According to Alternageek, T-Mobile's customer service department wrote:
T-Mobile would like to bring to your attention that the Terms and Conditions of service, to which you agreed at activation, indicate "‰Û? some Services are not available on third-party networks or while roaming. We may impose credit, usage, or other limits to Service, cancel or suspend Service, or block certain types of calls, messages, or sessions (such as international, 900, or 976 calls) at our discretion." Therefore, T-Mobile is not in violation of any agreement by not providing service to Twitter. T-Mobile regrets any inconvenience, however please note that if you remain under contract and choose to cancel service, you will be responsible for the $200 early termination fee that would be assessed to the account at cancellation.
I've been a T-Mobile customer for about 4 years now. Fortunately, that means I'm long out of contract so they won't get to charge me the $200 early termination fee.
If you think the rest of the Internet needs net neutrality laws, that's nothing compared with the backward-facing worldview of the established mobile carriers. You guys aren't going to last long at this rate, and when it is all said and done no one is going to look back and longingly pine for the days of a handful of restricted carriers running closed networks.
You know that, right?
Update 2007-12-16: The Twitter blog is reporting that this is a technical issue, not a policy issue. I think that's good news.
That doesn't explain the original response from T-Mobile, of course. Telling, isn't it, that even their own customer service department jumped to the conclusion that they were intentionally blocking someone?
You know, I don't even care that much about Twitter in particular. I simply find that Twitter is a great litmus test for what happens when social communication crosses network boundaries. Here we were able to witness some of the potential problems.
And T-Mobile, while we have your attention, can you explain to me in plain honest language why the mobile device I purchased (for full price, outside contract), can not:
- Load ringtones that I made on my computer? I notice that I can buy and download them from your store.
- Load and run arbitrary applications? I notice I can buy and download those from your store as well...
- Sync with my email provider, calendar provider, etc.? I notice that ... wait, no, I can't sync with you, either.
Technically the phone is perfectly capable of doing any of those things. The phone's OS and runtime supports it, as does the technical infrastructure of your network.
(That was a rhetorical question, of course. I just think it is sad. And I'm frustrated, and I'd like it to change.)