T-Mobile Mobile Broadband: Disabling Image Compression

This post will interest only a very few people, but for those it helps it will be most welcome. By default T-Mobile heavily compress images downloaded over their mobile broadband service, but this can be disabled.

Being without my main broadband connection for two weeks I have got myself a T-Mobile mobile broadband dongle, I had previously used a Vodafone one but coverage is poor where I am on Vodafone and so the speed was very low. The T-Mobile mobile broadband flies by comparison but it does not work with everything, Windows Live Messenger is blocked, some web pages simply don’t work properly, and most notably images are very heavily compressed. Sometimes a key combination of “Shift + R” will decompress an image but often this doesn’t work. There are occasions where image compression may be useful, especially if the broadband speed drops, but for any site where the images are important the compression level is far too high, resulting in very grainy images, and so I searched the Internet for a way to bypass this.

image quality comparison
with / without compression

I found the solution that I have detailed below on the Phototropic web site, on this page: How to fix poor image quality (compression) when using T-Mobile Web ‘n’ Walk on a Mac

The solution works on Windows as well as on the Mac.

The Fix

  1. This fix only works with Firefox 3 so download and install that if you do not already have it.
  2. Launch Firefox
  3. On the menu bar go to ToolsAdd-ons
  4. Choose the Get Add-ons tab, if not already selected
  5. In the search box enter Modify Headers and press return
  6. When you see the Modify Headers extension listed, click on Add to Firefox
  7. You will need to restart Firefox to complete installation
  8. With Firefox restarted, on the menu bar go to Tools… Modify Headers
  9. Select the drop-down box in the top left corner and choose Add
  10. In the first box enter Pragma and in the second type no-cache
  11. Click on the Add button to the right
  12. Again, select Add from the drop-down box
  13. Enter Cache-Control in the first box and no-cache in the second.
  14. Click on the Add button on the right hand side
  15. Click on the Configuration button in the bottom right corner
  16. Check the box next to Always on: Enable…

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