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 Forum index » House Training » HOWTO ( Solutions )
3G tethering without Android or iPhone still works
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Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 664

PostPosted: Mon 12 Nov 2018, 20:32    Post subject:  3G tethering without Android or iPhone still works  

Kinda round about story. Starts when I lost my flip dumb cell phone. I use flip for voice and separate dedicated cell hotspot for internet. Out here in boonies, its either cell internet or satellite. Not even any DSL down my road. Cable simply doesnt exist in rural areas. Dialup is exercise in futility trying to navigate modern web.

So while looking for a dumb 3G phone to replace my lost one and buying a replacement SIM, I got to looking at current phone data plans. Mine is old voice only one that you have to buy so many minutes every month and any unused rolls over. Grandfathered in, they dont offer that plan to new customers, now they are unlimited voice and include data. How much data determines cost. And big surprise some of the cheap pay as you go resellers now allow tethering, that used to be big no-no there for a while and they close your account if they caught you after first warning. You just lose any money and data remaining. And hope they dont lock out your phone.

After looking around found one called Red Pocket Mobile offered unlimited voice plus 5GB data on ATT network for $30 a month and you can tether. There are better deals if you look at their 360 day plans (actually with 360 day plans you are buying 12-30 day plans, that are supposed to trigger sequentually )

Anyway I decide to try a 30day plan with 5GB data just to see. Thinking I need a smart phone to use it, find an old Samsung Eternity II for $16. Before I even get it, figure out though it looks like Android, its actually BADA smart phone from decade ago, Samsung used to use that cause they were in feud with Google I guess. I found an ancient Ubuntu forum thread around the original Eternity phone, even earlier model, saying when Ubuntu went to version "9", it just worked far as tethering. That thread was a decade ago.

So I get it and connect it to Puppy. Ok, Puppy sees it as external 3G modem and sets it up. I am thrilled. But wait you cant just use it, you have to set data connection on phone to APN name and proxy addresses that Red Pocket uses. BADA not a well supported system anymore. Just figuring how to do this took some time. Found lot more info for Samsung Wave that was also BADA. Similar enough it helped. But I finally get alternative connection set. The "Dolphin" browser on the phone just says "connecting" for 5 minutes and times out. Ready to quit for the day, but I try tethering to Puppy. Set phone number to *99# and hit connect on wvdial. Bingo, Puppy can use the connection and its faster connection than the dedicated Straight Talk 3G wifi hotspot, same ATT network, same cell tower. Heck of lot cheaper data this way too.

Oh one of those 360 day plans I mentioned is $300 for unlimited voice and text, and 10GB data per month. This is claimed to be some sale on Red Pocket store on ebay, though end of year. But it works out to $25 a month. 10GB data a month tethered and unlimited voice for $25. Thats a deal. Well here in good old land of greed we call the USA, it is. i saw some foreign pay as you go plans that offered lot more data! though they did restrict in how much of that data you could use tethered. It was crazy compared to best plan here, think you got like 100GB data and could use 30GB tethered. I hate our bought and paid for politicians sometimes. Not sure how they keep track of how much you use tethered.

And I am not trying to do a commercial for Red Pocket. For month to month plans, one called PureTalkUSA has similar deal, also ATT network. And data on their plan is not hard cut off, but is throttled after high speed data is gone. However they offer nothing to compare to price of that 360day Red Pocket plan with 10gb data, they have a 10GB data plan, but its $45 a month. Like Red Pocket, they allow tethering. Well put it this way they allow tethering, they dont encourage it nor will their customer service help you set it up. But if you can set it up yourself, its officially ok to use it. Others like Tracfone companies (includes Straight Talk and Net10) ban tethering. One called Cricket has extra tethering fee monthly. Well you get the idea. Its very time consuming to sort through all the different plans and figure who allows what when.

Just mostly posting this to show that yea, you can still tether with ancient smart phones as modem and even some 3G dumb phones. No reason to spend a bundle on fancy current smart phone unless you really want to. I personally never wanted a smart phone. No extra drivers need be installed with Puppy. The biggest hassle on the older and dumber phones is manually setting up APN connection. The Androids and iPhones usually do this automatically. Or there are apparently a plethora of Android apps that will also do this for you if your phone has manual setting greyed out.
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