New to mobile data - what to buy?

Gamer

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Hi all,

I've got a notebook and am going to start to travel locally a bit and feel having vodacom mobile data will be better than trying to connect through my cellphone which is what i usually do.
I want to keep costs as low as possible and am considering buying a used vodafone modem and I'll use a prepaid card for the connection.
Are the Vodafone Huawei E272 or E220 modems okay to buy and do they offer all the latest features? What about these data cards...there seems to be so much option, it's all very overwhelming.

Thanks
 

Keeper

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don't get an E220, get the E272 rather - it's got faster uploads, and later on it will get you 7.2 download speeds where the E220 can't......

I don't think you can plug one of those data cards for laptops into a PC so just keep that in mind....but the E272 is good IMO....
 

Sackboy

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Bear in mind that new is not always better. I saw one of the new slim cards (K...) today and it wasn't an improvement on the older one in terms of speeds.
 

Basilrsa

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don't get an E220, get the E272 rather - it's got faster uploads, and later on it will get you 7.2 download speeds where the E220 can't......

I don't think you can plug one of those data cards for laptops into a PC so just keep that in mind....but the E272 is good IMO....
Not quite correct
I have an E220 which I purchased for Telkom's 3G service. It's a Vodafone branded device. I upgraded it to 7.2 download but yes, it can only do 384kbs upload.(The firmware upgrade is available on Telkom's site)
I also have a Novatel MC950D(Vodafone) and it's a great modem.IMHO
If you can get a second hand E272, go for it.
They can be used on a desktop, as long as there's a USB 2 connection.


Vodacom have already implemented the open 3.6mbs connection in my area, but I get max 2.2mbs download on a 4 bar signal, so don't expect a great rush of speed. (1.8 before)
PS: I have just checked my Telkom download and it was 4.45mbs. So 7.2 is enabled.
Lucky me, I live 800 m from one of their "3" towers.
 
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vikrantram

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Hi Guys,

I am Vikrant Ram, New to this forum and joined here to know many things about modems and broadband services. Hope you all help me out.
 

FireTelkom

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I will suggest to you not to buy a second hand modem but consider to take a contract and get the modem free. Go for either the Topup 135 or Topup 200. With the Topup 200 you will most probably get a E272 for free. You can use the 200 for data bundles and add with top up. Works out the cheapest.
 

Gamer

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Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm not sure I follow the exact course this thread has taken, but I've gotten a bit of a picture of what I should look out for.

In my researching on the Vodacom website, I found a link to using my phone "correctly" and tried it out: http://www.vodacom.co.za/services/via_the_phone/index.jsp

I was amazed at what speeds I got out of my cellphone (Beats using it as a dialup modem which is what I had done in the past!!!)

Speed test screen shot using my cellphone

Not bad IMO! I'm impressed, no need to make any changes with my simcard and no real need for new hardware. I may just get a E272 modem anyway for the convenience of not having to use my mobile all the time.
 
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Gamer

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Out of interest, what's required if one buys one of these E220/E272 modems and it's locked to a network. Is unlocking by ones self easily achievable with a bit of software or something?
 

ic

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Out of interest, what's required if one buys one of these E220/E272 modems and it's locked to a network. Is unlocking by ones self easily achievable with a bit of software or something?
If you buy an HSPA modem that was originally sold outside of South Africa, e.g. sold on a UK auction website, you can expect that HSPA modem to be network locked to a non-SA network.

All HSPA modems obtained via Vodacom and MTN are not network locked.
 

Smiley_lauf

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@Gamer: I used the HOSTB from this site: http://www.huawei.com/mobileweb/en/doc/list.do?type=-1&id=736
Flash the card with this software. I also googled a bit and came across this site http://hertenberger.co.za/?p=3431 with instructions on how to do this.

Once you get the "Mobile Connect" working you can use any SIM from any network, and I believe it will also work in any country.

I went to vodacare outlet in PMB to get it unloocked, they outright told me they do not do this (even though they should be unlocking the cards according to v3g here). I called vodacom 155 and they told me that MTN dashboard could be installed ontop of the VMC lite, but I tried this, and there was conflict with existing software. Vodacom also confirmed that doing this will make the warranty of the hardware null-n-void. I googled and came up with this solution--flash the card with the original HUAWEI software for E220 from the first site I gave.

I works like a charm. Now I am network free.

S
 
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vodacom3g

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I went to vodacare outlet in PMB to get it unloocked, they outright told me they do not do this (even though they should be unlocking the cards according to v3g here).
Which modem was this, you tried to unlock? Where did you get it.
 

Smiley_lauf

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Hey v3g, thanks for noticing this. It is a HUAWEI E220, branded with vodafone emblem. Bought last year June or so from Vodashop Musgrave Centre Durban. It is fully paid for and am using prepaid data bundles.
 

vodacom3g

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Hey v3g, thanks for noticing this. It is a HUAWEI E220, branded with vodafone emblem. Bought last year June or so from Vodashop Musgrave Centre Durban. It is fully paid for and am using prepaid data bundles.
Ok, but it's not locked, so why did you need to try and unlock it?
 

Gamer

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@Gamer: I used the HOSTB from this site: http://www.huawei.com/mobileweb/en/doc/list.do?type=-1&id=736
Flash the card with this software. I also googled a bit and came across this site http://hertenberger.co.za/?p=3431 with instructions on how to do this.

Once you get the "Mobile Connect" working you can use any SIM from any network, and I believe it will also work in any country.

I went to vodacare outlet in PMB to get it unloocked, they outright told me they do not do this (even though they should be unlocking the cards according to v3g here). I called vodacom 155 and they told me that MTN dashboard could be installed ontop of the VMC lite, but I tried this, and there was conflict with existing software. Vodacom also confirmed that doing this will make the warranty of the hardware null-n-void. I googled and came up with this solution--flash the card with the original HUAWEI software for E220 from the first site I gave.

I works like a charm. Now I am network free.

S
Thanks for the advice. I'll keep it in mind if I happen to buy a locked one.
 

ic

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Ok, but it's not locked, so why did you need to try and unlock it?
That is what I would also like to know.

IMO there are 2 possibilities:
  1. The E220 was originally bought in another country, and was network locked to an overseas network operator's network; OR
  2. It was the known problem with one of [post=986902]MTN's dodgy 64K SIM Cards[/post] which made it appear as if the E220 was network locked when it actually was not.
 

vodacom3g

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That is what I would also like to know.

IMO there are 2 possibilities:
  1. The E220 was originally bought in another country, and was network locked to an overseas network operator's network; OR
  2. It was the known problem with one of [post=986902]MTN's dodgy 64K SIM Cards[/post] which made it appear as if the E220 was network locked when it actually was not.
Or maybe, VMC-Lite was used.

I've had 2 previous reports of locked E220's but in both cases I could never get my hands on the actual units to confirm.

So, I won't say locked E220's never got into the country. But I've never been able to confirm this.
 

ic

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Or maybe, VMC-Lite was used.

I've had 2 previous reports of locked E220's but in both cases I could never get my hands on the actual units to confirm.

So, I won't say locked E220's never got into the country. But I've never been able to confirm this.
Even if VMC-Lite was used, VMC-Lite is merely dashboard s/w designed [albeit short-sightedly] for use with Vodafone networks and not every single possible network everywhere in the world, VMC-Lite does not network lock an E220 to any network operator's network.

Considering that there are quite a few alternative dashboard s/w applications available for the E220 [e.g. VMC, HMC, HMP, MDMA] - the user simply has to disable the E220's drive letter and install an alternative to VMC-Lite on their Windoze PC.
 

Smiley_lauf

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Hi There IC and v3g,

Ok, we are getting to something: Firstly what is meant by 'network locked'?. I replaced the vodacom SIM with an MTN SIM and tried connecting using the VMC Lite dashboard . I got an error message saying "you have to be on a vodacom network...." to make connection. I guess that was the problem?

My gripe is with the PMB vodacare store--when i asked then to help me use another SIM on the card--but I must say they were totally oblivious of the fact that another SIM could actually be used on branded card--even after I explained to them.

So did I do the right thing by using the generic HUAWEI software/firmware to be able to use the other networks?

Thanks for help,
S
 

vodacom3g

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Hi There IC and v3g,

Ok, we are getting to something: Firstly what is meant by 'network locked'?. I replaced the vodacom SIM with an MTN SIM and tried connecting using the VMC Lite dashboard . I got an error message saying "you have to be on a vodacom network...." to make connection. I guess that was the problem?

My gripe is with the PMB vodacare store--when i asked then to help me use another SIM on the card--but I must say they were totally oblivious of the fact that another SIM could actually be used on branded card--even after I explained to them.

So did I do the right thing by using the generic HUAWEI software/firmware to be able to use the other networks?

Thanks for help,
S
OK, it makes sense now.

There are 2 components involved here:

1) The actual modem with its firmware running on it. It is normally at this level where any network locking occurs. But SA modems are not locked.

2) The 'dashboard', i.e. the piece of software that you actually run on your PC/laptop. Every network bundle their own version of a dashboard with their modems but obviously they're not going to provide native support for networks outside their own.

So, if you switch networks, you need to switch dashboard as well.

Some dashboards are network independent, specifically Huawei's own Mobile connect or ginggs' MDMA.

So, in your case, the modem is actually not locked but you must either use the networks' version or use an agnostic version. Typical consensus is to use that piece of hacked together code known as MDMA (probably the best sash out there! ;))

No, really. Use MDMA, once you've installed VMC-Lite to get the drivers on your system.
 
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