Fully functional internet (unblocked data ports for Steam as an example)
By: maverick77_uk | 19-08-2019 08:55
So, mobile broadband (internet) is changing. Only five years ago, while on the forums, many people would be saying "I want to stream films and download music over my mobile data", and the common (and correct answer at the time) was "that is very data intensive - you should be using your home broadband for that - mobile data is expensive and meant for light uses like checking your email". Not any more.
Giffgaff have be great in increasing the data allowance on the goodybags (as well as keeping it all fair by implementing the generous data caps), and with 3G, 4G and soon 5G, it has come to the point where many people could easily forget their land lines completely and keep it all simple with one account providing everything over the mobile network.
In the near future, for people without massive data needs or massive speed (a large majority), this is going to become a very real option.
Many of the other mobile providers are in place to offer this - once the data allowance and price are at acceptable levels for each individual person, they will make their choice of whether to go this route or not.
However, unfortunately giffgaff (because it is running on the O2 network) is not current in a position to offer this - so may find people a) leaving giffgaff so they can get mobile home broadband with a different provider and b) will not get any new customers who specifically want it.
Why? Because of port blocking. An example. I am a PC gamer. Ever increasingly games are delivered (or just activated) online. Steam is one of the biggest stores for games for PC and MAC at the moment. The ports that Steam uses are blocked on O2 (and subsequently giffgaff).
That means that currently there is no way I could use giffgaff as my home broadband. 3, EE, Vodafone work fine (their ports are unblocked). This maybe a historical thing - to stop people using massive amounts of mobile data. However, this is now out of date. For starters, the port blocking means that games can't be activated - which means even if you already have them on your computer, the small amount of data (like sending an email), does not work. Also, all giffgaff goodybags are now data capped - so if a person chooses to use their entire goodybag allowance on downloading a game - why not? Isn't that their choice?
There will be other examples of sites and services not working because of these blocked ports.
So my suggestion for giffgaff (probably via O2) is to unblock these ports to allow giffgaff to be a fully functional mobile home broadband provider. This will allow it to stay competitive with the other providers going forward, and allow it's customers to use their data how they choose.
I have used giffgaff for many years (since 2013). In 2013, I found myself renting a flat temporarily - I therefore didn't want to set up a contract and have landlines installed - using giffgaff via my phone made sense. I had all my PC games installed on my PC, but Steam likes to check into its servers every so often to make sure the games are legal and authorised, or else they stop working. As the ports were blocked, this small amount of data communication with the steam servers could not happen. I ended up having to use a local BT Fon wifi connection, at great expense to get this to work. I did consider switching providers at the time because of this.
I subsequently moved into my current home and had proper landline broadband installed, so problem solved. However, now with the possibility of mobile home broadband and being able to ditch the landline, I once again find myself with the same issue.