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Thoughts on T-Mobile HotSpot Payments

I bought a T-mobile hotspot so I can have my Internet on the go. In around two weeks, I ran out of data. I'm not sure how one can use up an infinite resource, but T-mobile, and other carriers, have managed to limit the unlimited. Sort of like paying for the air you breathe and charging you more if you breathe too much. As I hit 3GB of data transferred, I receive a text message from t-mobile asking me to visit to renew my subscription, in order to get more data. There are a few problems here:

1. The site is limited to some super slow data rate just like the rest of my Internet. This is a painful barrier to me spending more money with t-mobile. Make it fast and easy for me to spend money with you.
2. The site seems configured incorrectly:

~~~~ is an alias for has address
Host not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)

In fact, it only works from the hotspot network itself. Meaning, you have to use t-mobile's DNS servers and access it through their IP address as assigned to the hotspot. Ok, I can try that configuration with their split-dns configuration. However the browser then prompts for an SSL certificate verification. The SSL cert presented by the site is for, not as seen here:

t-mobile cert details

3. When you finally accept the cert, you're asked to create an account, based on your primary email address. There is no way around this. They know you have their device, they know you've already paid once, they know your phone number (as assigned to the device) because they pass it along with your device IP address, but they still insist on some email address. So I went ahead and used a throw-away email address.
4. I'm then presented with a choice to add/change data plan, cancel plan, or edit user information. This would be awesome, except none of the choices actually work. They aren't links. I can't click on anything to buy another data plan. Ugh, more barriers.

After these 4 steps, I gave up. I'll just find a t-mobile store and go pay for another 2.5GB in person based on my phone number alone. Let's hope this in-person interaction isn't as painful and fruitless as the online process.

originally published at

This article was updated on 2020/03/14 15:54:18