Monday, September 05, 2011

Unlocking a USB Wireless Modem

I wanted to have wireless broadband access while visiting Malaysia. My phone will work fine, as Vodafone offer global roaming (for a price). But Virgin Mobile Broadband service on my wireless router is only available within Australia. So I thought I might get a temporary SIM card for overseas use. But this requires the modem to be unlocked to use a different carrier's SIM card.

According to Virgin's help site, the Pre-paid Mobile Broadband modem is locked to the Virgin network. What was less clear is if the post-paid service I have is also locked. As far as I can work out the post-paid modems are also locked, the only difference is that there is no need to have paid a set amount to have them unlocked. The unlock process is to send a request via the on-line support system, with the make and model of modem (mine is HUAWEI E169) and the IMEI Number (a unique number written on the modem). Virgin the send an unlock code.

One thing which makes this difficult is that Virgin's help system requires that I enter the mobile phone number for the account. As this is a data service I don;t know what the phone number is (I don't use the modem to make phone calls). Virgin issue an account number which I use to log into the Virgin billing system, but this does not seem to work for the help system.

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