HOWTO: The Nokia E61i as a modem via Bluetooth in Ubuntu on 3

It seems that for $29/month, I’m not getting my meagre 200MB quota on the 3 network, but can now get 1GB! Wanting to not fuss with a laptop card or USB modem (because they only support Windows and OS X), I decided that its time to setup a connection via my mobile phone, i.e. use my phone as a modem, via Bluetooth.

Ubuntu has got some amazing documentation on getting Bluetooth based dial-up networking working. I followed everything there, till the Configuring PPP session. Right upon there, I hit a bit of a snag, but my trusty LUG list pointed me to Using T-Mobile Nokia E65 as a Bluetooth modem guide. Using the gprs, gprs-connect-chat, and gprs-disconnect-chat from that website, I was able to use my phone as a modem. One important thing to note is that the gprs-connect-chat and gprs-disconnect-chat must be executable (fix this by doing a chmod +x).

The APN (access point) for the 3 network is “3netaccess”. So the one line I changed in the gprs-connect-chat reads as: OK              'AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","3netaccess","",0,0' \.

Now, a simple pppd call gprs in a terminal works. Of course, it would make a whole lot more sense if there was a GUI for this (I’m surprised that Ubuntu hasn’t figured this out yet).

Active Connections on the e61i
E61i has registered the WiFi connection and the phone as a modem

A quick word of warning: the phone doesn’t register how much packet data you use when its acting as a modem (so you can’t find it in the logs later, under packet data, from what I can tell). Also, keep in mind, that 3 counts both uploads and downloads as part of the quota you get per billing cycle. I’ve not started wanting to do usage accounting, but I’m sure its what I’ll conquer next.

If you’re wanting to do this via Optus, consider Menno Smits guide for Optus 3G.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Yoon Kit says:

    For those who are in Malaysia, and need to connect to Maxis with ubuntu, I have written something similar too:


  2. byte says:

    Thanks Yoon Kit! I’m sure it’ll come in handy the next time I’m using Maxis.