Get Unlimited Nationwide High Speed Mobile Internet Access for $5.99/mo

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There's nothing worse than being stuck somewhere with nothing to do, be it the airport, public transportation, or an incredibly boring lecture.  As someone who almost always has his laptop handy, I often find myself wishing I could get on the internet to talk to friends, check email, and read up on the latest news – anything to pass the time.  The problem is that mobile data service is so darn expensive.  Verizon and Sprint both charge almost $60 per month for speeds of 60 to 80kbps, and Cingular isn't much better with a price of around $45 per month.  T-Mobile used to have a great Unlimited GPRS plan for only $19.99 per month, but alas, they now package it with their WiFi crap and force you to pay $29.99 per month for unlimited data.

But don't lose hope.  There's actually a way to connect your laptop to the internet, almost anywhere in the US, to take care of your web browsing, instant messaging, and IRC needs, without having to worry about over-usage fees, for only $5.99 per month.  The secret is in the details.

You see, T-Mobile has several tiers of data service all with different and mostly-meaningless names.  The first part of the trick is figuring out what the differences are and using them to your advantage.  Let's take a look:

  • T-MobileWeb – $5.99 – Internet access intended to be used by your phone.  Formally called "T-Zones".  Operates through the APN wap.voicestream.com.  Outbound traffic is restricted to ports 25, 110, 143, 465, 587, 993, 995, and 8080.  The IP you are issued is non-public.  An HTTP proxy is also provided at 216.155.165.50.
  • Total Internet – $29.99 – Same as T-MobileWeb, but without the port restrictions and uses a different APN.  Operates through the APN: internet2.voicestream.com. The IP you are issued is non-public.
  • Blackberry Unlimited – $19.99 – Same as Total Internet, but cheaper and includes some extra support for Blackberry's.  Operates through the APN: blackberry.voicestream.com. The IP you are issued is non-public.
  • Internet with VPN – Same as Total Internet, but you actually get a public IP, albiet a dynamic one, instead of one based on NAT.

It should be noted that with EDGE-enabled phones, consistent speeds of 190Kbps are common.

Simply put, your laptop can be configured to use the APN that was intended for your phone.  So, if you just want to be able to connect to the internet for web browsing, AIM, and/or IRC, here's how it's done for $5.99 per month:

  1. Sign up for T-MobileWeb and get an EDGE-capable phone.   They're free with a contract, and if you're already with T-Mobile, chances are good that your phone is already EDGE-capable.
  2. Download drivers for your phone from the phone's manufacturer.  These are usually very, very easy to find.  If you have trouble, post a comment with your phone brand and I'll help you find them.
  3. Connect your phone to your laptop via Bluetooth, Infrared, or by USB Data Cable, whichever floats your boat.
  4. Create a Dial-Up Networking connection, select your phone as the modem.
  5. Then go to the "Advanced" Tab and add this line into the "Extra Initialaization commands":
    AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","wap.voicestream.com"
  6. Now simply set the phone number to *99# and dial.  A connection should be established pretty quickly.
  7. Configure your browser to use the HTTP proxy:
    1. Firefox users, click Tools > Options and then click on "Connection Settings".  Enter 216.155.165.50 as the HTTP proxy and 8080 as the port number
    2. Internet Explorer users, click Tools -> Internet Options, choose the connection tab. Then the "LAN Settings…" button.  You MUST have "Automatically detect settings" with a checkmark.  Put a checkmark at the bottom at the "Use a proxy server for your LAN" and put the "Address:" of 216.155.165.50 and the Port of 8080.

That's it!  Enjoy unlimited 190Kbps nationwide internet access for only $5.99 per month.  And, if you feel like the port restrictions are getting in the way, just tunnel through a free service like Silence is Defeat.

Enjoy!  Be sure to post a comment to let me know how it went for you. 

15 comments to “Get Unlimited Nationwide High Speed Mobile Internet Access for $5.99/mo”

  1. Comment by wladek:

    Very interesting article. For those north of the border are there any such similar services that can be bought to take advantage of this proxy?

  2. Comment by wladek:

    I did some digging and found out that Rogers (rogers.com) offers edge enabled phones.. but there are no ‘unlimited’ plans for net access. They have rediculous rates.. for example 20 dollars (on top of phone fees) for 20MB a month! Every KB after that is 5 cents! Are there unlimited plans in the states?

  3. Comment by Jess:

    I am using the TMobileWeb tethering with my T509 phone and my iBook and getting great speeds…however, I really want to be able to tunnel to get around the 8080 proxy and I cannot figure it out. Are you using silenceisdefeat.org for your tunneling? I’m so new at command line stuff that I don’t know what to do. I can’t connect on any ssh from terminal on my iBook when connected to the TMobileWeb connection, but I can connect when I’m on my normal DSL.

  4. Comment by ahn:

    Hi, Chris, I have a motorola v330 phone with t-mobile. I found the phone tools software, but they are asking about $35 for it. Do you know any freeware available for my phone and carrier? Thanks, Ahn

  5. Comment by Henry:

    Hello Chris, do you know if drivers are available for the T-Mobile Dash? Thanks.

  6. Comment by Tom:

    Hi Chris,
    I am considering T-mobile for wireless internet access. I will probably use a PDA/blackberry for a modem for my desktop computer since i have not been able to locate broadband available in my area except for satellite.
    * Does the internet service you speak of allow me to download files to my computer ?
    sometimes i download rather large files.
    * Another thing, would Skype or something simular work on this internet connection?

  7. Comment by Dr J:

    excellent posting. i had never even thought about this possiblity before and was about to spring for the blackberry unlimited plan. no need for that now.

    thanks Chris

  8. Comment by eddie:

    Thanx for this website chris, but i’m having problems at the part where you say “5.Then go to the “Advanced” Tab and add this line into the “Extra Initialaization commands”:
    AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”,”wap.voicestream.com”

    I guess my menu is different or something cause my “advanced tab show a list of things that you need to check off. I don’t mean to be a pain but, could you gimmie a click by click direction to this menu that u speak of. thanx.

  9. Comment by V_RocKs:

    The problem the last commenter is having is because you are not on the same menu as he is. You need to click MODEM tab, then select your phone as the modem and then select properties for that modem. Then in that new window is “another” advanced tab (the right one) and if you click it you will get Extra Settings, Extra Initialization Commands.

  10. Comment by Kris:

    T-Mobile does have a good price for connectivity, however don’t expect to get those speeds all the time. I generally only connect at about 40 Kb/sec.

  11. Comment by mr anon:

    ok heres my problem, i recently bought a cheap cell phone with a 5.99 unlimited web browsing plan, but

    didnt realize how crappy it would be to surf the net on that small screen. so i bought another phone and

    would like to use that to surf on but i cant find the info to do it. I am guessing all the information i

    need would be right on the sim card.

    I would like to know how can find it without having to take the

    phone to the company and changing my phone plan to a new unlimited data plan. I was wondering where do

    you find the information/settings in the old phone, so that i can put those on the pocket pc. my cell

    phone company is viaero and the phone i got is a sony ericsson w300i with the 5.99 unlimited web browsing

    and the other phone is a unlocked hp ipaq and when i put the sim card in it cant use the mobile web from

    the sim card.

  12. Comment by GW:

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve been doing this too for a couple of years. Don’t do it often, but it nice to kown you can when you need too. I had problems going to a https site thought.

    Do you know if any of the other sony ericcson phones have this same why of getting on line, or other brands for that matter. I would like to do to pda phone. I have a 8125 unlocked. When I used that, they socket me with data charges. They said it uses a faster data network.

    GW

  13. Comment by Marcella:

    Hey Chris, awesome article. I’m just wondering if it would work for the T-Mobile sidekick? I can access the internet with my phone and have unlimited data. I also tried creating the dial up connection and didn’t see anything under the advanced tab. I’d really appreciate any help you could give me! Thanks!

  14. Comment by Joe Yurick:

    Hi Chris.
    I have ATT ISP and a Moto Raz 3XX. I tried to find drivers on the Att web site but could not.
    Also I am using a USB data cable.

    Any help would be appriciated.
    Thanks
    Joe

  15. Comment by missy:

    I have a ny touch 3g slide. How do I hook it up to my HP thar has Windows 7 on it.. please help

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