How to Install T-Mobile webConnect on A Mac

May 28, 2009 by

tmobile_logoThe other day I was lucky enough to get a demo HSDPA modem from T-Mobile to try out. The modem is a re-branded Huawei E181. Since my main computer is a Mac and the box the modem came in said “System requirements … Windows XP, Vista … Mac OS support available soon,” I headed directly to the T-Mobile website hoping to find Mac OS drivers for the modem. However, the T-Mobile website stated the same thing as on the box.

Since I know most other Huawei modems work with Macs, I figured that the E181 must work with a Mac too. So, next I headed over to Huawei’s product support pages. I couldn’t find a download for the E181 specifically, but I did find one for the E180 here. The E180 is essentially the same modem, just for other markets. My somewhat educated guess was that the E180 software would likely work for the E181 too. So, I took the chance and downloaded what appeared to include Mac OS drivers. Curiously, the file included an .exe file. Hmm … Well, I inserted the modem in a Windows machine and ran the newly downloaded application. It warned me that I was about to update the firmware of the modem. Sure. A few moments later I was prompted that the software update had been applied successfully.

Next I moved the modem to my Mac running OS X 10.5.7. It automatically detected the modem and popped up a window with a “Mobile Connect” application. I went ahead and installed the app. Once it was done, I opened up the Mobile Connect app and entered in T-Mobile’s APN details, as follows:

 Name:      T-Mobile USA (this could be named anything)
 Number:    *99***1#
 Username:  voicestream
 Password:  <blank>

Then I hit connect … and voila … I was online. Sweet!

MobileConnect will create a new modem configuration called “HUAWEI Mobile” in your Mac’s Network Preferences. From now on, if you select the “Show modem status in menu bar,” you can use the modem icon in the menu bar to manage your T-Mobile WWAN connection.

Just out of curiosity I couldn’t help myself running a speed test. Although I only had one to two bars where I was at, I was able to get above 700 Kbps down and 250 Kbps up. Not too shabby, I’d say.

A small disclaimer:  The most expensive plan, about $60/month, does NOT include unlimited data. The $60 plan allows for 5GB/month of downloads. That’s probably enough for most people. But do yourself a favor, don’t watch YouTube or Hulu using your modem. It may end up costing you a lot in overage fees if you run over your 5GB/month.

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