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Nokia mobile phone for 3G connection of your Ubuntu Linux computer

Now that I have finished learning how to automatically detect my mobile phone as a media device I decided to experiment on how to connect it as a USB modem and connect to the Internet using 3G. I am now using Ubuntu Intrepid on my Compaq CQ20 and was a bit curious at the new support it offers for broadband connections via mobile phones.

When I opened my computer this morning, I right clicked on the network icon of the Gnome panel and selected “Edit Connections …”. This showed the Network Configuration dialog box for Ubuntu Intrepid. One of the things that is different from Ubuntu Hardy was the presence of the “Mobile Broadband” tab.


I started adding my mobile broadband connection configuration by clicking on the “Add” button which displayed a setup assistant.


I clicked on “Next” and then selected my country and the cell phone service provider that I use. It was great because all the Philippine local cell phone providers were listed which makes it easier for anyone using Ubuntu to configure it for broadband connection.


After selecting my mobile service provider from the list, I was a bit confused because it didn’t ask me for any settings regarding my mobile phone. Anyway I clicked on “Apply”.


I was wondering how I could connect using my mobile phone because after looking for a connect button from the network manager menu there was none. I decided to try and connect my Nokia mobile phone via the USB port on my Compaq notebook. While doing it, I viewed the system messages file located at “/var/log/messages”. The Nokia mobile phone was properly detected by my computer but got no messages that I can now connect to the Internet using my cell phone.

It turned out that when I connected my cell phone, the Network Manager automagically configured my system and now I have the option to connect via “Mobile Broadband” from the network icon on the Gnome panel. 🙂

I tried using my cell phone for broadband connection. One note: You may need to disable your wifi networking first to actually check if the broadband connection via the mobile phone is actually working. It worked and I am actually posting via my mobile broadband connection!

Update: I’m trying to compile a list of cell phones that is supported in Ubuntu Intrepid. If you have a cell phone that has worked with Ubuntu, pls visit List of cell phones supported by Ubuntu’s broadband feature and post a comment about the mobile phone you are using. Thanks.

Gerry Ilagan

Gerry Ilagan is into mobile apps and WordPress development at @speeqs. He loves to write about electronics, the Internet of Things, mobile phones, and #crazyideas.


biboy mendez

Kamusta Gerry! Glad to found your blog the articles you posted i find very informative and helpful. Sa kaso ko plano ko pa lang bumili ng laptop at lagyan ng linux. At yung main concern ko ay kung madetect ng ubuntu ang usb 3G toggle or celfone in addition sa wifi connection. Dito kasi sa location ko sa disyerto (KSA) ang normal ginagamit ng karamihan ay 3G dongle (Thomson or band luxe) or celfone. Pero sa windows yun at di pa ko sure kung okey din sa ubuntu. Ngayong nakita ko ang blog mo pwede na siguro akong makipag communicate sa yo. Sa office may connection din pero official at meron compay policy. Ang main purpose ko sa laptop kung sakali man ay pang chat sa pamilya at isa pang concern ay kung madetect ang built-in webcam sa laptop. Plano ko ring bumili ng laptop na walang OS at ako na lang mag e install. I know about linux a thing or two as i’ve been using it on and off. The advent of Ubuntu really made Linux take off e.g. pang masa talaga. Dahil dyan gusto kong subukan ang Linux sa laptop. This month ang plano kong bumili ng laptop. If you have any thoughts i sure would love to have them.

Biboy mendez


Hi biboy, mabuti naman at susubukan mo mag-Ubuntu. Yung Compaq CQ20 na ginagamit ko ngayon works with Ubuntu. Tungkol naman sa cellphone connection, so far nasubukan ko sa Nokia and Motorola na may 3G. Nasubukan ko rin sa HSDPA na Motorola RAZR and it works. Mabilis naman sya sa HSDPA — video streaming is smooth. Although di ko pa nasubukan sa Skype pero sa tingin ko wala naman sya problema kasi smooth yung youtube video. What communication software are you planning to use on Ubuntu? Or Instant messaging and email lang mostly ang gagawin mo? Kung kailangan mo tulong sa laptop purchase mo, you can just contact me.

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