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Mobile wireless prepaid plans

September 23, 2010 — BarryK
I mentioned in the previous blog post that I am thinking of buying a USB wireless modem so that I can get online while working in Perth, Australia (at the Royal Show).

Vodafone have a very good deal, just $49 prepaid, 1GB for 30 days:

...any Aussie guy reading this who knows about the suitability of Vodafone and this modem with Linux?

Telstra is approx. twice the price:


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vode-to-puppy warning
Username: scsijon
"You also need to check what's the extra cost if you let it "run out" (ie gone home and don't "recharge" the units useage in time). Some of them have a fairly decent sized reconnect cost. most work ok with linux if you can wifi

usb moden vs mobile phone and cable
Username: aarf
"long ago when wanting to laptop connect via wireless i looked into to this usb modem thing and at that time the best way price ways was to cable connect a mobile phone and that is what i still do now. plus you have the phone and often just surf with the phone. laptop connect in puppy is always-on but with opera-mini on your phone it is on-demand which saves vast amounts of time if you are on a time based package.. bluetooth connect your phone still hasn't been cracked by me or anyone i know of in puppy but can do in knoppix. prices may have changed to alter the balance but i would still prefer the phone option. my current 3g phone cost about AUD$66. 100 hours of GPRS connection costs about AUD$12.. no 3g where i am yet. not in oz.

Re Vodafone
Username: BarryK
"wombat01, That's great news. I'll probably go for that one, due to the low up-front cost, also low-cost recharges relative to Telstra. I only need to use it when I'm in Perth or Melbourne, so no problem with Vodafone being city-centric. scsijon mentions a reconnect cost, do you know anything about that? I will probably be in that situation, let it expire, then buy another 30-days some time later, etc.

Dodo -- no!
Username: BarryK
"I won't go back to Dodo! I had a dialup account with them about four years ago. I paid in advance annually, by cheque. I did not renew the account, and I phoned them to tell them that I would not be renewing, when I got satellite Internet. About [b]three years later[/b] I received a letter from a collection agency that I owed about $250 to Dodo (the annual fee). I had received no communications from Dodo in those three years, nothing at all. It took a few phone calls, to the collection agency and to Dodo, and Dodo cancelled the bill. The thing is, my account was strictly pay-in-advance, so there was no way I could owe them money. The whole thing was pretty shonky, and the guy at the collection agency commented that I was not the only one complaining about Dodo. I reckon that it was what the workers unions call a "gambit claim". Whatever, really shonky. I'm glad that I never gave them my credit card details. In fact, I always try to pay any company either cash or cheque.

Re Dodo
Username: BarryK
"Hmmm, I suppose that I shouldn't call them shonky, they might sue me for defamation! A nicer interpretation would be that they made an accounting error. :worried:

Username: zygo
"Vodaphone in UK insist registration or on payment online. I use Three who have the option to buy a voucher with cash from shops. However, not all small shops have the modern tills that can print the voucher number and I fear they will insist on payment online some day. It does not come with a card for crediting the account and there is no registration. I bought the modem (with no credit) for UKP20 and the vouchers start at UKP15 for 3GB upto 30 days.

Purchased K3571-Z
Username: BarryK
"Ok, I have purchased a Vodafone unit, model K3571-Z. I'm running XP with it right now, as I can't get it to work in Wary. Oh, Internet Explorer 6.0 sure renders my blog poorly! I was using PupDial, it recognises the modem as /dev/ttyUSB1, but no matter what I try, I get "no carrier". Hmmm. I looked at the log in /tmp, usb_modeswitch is working fine. The docs state to leave username and password empty, but PupDial won't accept that, so I just put "bk" into both. Dialup number is "*99#", I tried without any APN, and with two different APNs "vfprepaymbb" (in the prepaid mobile booklet) and (in the sim card booklet). Also tried without any PIN, and with "0000" which the sim card booklet has. Nothing works, always get "no carrier".

Username: 01micko
"try appending [i]-chap[/i] to /etc/ppp/options .. worked for me with vodafone and virgin on machines I have set up for relations. There is also good info in Whirlpool forums, cthisbear will know some links for sure. Cheers

no ie6
Username: adi
"At work I use win xp and it's better to forget about ie6. I use portable firefox or opera usb instead in order not to interfere with other settings of the os. The render is good in both browsers (the paf extention is an archive) The yellow window in puupy for internet connection with gprs modem does not want to close after edit...

Vodfone setup
Username: Rob
"I also have setup a couple of Linux Mint systems with my vodafone mobile broadband. The following has worked for me..... Number: *99# Username: input the actual phone number of the mobile broadband service Password: input password registered with the vodafone online account (mine was set up when I bought the device) APN: vfprepaymbb Network - leave blank PIN: 0000 Good Luck!

Re blue flashing
Username: BarryK
"Everything is ok regarding the device detection. The light flashes blue, meaning it is ready to connect. It uses the 'option' kernel driver. [i]input the actual phone number of the mobile broadband service [/i] ...I haven't got a clue what that is. Password? The only thing when I bought it, the guy registered it and asked me to give a 6-digit pin number --dunno what that is for.

actual phone number
Username: Rob
"Sorry Barry, I should be precise - the actual phone number is the mobile number on the prepaid SIM starter pack. The password would be the 6-digit pin number that you gave the guy when you registered it. You can go online and check out your account usage etc - using the mobile number and the 6-digit pin (password).

Going downhill
Username: BarryK
"Rob, Ok, thanks. But, things have got worse, now usb-modeswitch reports it cannot switch to modem mode. I tried a pristine boot, same thing. It still works in Windows. I haven't got much time for all this messing around. I will leave it awhile. Actually, if I decide that I can't be bothered, I will sell it to my relative. She doesn't have her Optus stick anymore and needs one, and she runs XP.

Username: wombat01
"Barry try this:

usb_modeswitch diagnosis
Username: zygo
"If it has worked in XP since it stopped switching in Puppy then things are indeed bleak. I would be interested to get more info on the failure to switch from dmesg or: ------------------- Excerpt from the maker's site For debugging of the automated system integration, edit (as root or su) /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf in a text editor and change the line EnableLogging=0 to EnableLogging=1 This gives you a verbose output of the hotplug activity to /var/log/usb_modeswitch_<device>. =================== Comment out the device's rule in 40-usb_modeswitch.rules # Vodafone (ZTE) K3571-Z ATTRS{idVendor}=="19d2", ATTRS{idProduct}=="1009", RUN+="usb_modeswitch '%b/%k'" then run usb_modeswitch in an rxvt window -- you'll have to check the help for parameters.

Username: adi
"technosaurus - cradlepoint router Very good idea but it is not portable... I heard that some software simply delete files needed for auto configuration from the usb 3G modem. Perhaps they will worrk only once.

Username: cthisbear
"How do I get a Vodafone (UK) usb modem working on Lucid? """"""""""" Same post "Hi, Just done this for my Brother in Law. Works a treat. Follow link to Betavine site and follow step by step instructions. Installed on 9.04 no problem, assume will work with 10.04." ////////////// Nothing much on Whirlpool. Chris.

Tags: general