With the hushed tones and murmuring of conspiracy theorists, people have been discussing the recent EDGE connection outage on T-Mobile. Apparently the outage affected more than just iPhones, includingNokia and Samsung phones, leaving many people stranded without web access on their mobile devices. Originally believed to be a targeted attack against iPhones, the hypothesis expanded to include all smartphones that were not using the $24.99 Unlimited Web plan. However, at least one T-Mobile customer using that Unlimited Web plan with an authorized device reports that they are experiencing difficulties as well.

T-Mobile subscribers affected by this supposed outage are redirected to an apparent upselling page on T-Mobile when accessing the Internet through their phone’s web browser (primarily Safari on the iPhone). While some users report that the outage has not affected them, most everyone is without access.

There is widespread discontent with T-Mobile customers. One of the main advantages to using a jailbroken and unlocked iPhone on the T-Mobile network was the low cost of data plans. However, these plans were originally designed by T-Mobile to take care of the connectivity needs of devices that are not traditionally known as data intensive: some might call those devices ‘dumbphones’.If this outage is indeed targeting smartphone users, it would not be unreasonable to expect the massive number of iPhone users to switch from T-Mobile to AT&T. By increasing prices of data plans through targeted disabling of already existing data plan subscriptions, T-Mobile takes great risk of alienating its customers. With only a slow and antiquated EDGE connection offered to users with applications that require a data plan, T-Mobile reduces any competitive advantages it may have over AT&T in the data usage field.It remains to be seen whether this network outage is simply a matter of T-Mobile servicing its cell tower or if it is indeed a targeted attack on smartphone users. Only time will tell.

UPDATE: 26 August 2009
Things aren’t looking that good right now. So far nobody has reported getting service back without signing up for a $24.99 webConnect plan. I’ll keep this updated.

UPDATE: 26 August 2009
Some people have reported that being persistent and calm when contacting the customer loyalty department can yield positive results: some people have gotten T-Zones for $5.99.

UPDATE: 27 August 2009
Confirmed! APN internet2.voicestream.com works again! The supposed outage seems to have been corrected for many users! Users can try the following steps to restore EDGE functionality to their iPhones:
1) Change your APN to wap.voicestream.com.
2) Visit any website in Safari. Click through to upgrade your account.
3) Exit Safari. Go to Settings.
4) Under Settings, go to Safari.
5) Scroll down and clear the cookies (and cache for good measure, why not?)
6) Go and change your APN back to internet2.voicestream.com

This worked for me, let’s hope that it stays working.