Brunei Finally has Unlimited Prepaid 3G/Mobile Broadband catering for Tourists

So during my travels I found out about prepaid broadband SIM cards that let you have unlimited mobile broadband (e.g. 3G) while on the go. The ones that I’ve used are fromM1 (Singapore) and Digi (Malaysia). I stumbled upon this poster advertising Zoom! (bmobile’s mobile broadband) while visiting Telbru. This is a perfect opportunity for people to test Zoom! to see how well it works in their area: remember it is a shared Internet connection so it can be slow if the area is saturated. Speed also depends on the modem you are using.

Amount Days of Unlimited Usage
$4 1 day
$8 3 days
$20 9 days
$35 18 days

Note: Just realised my titled was wrong. I forgot to put the word ‘Unlimited’. This is important as DST Go! and bmobile Zoom! already have prepaid options but they are not unlimited. This new unlimited option is a great option for tourist who are here for a short period of time and need not worry about the amount of data they use.

Prepaid Zoom Broadband Poster
Prepaid Zoom Broadband Poster
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BDFone and their Brunei made mobile phones

When I read about BDFone creating their own mobile phones that run Android and that they were at the Halal Expo I had to pay them a visit and check out their devices.

Basically they have 2 phones that should be coming to the market in the coming months (estimated at 4-6 weeks). These phones are the LC203 and the LC303 are have basic features. Both phones are 2G and the LC303 has extra features such as a camera. These 2 phones are not running Android but a custom OS from their partners. They have prototypes that are running Android and Windows Mobile but those phones will only be seen in the future.

Aiming at the B$400-B$600 price point they could make a market for themselves as typical Android handsets are targeting the more premium market at the moment. Looking at QQeStores Android phone listing there is only the Samsung Galaxy Spica I5700 and LG GW620 in this price range. My only concerns would be support for firmware updates to an Android phone. The HTC Hero has yet still get any 2.0+ firmware here in Asia and I wonder if this could be an issue with a new manufacturer. The prototype is running Donut (Android 1.6) but as it is not coming out any time soon, they may be running a newer version of Android so nothing much to comment yet.

Zahid, the managing director of BDFone, informed me that they have partnerships with Alcatel, Motorola and Nokia; and that they are targeting low cost but functional phones. I’m not too sure about lower end feature/dumb phones as I think Nokia has pretty functional phones at the low end but aiming for the lower end of Android may be beneficial. There is a void here as almost all Android phones are trying to be an iPhone killer and fetches top dollar. I’m thinking a non-touch Android phone with a keypad (1-9) would be an interesting form factor like the Nokia E52. Either way I wish them all the best and will try update on any developments on this Brunei phone.

Bmobile’s 1st Generation 3.5G HSDPA Modem in Ubuntu/Linux

bmobile's 1st Generation 3.5G HSDPA modem
bmobile's 1st Generation 3.5G HSDPA modem

Ever since I had the opportunity of using bmobile‘s 3.5G modem to get mobile broadband (via Zoom!) I was curious to see whether it would work in Linux. After much testing, I did manage to get it to work but it wasn’t consistent (it only seemed to work when the modem was tied to /dev/ttyUSB0, so I kepted plugging it in and out and redialed to see if it worked).

For the newer bmobile modem check out this page courtesy of @jikam

Test system: Running Ubuntu 9.04.

  1. Get usb_modeswitch (in Ubuntu / Debian you can “apt-get install usb_modeswitch” which makes things much easier)
  2. Get the usb_modeswitch.conf file and put it in /etc/
  3. The modem is identified an Alcatel One Touch X020 / X030 / MDB-100HU / Nuton 3.5G (lsusb will show ) so search usb_modeswitch.conf and uncomment the section for DefaultVendor, DefaultProduct, TargetVendor, TargetProduct and MessageContent

    ########################################################
    # Alcatel One Touch X020 (aka OT-X020, aka MBD-100HU, aka Nuton 3.5G), works with Emobile D11LC
    # Alcatel One Touch X030 (aka OT-X030, aka Nuton NT36HD)
    #
    # Contributor: Aleksandar Samardzic, Marcelo Fernandez

    ;DefaultVendor= 0x1c9e
    ;DefaultProduct= 0x1001

    ;TargetVendor= 0x1c9e
    ;TargetProduct= 0x6061

    # only for reference and 0.x versions
    # MessageEndpoint=0x05

    ;MessageContent="55534243123456780000000000000606f50402527000000000000000000000"

    ########################################################

    to

    ########################################################
    # Alcatel One Touch X020 (aka OT-X020, aka MBD-100HU, aka Nuton 3.5G), works with Emobile D11LC
    # Alcatel One Touch X030 (aka OT-X030, aka Nuton NT36HD)
    #
    # Contributor: Aleksandar Samardzic, Marcelo Fernandez

    DefaultVendor= 0x1c9e
    DefaultProduct= 0x1001

    TargetVendor= 0x1c9e
    TargetProduct= 0x6061

    # only for reference and 0.x versions
    # MessageEndpoint=0x05

    MessageContent="55534243123456780000000000000606f50402527000000000000000000000"

    ########################################################

  4. Do the actual mode switch for the modem to change the device from USB storage to modem mode:
    sudo usb_modeswitch
  5. Create the USB serial device for dial up:
    sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0x1c9e product=0x6061
    This step created 3 devices (/dev/ttyUSB0, /dev/ttyUSB1, /dev/ttyUSB2) on my system.
  6. Use the Network Manager Applet to configure a new broadband modem connection with the B-Mobile configuration (APN: bmobilewap)

As mentioned this does not work consistently, so if it doesn’t seem to connection try plugging the USB modem out and back in and retry. I will try find a way to get this more consistent, but hopefully this will help those who are trying to get it to work

Mobile Internet (DST) in Ubuntu with a Nokia E51

I heard about Ubuntu’s 3G support quite a while back, but yesterday was the first time I actually tried it out. This was done using a Nokia E51 connected via USB with a DST Easi card with Ubuntu 9.04. Please note of the importable troubleshooting note below

  1. Connect the phone and set connectivity mode to “PC Suite”
  2. A configuration wizard should pop up as shown below:

    New Mobile Broadband Connection - Welcome screen 

    If the wizard does not show, start it manually by following these steps:

    1. Go to the Ubuntu Menu: System > Preferences > Network Connections
    2. Go to the “Mobile Broadband” tab and click the “Add” button
      Network Connections - Add a new Mobile Broadband Connection
  3. Select the any setting as they will be manually edited later. For this example I chose Albania and Vodafone as the country and provider respectively as it has minimal configuration changes
    New Mobile Broadband Connection - Select Service Provider
  4. Give the connection a name: “dst.internet”
    New Mobile Broadband Connection - Name it / Summary
  5. Go to Network connections (System > Preferences > Network Connections) and edit the newly created connection
    Network Connections - Edit new connection
  6. Ensure the configuration is as follows:
    • Number: *99#
    • APN: dst.internet
    • Username and password can be left blank
    • If the Albania > Vodafone settings were used, only the APN needs to be changed

    Edit connection - Mobile Broadband Tab

    Edit connection - PPP Settings Tab

    Edit connection - PPP Settings Tab - Configure Methods...

    Edit connection - IPv4 Settings Tab

    Edit connection - IPv4 Settings Tab - Routes 

  7. Left click the network manager applet and connect to the newly created “dst.internet” connection

    Connect to dst.internet via Network Manager applet

  8. Enjoy your mobile broadband =)
    Connection Information 

Now I wonder if this works for the DST Go! and bmobile Zoom! modems….

Troubleshooting Note

If you have a problem connecting please note this bug that causes the connection to timeout if there is a shell running as root. So close all terminals open. It took me 2 hours to figure this out so I hope you won’t have to suffer the same.

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>

For MMS
Name: DSTMMS
APN: dst.mms
Username: mms
Password: mms
MMS Server: http://mms.dst.com.bn/mmsc
Proxy Address: 10.100.6.101
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)
HTTP: 129.9.10.20:6500
WAP: 129.9.10.20:6500
Socks: 129.9.10.20:1080

For MMS
Name: bmobile MMS
APN: bmobilemms
Username: <no username>
Password: <no password>
Proxy Server Address & port: 129.9.10.20:6500
Socks: 129.9.10.20:1080

Server Name : B‐Mobile MMS
Gateway : 129.9.10.20
Port Number : 6500
Server Address : http://mms.bmobile.com.bn/was
Connect Via : MMS Servers
Size Limit : 300K
WAP Version : WAP 2.0
GPRS Authentication: PAP

–End of Update 1

Nokia E51 Configuration

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