3G Broadband for Home Use

I have just installed an old Three mobile phone with 3G broadband for my parents home network access for the reasons described in my cheap net access in Australia post [1].

The first problem I had was that the pre-paid Three SIM just wouldn’t work at all. I ended up phoning the Three support line and had a guy guess at which version of Windows I was running, after guessing every version of Windows from the last 10 years and Mac OS/X he finally asked what OS I use and then told me that Linux isn’t supported. I said “I HAVE TWO SIMS FROM THREE, ONE WORKS AND THE OTHER DOESN’T, IT’S ON THE SAME PC WITH THE SAME 3G ACCESS DEVICE, THE PROBLEM IS WITH THE SIM OR THE SERVER NOT MY OS“. When the support guy discovered that one sim was pre-paid he said that there is a configuration difference, instead of an APN of “3netaccess” for post-paid (contract) you have to use “3services” for pre-paid.

There are a bunch of web pages describing how to get Three 3G broadband working on Linux in Australia, some say to use 3netaccess and some say 3services. None of the pages I read stated correctly that 3netaccess is for when you are on a contract and 3services is for pre-paid. I’ve submitted a suggestion for the Ross Barkman’s GPRS Info Page (which seems to be the best reference for such things) [2].

After getting the pre-paid 3G SIM working for net access from the Huawei E1553 USB 3G modem I was unable to get it working from my LG U890 mobile phone. I never figured out how to solve this problem, I left my parents with the SIM that is connected to my $15 per month contract plan for 3G net access and am now using the pre-paid SIM for my own use. Of course this means that as I’m using a SIM registered to my mother and she’s using one registered to me I’ll surely have some problems getting the support center to help me with problems in future.

I found that the 3G net access got better reception when the phone was higher than the computer, so I used a USB extension cable to allow it to be placed on a shelf above the computer. The extension cable also allows it to be easily unplugged and plugged in again – I’ve already seen one situation where Linux got confused about the state of the USB device and replugging it was necessary to solve the problem. I was using Debian/Lenny.

Here is my chatscript for connecting to Three with my 3G modem on a pre-paid SIM – which also allows roaming to Telstra (I haven’t tested whether pre-paid allows roaming, I’ve only tested Telstra roaming with a contract SIM):

'' AT
#OK AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","3netaccess"
OK AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","3services"
OK ATDT*99**3#

Here is the ppp configuration for connecting via the USB 3G modem. For use as a permanent connection you want to also include persist and “maxfail 0“:
logfile /var/log/ppp.log
connect "/usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/three"

For connecting with an LG U890 mobile phone you need to use “ATDT*99***1#” as the dial command and the device is /dev/ttyACM0 .

2 comments to 3G Broadband for Home Use

  • Ketil Bedford


    I use a three pre-pay for 3G access.

    I have found that I have problems with DNS. i will often get a DNS of and, they don’t work. So I use Googles DNS ( an this this DNS I can’t get to



  • etbe

    I have also been using Google DNS because the Three one doesn’t work and running my own recursive DNS on localhost causes problems due to Three queuing packets for a much longer time than BIND will take to timeout an attempt, so BIND can end up taking all the bandwidth of the link. I had noticed that wasn’t working, I hadn’t realised that it was due to Google DNS, thanks for the tip!