because it is not having WAP
protocol stack. (This is the iPhone WAP problem)

> If a cellco were to be so screwed-up in offering an unlimited Rs.99/- plan
> and yet continue to offer a limited Rs.499/- plan, I think they'r in the
> muck already. I don't think AirTel is there, yet! :-) The price difference
> is for a reason.

Might be price difference is for the reason, high end users can pay more *:)

> Now to explain why you can use the Rs.99/- plan on N80/N90, but not on
> iPhone is probably because iPhone doesn't come with a native WAP browser, or
> a WAP stack, but only a pure HTTP (over TCP/IP) stack and browser. If you
> check your iPhone detailed specs, you might find that mentioned.

Please refer above for answer.

> You've got a very important point though, and that is - it is so darn
> frustrating to deal with any Indian cellco's technical support. Those folks
> in most cases are ill-trained and ill-equipped to answer any non-typical
> questions, especially if you start doing some "hacking" around!  It gets on
> your nerves when your modem (on mobile) says authentication failure, and
> they ask you to clear your Internet-Explorer cookies, and check DNS settings
> :-)

Yes, it is correct that customer care persons are not competent enough to
answer our questions. Airtel has a separate GPRS helpline (12118), i hope
they can answer one level better.

IPhone is able to establish a PDP session and get one dynamic IP address for
Airtel Live APN and able to browse any website but not to "Airtel Online"
APN even though the mechanism is same. So it is not H/W or S/W limitation.

Information from GPRS helpline,  (i hope we can take this information from
the GPRS help desk *:)* )
A) Phones support  "Airtel Online"
N80, N72, most of Nokia phones, Sony Erisson W series and so on...

B) Phones does not support  "Airtel Online"
iPhone, *Nokia Communicator*, O2  handsets,  Dopod handsets,  HP iPAQ,  *HTC
Touch* and so on..

What we have to understand from this, *"all PDA phones not supported"* . I
don't believe that it is because of the phone H/W or S/W limitation.  it is
clear that some network node is denying the connection.

I think we need to understand the limitation

Thanks & regards

> On 12/19/07, janakiram ganesan janakiramg2020 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I did some analysis of the Airtel 99Rs plan.
> > Results are surprising. They are blocking the connection with respect to
> > the device IMEI number.
> >
> >
> > http://democomm.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/airtel-99rs-unlimited-gprs-plan-is-limited/
> >
> >
> >
> >
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> >
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