Vodafone Australia, Huawei E220 and K3765

After quitting my full-time work career and starting as an independent consultant in May/2007, I started telecommuting on customer engagements. I got a chance to work in my own private space flexibly, in cafes, libraries, Starbucks, sometimes in shopping malls. During the initial days, I had to depend on free Wi-Fi for internet connectivity in my laptop. I slowly started feeling the need of having an internet connection that I could use anywhere I like. Thus began the crusade…

I joined Vodafone Australia in January 2008 on a A$39/month post-paid mobile broadband contract for 24 months. In those days, the Huawei E220 USB dongle (branded Vodafone) felt like a luxury item! Vodafone had a generous 5Gb per month data allowance which was more than sufficient for me over the two years. I was on a direct debit plan on my VISA credit card and everything went well flawlessly for the billing. I did have teething issues with coverage during the two years. Vodafone was working hard to build their own 3G infrastructure in the Sydney Metro area and I acknowledged it by tolerating frequent dropouts, several hours of no connectivity in CBD areas in Sydney, and so on.

In January 2010, the contract expired. I continued using the Huawei E220 and Vodafone kept billing me every month. End of March 2010, I got a call from Vodafone, offering me a 6Gb/month plan at the same price with a new Vodaone K3765 modem on a 24 month contract. While I didn’t really shop around for cheaper/better mobile broadband plans, I had my eye on Telstra’s 3Gb/month mobile broadband plan. While on the phone, I was somehow sold this new contract with the assurance that I do not need to call anyone at Vodafone since I have given the authority to record the conversation which is as good as signing a document. I was told that existing billing details will be ‘carried over’ to the new contract and everything will progress smoothly after I activate the new SIM which will be shipped with a K3765 modem. I received the SIM and the new modem, activated & started using the new connection from April 15. Until the latest VISA credit card bill, I could see Vodafone charging me $39 every month for the mobile broadband service. Yesterday, 9/July, when I tried to connect to internet after plugging in the modem, I got an error popup and Internet Explorer was trying to open an URL – ipc.vodafone.com.au/insufficient_funds.

I called Vodafone customer service, tried my best to get rid of the “friendly” IVR prompts and managed to talk  to someone within the first 10 minutes – thats’ a win, I thought. After completing the identification formalities, I was told that my account has been suspended due to non-payment of charges! I was shocked. The account history showed that I haven’t paid Vodafone since April 15 when I started using the account. I spoke 5 different customer service agents in the 1hr20mins I was on the phone – I got Vodafone to cancel the accounts. Vodafone accepted the fault and advised that $11.60 that I am owed will be credited back to my VISA credit card.

Next, I wanted to check if the E220 modem (which I can use since the contract was over and I have already paid for it) and the K3765 modem will work with another prepaid SIM (I am considering Virgin since they use the Optus network). I started searching on the internet for help with testing whether the modems are locked/unlocked and how to unlock them if they are locked. Through the Whirlpool Australia forums, I found a link to the GSM forums where one could post their IMEI and get an unlock code. A kind soul sent me the unlock code for the K3765, however, I was advised that the E220 can not be unlocked by inserting a unlock code. I did find this link to unlock the E220, but, I was keen to unlock the K3765. I then downloaded the “dc unlocker client” version & installed it in my Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Macbook Pro laptop. I have VMC Lite version 9.4.3.16284 installed when I setup the K3765. I plugged in my E220 I shut down the “MobileConect” and “VMC” services through the task manager and fired up the dc unlocker. dc unlocker detected the E220 and returned – “SIM Lock status     : unlocked”. Next, I inserted the K3765 and repeated the process, this time,  I saw a “SIM Lock status     : Locked (Card Lock)”. With the unlock code for the K3765 ready for use, I started looking for a program to use the unlock code with the K3765. I found this pack from a forum post here. I used the “code.exe” to add the code (after asking it to detect the K3765 in a COM port) and unlock the K3765. Next, I ran dc unlocker and it reported “SIM Lock status     : unlocked”. HURRAY!

Next on – I plan to get a Virgin pre-paid SIM card and use with one of the two unlocked modems, preferably the K3765. I hope by following the steps in this post, I will be able to use one of the two modems and have mobile broadband for my laptop. I’ll post an update on my attempt to use Virgin with the modems.

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2 thoughts on “Vodafone Australia, Huawei E220 and K3765

  1. hi i am having trouble getting the k3765 working on windows 7 64 bit
    any tips ? thanks

  2. Greg,

    The “unlocked” K3765 works fine on my Macbook Pro running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. After unlocking and inserting the Virgin SIM, I followed the steps of “Newly Western” in this Whirlpool forum post – http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1356168#r2. I have reproduced the steps below –

    – Go into Device Manager by clicking on the Windows menu, Right mouse button click on “Computer”, and select “Manage”
    – Click on “Device Manager”, then scroll down the right hand side till you see “Modem”.
    – Expand “Modem” and select your modem, should say something like “Vodafone Mobile Broadband modem”.
    – Double click on your modem, and go to the “Advanced” menu
    – Under the “Extra Settings”, there may be a text box that is titled “Extra Settings Initialization commands”
    – Paste the following:

    +cgdcont=1,”IP”,””

    if your with Virgin prepaid, you should enter:

    +cgdcont=1,”IP”,”VirginBroadband”

    – Click on “Okay”, and close the device manager window
    – Open up “Control Panel”, select “Network & Internet”
    – Click on “Setup a new connection or Network”
    – Click on “Setup a new dial-up connection”
    – Enter *99# in the dial-up phone number box
    – Leave username and password blank
    – Give the new connection a name such as “Broadband Connection” or whatever you like
    – It will connect, and save the connection.
    – The next time you want to use this connection, just click on the network icon in the systray, and under the “Dialup and VPN” section you should see the connection that you just created.

    PS. Don’t forget, every time you plug your modem into a different USB port, your computer will see this as a different modem, so you’ll have to enter the initialisation commands in the modem properties (see above steps).

    Cheers,
    indyfromoz

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