Hiding user-agent, Vodafone sucks!

VodafoneGo Luca fight it!! Vodafone is hiding the user-agent to third-party content provider by hijacking the HTTP traffic coming from devices on their network to change the user-agent from the actual device (Nokia6288/2.0 (05.92) Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1) to some generic web browser (Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20060909 Firefox/ MG (Novarra-Vision/6.1)).

They say it is for a better user experience, the truth is that it becomes impossible to know what kind of mobile is visiting the webpage, impossible to get its capabilities, it gets impossible for third-party content provider to work.

Why do they do that ? well whatever they say there is no other reason than trying to keep their “world” close. They want to manage everything on their network so that they can make the end user pays for all services they provide (including basic information). Thing is that with xhtml-mp and the devices getting more powerful it is much more easier to develop interesting mobile web application. Vodafone’s sucky PartnerML language becomes useless and in the same time it opens the mobile web to already existing “normal” web application (granted some work on the ui).

In a somewhat related story I-mode from NTTDocomo is going down, I-mode also has its own markup language and its own framework.

Other links:
Techcrunch UK: Vodafone in mobile web storm
Andrea Trasatti: Is it good to hide the user-agent in mobile?
Vodafone Betavine
David Harper: Vodafone UK is Clearly Wrong – The User-Agent String Issue
Wap review: Vodafone’s Heavy-Handed Transcoder


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  2. V.Avinash

    Vodafone in India sucks big time….

    I was trying to pay my bill before I left the country in Feb 2008… their IVR machine would not give me the right amount and so I started communicating with them through email. In between Vodafone contacted my mom and screamed at her ……she paid the bill on my behalf…..

    I used Hutch for over 5 years and feel very sorry that Vodafone has failed to live up to the standards set by Hutch….

    this is for Vodafone,

    If you are reading this, I will make sure that I spread as much negative publicity as I can….


    My Mobile number was 987 308 0125