Using your GPRS phone as a modem with linux

I’m using Ubuntu Linux 6.06.1 Dapper Drake.
This should probably work for other distros, but I can’t be sure because I don’t really know what I’m doing.

The little piece of magic you’ll need is an application called wvdial. It should be come standard with your distro.

Then, a USB cable job to connect the phone to the PC. Chances are that you’ll be able to get it to work this way over bluetooth too, but I don’t know for sure.

Ok. easy steps:

1. Make sure your phone can access the intarwebs with its internal browser via GPRS. Contact your service provider to get this sorted. Will Cell C, if you can send MMS, you can access the intarwebs.
2.. Connect the phone to the PC via the usb cable
3. Open up a terminal, and type the following:

$sudo wvdialconf

Enter your password at the prompt.

Stuff will happen, and hopefully your phone will be configured.

Then, using your favourite text editor (I used nano – replace “nano” with “vi” or “gedit” or whatever )

$sudo nano /etc/wvdial.conf

Find the line that looks a little like this:

; Phone = [blah blah blah]

It doesn’t actually say “blah blah blah,” but I can’t remeber the original text. You need to change that to your service provider’s Access Point Number (APN)
For Cell C, change that to:

Phone = *99*#

For MTN, change it to:

Phone = *99#

For Vodacom, change it to:

I have no idea. Best phone the helpline guys and ask what the APN is.

Then, change password and username fields to whatever they should be. I used “null” for both.

Save the file.

4. Run $wvdial

The end. Check if you are connected by typing


If you have something with ppp0, then you’re a winner. If not, sorry.

2 thoughts on “Using your GPRS phone as a modem with linux”

  1. Vodacom’s also *99#, which will use the default internet profile on your phone.

    If that doesn’t work you can try *99***X#, where X is a number between 1 and the number of internet profiles you have on your phone, and will force the phone to use that profile instead.

    For example, I have three profiles – one is VLIVE-MMS, two is access through Vodacom, three is access through VLIVE – so I dial *99***2#.

  2. very cool 🙂 thanks for the howto – good to know and will test it with IR as well when home. Only major problem is that in the UK I would be paying £2 per MB! just silly really

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