Bmobile’s iPhone Promotion

If you haven’t heard, b-mobile has subsidized iPhones 3GS’s with a b-mobile subscription contract of 18 months. This is one of the first subsidized mobile phone price plans I’ve seen in Brunei. The other would be DST‘s October promotion offerings that offered a Nokia E75, Nokia E52 and Sony Ericsson C901 with contracts of 6 months. With b-mobile having first introduced their mobile broadband Zoom! which was followed up by DST’s Go!, what I hope to see is more competition among the 2 mobile phone providers which in the end leads to the consumer winning. Recently in Singapore, M1 and StarHub released their iPhone plans which led SingTel to change their previous plans (most notably the increase of free data to 12GB, from a typical measly 500MB/1GB), so as consumers we have to love competition.

I went down to b-mobile to find out more about the iPhone and they mentioned that is it the never locked version and that they are handling the mobile phone service while AV Electronics handles all the other iPhone/Apple/iTunes/Applications related aspects of this deal. While talking to the guy at the bmobile counter he did mention that bmobile was getting the iPhone and DST was going to get the Blackberry. Rumour has it that the Blackberry will be reveal next year but timing is still not confirmed. If it does come to fruition people will be happy (especially the High Commissioner of Canada, who urged Brunei to set up a Blackberry Network).

Initially when asking about the HTC Touch Diamond Pro and Samsung Jet (which was a few weeks back) the guy told me that the details would be released later, but on further inquiry today I was told that both are available but you would have to custom order it and the personnel could not disclose the price plans as marketing was not present. I find that awkward that they are selling a product but have not disclosed the pricing. Anyway the price plans for the subsidized iPhone are as follows.

Note: Contract is for 18 months and the total costs listed are based on the prices for locals that included 1 annual license fee of $25 and a deposit of $50. For foreigners add another $50 to the total cost (as deposits for foreigners is $100 vs $50 for locals).

iPhone 3GS 16GB

Phone Cost (B$) Monthly Cost (B$) Total Cost (B$)
Smart $35 Package 999 35 1704
Smart $45 Package 799 45 1684
Smart $55 Package 599 55 1664
Smart $65 Package 399 65 1644

iPhone 3GS 32GB

Phone Cost (B$) Monthly Cost (B$) Total Cost (B$)
Smart $35 Package 1199 35 1904
Smart $45 Package 999 45 1884
Smart $55 Package 799 55 1864
Smart $65 Package 599 65 1844

Price Plan Details:

Free Voice minutes Free SMS Free MMS Free Data
Smart $35 Package 300 100 20 1.5GB
Smart $45 Package 500 200 30 3GB
Smart $55 Package 1000 300 40 10GB
Smart $65 Package 1200 500 50 Unlimited

Note: Beyond the free data, the user is chargeable at 20c/MB up to $40 at which the user can use unlimited data

If you are planning to take b-mobile up on this subsidized iPhone I would recommend subscribing using the Smart $65 Package as it has the lowest up-front payment, the cheapest in the long run and provides the best in terms of perks (especially the unlimited data). With the iPhone you use it as a broadband modem at it would be easy to exceed the 1.5GB/3GB of the 2 lower priced plans and considering that $40 corresponds to 200MB which isn’t much at all. If you take the $65 package, the iPhone can be considered as a Zoom! subscription ($65/month for iPhone vs $60/month for Zoom!) but has so much more benefits.

If you’re looking for a iPhone or even if you’re just looking to get a mobile broadband subscription (Zoom! from b-mobile or Go! from DST) I would recommend the Smart $65 Package bundled with the iPhone of your choice. You get an unlimited broadband connection which can be tethered to your computer wherever you are and the highly coveted iPhone which is currently the best smartphone platform at the moment.

Using your phone as a Bluetooth modem in Linux

Software Package Requirements:

  • wvdial
  • bluez
  • bluetooth

Install packages for Ubutun/Debian systems
sudo apt-get install wvdial bluez bluetooth

Steps to get your Bluetooth modem working

  1. Turn phone’s Bluetooth connection and set to discoverable mode
  2. Scan for your device:
    sudo hcitool scan
    Scanning ...
    00:11:22:33:44:55 MyPhone
  3. Search device to see if supports Dial-Up Networking (DUN) for use as a modem. Look out for RFCOMM channel
    sdptool search --bdaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55 DUN
    Searching for DUN on 00:11:22:33:44:55 ...
    Service Name: Dial-Up Networking
    Service RecHandle: 0x1000f
    Service Class ID List:
    "Dialup Networking" (0x1103)
    Protocol Descriptor List:
    "L2CAP" (0x0100)
    "RFCOMM" (0x0003)
    Channel: 4
    Language Base Attr List:
    code_ISO639: 0x454e
    encoding: 0x6a
    base_offset: 0x100
    Profile Descriptor List:
    "Dialup Networking" (0x1103)
    Version: 0x0100
  4. Bind the modem on the RFCOMM Channel to a device
    sudo rfcomm bind /dev/rfcomm0 00:11:22:33:44:55 4
  5. Dial and connect (ensure your wvdial configuration is correct, for sample see below)
    sudo wvdial dstbt
    --> WvDial: Internet dialer version 1.60
    --> Cannot get information for serial port.
    --> Initializing modem.
    --> Sending: ATZ
    --> Sending: AT+CGDCONT=,,"dst.internet"
    --> Modem initialized.
    --> Sending: ATDT*99#
    --> Waiting for carrier.
    ~[7f]}#@!}!} } }2}#}$@#}!}$}%\}"}&} }*} } g}%~
    --> Carrier detected. Waiting for prompt.
    ~[7f]}#@!}!} } }2}#}$@#}!}$}%\}"}&} }*} } g}%~
    --> PPP negotiation detected.
    --> Starting pppd at Wed Aug 19 23:45:04 2009
    --> Pid of pppd: 17558
    --> Using interface ppp0
    --> local IP address
    --> remote IP address
    --> primary DNS address
    --> secondary DNS address
  6. You’re connected! Surf and enjoy the Internet!

Sample wvdial configuration file

  • Stored in ~/.wvdialrc
  • Change “dst.internet” to your provider’s APN

[Dialer dstbt]

Modem = /dev/rfcomm0 # modem device
Baud = 115200 # 921600 / 460800 / 115200 / 57600

Init = ATZ # far card with no PIN
# Init = ATZ+CPIN=”0000″ # for card with PIN, replace 0000 with your PIN

# If you know your ISP’s APN, specify it instead of YOUR_ISP_APN below.
# There’s also an APN table at .
# use one of the following 3 options. change to your providers APN
Init2 = AT+CGDCONT=,,”dst.internet”
#Init2 = AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”

# Most services/devices dial with *99# . A few seem to require *99***1#
Phone = *99#

# These often suffice, but your ISP might require different details. They’re
# often dummy details used for all users on the ISP, frequently the ISP’s
# name, but some ISP’s do require you to use a real username and password.
# any details possible
Username = internet
Password = internet

PS: bmobile customers change APN to “bmobilewap”

Configuring your phone for mobile Internet (DST/bmobile, Brunei)

Note: for Android configuration refer to this post

With mobile Internet being very cheap on DSTCom (B$0.05/MB) we all wish to to be surfing the ‘net but before that your phone needs to be configured to do so. The settings supplied by DSTCom are:

For Internet access
Name: DSTInternet
APN: dst.internet
Username: <no username>
Password: <no password>

APN: dst.mms
Username: mms
Password: mms
MMS Server:
Proxy Address:
Port No: 3130

However it’s not always easy translating these settings to your phone. I recently had issues with a friend’s Sony Ericsson G502 being a Nokia person myself.

Update 1: Due to search requests on bmobile internet connection I shall add it here based on the findings of Hazarry’s work here (PDF file) and bmobile’s iPhone settings.
Bmobile’s APN: bmobilewap. More detailed configuration can be found

For Internet access
Name: bmobilewap
APN: bmobilewap
Username: <no username>
Password: <no password>
Proxy Server Address & port (these settings seem optional as they are not listed in bmobile’s settings PDFs)

Name: bmobile MMS
APN: bmobilemms
Username: <no username>
Password: <no password>
Proxy Server Address & port:

Server Name : B‐Mobile MMS
Gateway :
Port Number : 6500
Server Address :
Connect Via : MMS Servers
Size Limit : 300K
WAP Version : WAP 2.0
GPRS Authentication: PAP

–End of Update 1

Nokia E51 Configuration

Continue reading “Configuring your phone for mobile Internet (DST/bmobile, Brunei)”

DST’s OntheGo! on the fritz?

So DST just launched it’s OntheGo! service which is a “mobile portal product by DSTCom providing information and entertainment contents which can be accessed by all DSTCom customers on 3G as well as on GPRS/EDGE.” (yet again with the ‘!’ at the end of the name). It seems like a competitor to bmobile’s mobi.TV but as you can see from the completely different channel selections they are for different target groups.

OntheGo! mobi.TV
Rates Various as below $9.90 for 16 channels (does not state if there is a charge for streaming, which I believe there would be)
News CNN CBNC,Al Jeezera
Sports ESPN Sports Golf Asian Tour, Extreme Sports
Entertainment Disney, Nickelodeon, Astro Ria, and Astro AEC fashionTV, F Men, Luxe TV, Asian Food Channel, Travel Channel, Fun Little Movies, E!, Fish Tales, Animax, Taffy Kids
Music MTV, Astro Hitz C Music, Trace TV
OntheGo! Rates
Browsing Free except for Mobile ESPN & Star SPorts Mobile $1 each per month. Islamic Portal $3 per month and data charges apply for Facebook, Yahoo!, Daily News, Simpur Mobile Portal & Music Chart
Video On Demand
< 2 minutes clip $0.30 per view / $0.50 per download
>= 2 minutes clip $0.50 per view / $0.80 per download
Video stream $0.05 per min
Live stream $0.05 per min
Webcams $0.05 per min
Ringtones, Phone Themes, Screensavers $1.50 per download
Wallpapers, Calendars, MMS Greetings $0.50 per download
MMS Uploading $0.05 per MMS
Games $4.00 per download

OntheGo! is trying to do more than mobi.TV by being a portal like iTunes which has it’s music store, video store and application store. It’s trying to be a one stop shop which for the moment. And I say this just from the information I get online (Brunei Times | Brudirect | Borneo Bulletin) because I can’t access the site on my phone / on my computer / via a proxy so I can’t take a look at what it’s like. I like the fact that they are trying to build media access on the go, however I think we still need better backend work. I’ve heard complaints about DST Go! speed, probably due to everybody jumping on that band wagon thus sharing the speed within the area of usage and I still get GPRS connection errors now and again. And I guess they should get the website up, running and ready when the news is out! Because that is totally unacceptable.

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Of DST’s Go! and bmobile’s Zoom! (why must the names have an exclaimation mark?)

*Updated to add bmobile’s Macbook Air, Macbook, Viao offerings

So we people in Brunei finally have mobile broadband. For those who don’t know b-mobile launched their Zoom! service on the 4th April 2008 and now we have DST’s competing solution of GO! which was introduced on the 1st of May. Both are based on HSDPA which is a 3G protocol and require a 3G capable SIM card that allows voice, SMS and data.

When I first heard about Zoom! a month ago with its “up to” 3.6 Mbps connection I was intrigued and interested (which mobile warrior wouldn’t be?) so I went down to their road show at the Mall. So I went up to the guy to ask a few questions and he told me that there was 3 different speed tiers something like 1Mbps, 3.6 Mbps and something else that I can’t remember. After talking the one of the guys at their booth in the 2nd Brunei Consumer Fair last night I was told that they indeed do NOT have any tiers: just a single 7.2 Mbps (upgraded from 3.6 Mbps to meet the competition). Talk about misinformation. And the guy didn’t even want to tell me the prices plans. The guy was a bit unsure of the product as I asked if I needed to install special software for the device and whether it was cross platform and he said no. So I asked him if I were to boot into OS X or Linux would it work as well? Then he said something like no you need to install software from the CD. I take it, he was talking about the drivers but I honestly wonder how good is the Linux support as it does seem that they have Windows & Mac support which is nice but more on this later. So initially the Zoom! package is 3.6Mbps with 2GB of free data and $0.50/MB after the free usage. That how I read it until I went to the fine print or the FAQ page where it says that there is a cap of $40 on the excess data charges beyond which you are not charged, i.e. in other words for those who download loads of stuff it’s basically base price + $40 for unlimited usage. Now there comes to my other problem I had. What is the base price? It is not the listed on the website. Only after talking to them last night I found out the monthly charge just for the service is $59! So in total that would be $99 (at most) for unlimited data.

So come the 1st of May and GO! arrives and we get to see what offerings DST has up their sleeve has they had practically a month to see how Zoom! did and to strategize in order to compete. And after getting the details (all online I might add, as Jerudong Park Amphitheatre is a pretty long way to go just for the roadshow, and I just don’t have the time right now) I can say that they have indeed put up a great offer. 2 distinct plans: Basic and Unlimited (nice to see that they actually defined it properly). Prices for the basic: $38 with 2GB free data after which it’s $0.20/MB. The bill is capped at $88 (after which I assume it’s unlimited data) while the Unlimited package goes for $78. Both come with a free Simpur email account which is nice but nothing fantastic (Unlimited plan gets you Simpur Email Alert, which I guess is SMS to your phone?).

Now both solutions offer package deals with laptops and such but GO! even has a package with a wireless router (Ericsson W25 Router) that even has USB ports that support both print server and mass storage (and it better considering it cost’s $600)! b-mobile offers a Dell Vostro 1400 / HP Compaq V3700 / Asus EEE PC900. Yup that’s right the EEE PC900!! When I saw that In the papers on Friday I was estatic so I went there and only found a 701 so I was about to ‘scold’ them for getting my hopes up but decided not to. I asked them to show me how it work’s on the EEE but conveniently they didn’t have a modem to test it with. They didn’t have a modem to test it with? At a road show where you are supposed to be demoing the product? Perhaps the modem broke or something like that but still I doubt there is a good excuse for it. The guy did tell me that it does work in Linux but how true can that be if I dont’ see it before my very eyes. Now it has dawned on me I think they mean the 701 NOT the 900 because in specifications listed from a brochure they handed out it says “Intel Celeron 900MHz, 512MB RAM, 4GB SSD Drive, Display size 7″, Resolution 800×480”!!!!!!! Man and this isn’t the first time advertisement isn’t just right.

Here are the things I asked:

Me: Are you guys really giving out laptop? guy: Well, no actually, we’re loaning laptops. Meaning, you will have to purchase our laptop and modem when you decide to subscribe to our service.

Me: (Oh. -_-“ Why didn’t I think of that? How silly I am. I forgot there’s NOTHING free in this world)

Me: So, why is it written free here on the leaflet? (Finger pointing to the leaflet) guy: That…errmm…well…

Me: Never mind. Do I really have to buy your laptop when I subscribe? I mean, I already got one at home. Can I just buy the modem? guy: I’m sorry, sir. You really need to buy the laptop too.


Unless of course this is just another case of the people with wrong information / bad communication. But anyway so I was suprised to see in the papers today b-mobile response to GO!
b-mobile's new offering
So finally they made a fine distinction between their Unlimited and Lite plans but what I don’t get is the “Local Data usage capped at $70” for the Unlimited plan. And there they show the “Asus EEE PC 900” which is a picture of the 701 as you can see the black bezel of around the screen that isn’t there in the 900…. (I’m sorry if I love the EEE too much but I did spark the current subnotebook / netbook revolution and I believe this form of mobility goes back to my PDA days, but I digress). But even with this new ad they still haven’t overcome one of their main problems clearly defining their costs and terms and this ambigiouty would cause me to sway to DST’s GO!. Also take note that GO! offers prepaid broadband with the following details

  • $0.05 per Mb
  • License Fees: $25
  • Preloaded Balance: $10
  • Validity 15 days

So all in all the following is a quick run down comparison of Zoom! and GO!

Zoom! GO!
Lite Unlimited Basic Unlimited
Max download speed 7.2Mbps
Free data 2GB 2GB
Excess data charge



Monthly Fee $30*? Local data capped at $70 $60*? Local data capped at $70?? $38 $78
Deposit $50 (locals) / $100 (foreigners)
Annual License $25

  • Free 450 min (voice)
  • Free 50 min (video)
  • Free 50 SMS
  • Free 10 MMS

(only for calls between b-mobile and b-mobile / Telbru phones)

  • Free 1000 min (voice)
  • Free 200 min (video)
  • Free 800 SMS
  • Free 30 MMS

(only for calls between b-mobile and b-mobile / Telbru

  • Simpur Email Account
  • Supplementary GO! Broadband monthly discounts:
    • Basic: $3
    • Unlimited: $5
  • Subsidy for yearly subscriptions
    • Basic:
      • 1 year: $100
      • 2years: $300
    • Unlimited:
      • 1 year: $300 (i.e. free modem)
      • 2years: $600 (i.e. free router)

Simpur Email Alert

  • USB Modem @ $300
  • Laptop with modem:

    • Dell Vostro 1400: as low as $40/month*
    • HP Compaq V3700: as low as $38/month*
    • Asus EEE PC 900701? as low as $38/month*
    • Macbook Air $99/month# (only 1st 50 subscriptions), Unlimited plan
    • Macbook $70/month#, Unlimited plan
    • Sony Vaio CR35 $80/month#, Unlimited plan

  • USB Modem @ $300
  • Router @ $600
  • Laptop with modem:

    • Acer Aspire 4920-6A2G16Mi:
      48 months contract
      GO! Basic
    • Dell Inspiron 1420
      30 months contract
      GO! Unlimited
    • Dell XPS M1330
      Contract length not stated
      GO! Unlimited
    • Macbook 2.1GHz
      Contract length not stated
      GO! Unlimited

OS Support

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux (supposedly)

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux (no mention)

‘Fine’ print * prices based on a 60 month period by installments
# prices based on 36 month subscription plan

Now b-mobile has a good offering for those who want an all-in-one solution for your mobile communications as it has both phone and data on the same SIM card (only problem) would be taking it out from the modem and put into a phone. However the free minutes and SMS/MMS are only applicable for communicating with other b-mobile / Telbru lines and, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe most people are still with DST be it for familiarity or be it for cost effectiveness thus these free bonuses will not cover your entire monthly phone (non-data) usage. Thus I will guess I have to give the edge to DST’s GO! as I am currently still using EASI (~$25/month) and I’m strictly only looking for a data plan. But I have to commend b-mobile in it being the first to market and being quick in it’s response to the GO! prices. Indeed this is what competition is supposed to do and I’m glad that there is some. But with that if I had any advice to b-mobile it would be as follows

  • Please make your terms clear because we all want to know as much as we can before committing to such a service (especially with 60 months installments!)
  • Do not try to hide the facts this only adds suspician and confusion to your possible clients. E.g. prices: perhaps I can’t find a nice definitive monthly fee, so if there is one and I have missed it, my apologies. The brochure I got yesterday states that the Dell laptop is a “High Performance Multimedia Laptop”. Just give us the model number like the HP Compaq and Asus EEE PC (refer to last point). But this is nicely stated in the newspaper ad so why couldn’t it be in the brochure as well?
  • Make sure your staff understands the service so that they do not give out wrong information
  • Get your facts right. If you are offering an Asus EEE PC 900 I might be a customer, but if not please correct the details, misinformation will hurt your image and ‘cheated’ customers, who don’t get what they think they are getting, are not fun do deal with

Whoa super long post and that took quite a lot of my time but I guess it’s the technolust of wanting to be a true mobile warrior with my access on the go (on GO!… ok bad pun but whatever). My current toss-up between an Asus EEE PC 701 / Asus EEE PC 900 / HP Mini-Note 2133 / Macbook is making my head spin wanting good battery life but something small to carry. The Macbook is only there for easy video creation that’s all, unless Linux video editors have a major milestone (not that it is horrendous, in fact it’s pretty good what you can get for free, but there are some little annoyances that annoy me a bit too much).

P.S. I wonder if it is possible just to use a regular 3G phone as a modem via AT commands and sorts thus bypassing a need for a modem entirely. That would be the best so you can use just your phone and anytime you want it on your laptop/computer just use a USB datacacble / bluetooth.