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How to tether your T-Mobile Blackberry as a modem for FREE

Updated on May 12, 2010

Update!!! --- So it seems that leaving the Wifi on while trying to tether somehow confuses the Blackberry and it will occasionally show UMA on it.....make sure to turn off Wifi on the Blackberry if your model has it.  The only real reason to have UMA or "wifi" turned on with your Blackberry is if you are using it to make wifi calls or you are using it as a supplement to your T-Mobile data network.  I just turned mine off totally as I use it a lot as a tether and don't feel I need the higher speeds while using the Berry to browse or check e-mail.  The picture below is same location as the ones farther down but notice much faster speeds achieved just by turning off UMA.

Very rarely do I get completely blown away by technology...but that just happened to me...I recently moved from Verizon Wireless to T-Mobile for my cellphone and have a Blackberry Bold 9700. I moved because T-Mobile was about 40% cheaper than Verizon...I know Big Red has better coverage but I don't go out in the boonies too much, so I would rather keep the cash and deal with any coverage issues that come up....but I digress. The reason I am writing this hub is that I just discovered something VERY cool about my Blackberry. I can use it as a modem for my computer....a high speed modem...without paying anything extra!! I already pay about $20 to have the blackberry feature on my phone (it is part of my all you can eat plan for my family) but until today I thought it was only for using the internet, e-mail etc. on the phone itself...not so!!

I have heard that you can use your phone as a modem, but with Verizon it was extra money to do so ($15 per month) and though there were ways around this, I am not super technical and had no idea how to hack the device to make work without the extra cost. I wondered if this was true with T-mobile as well, so I called them up and the customer service rep basically said...."yep, it can be done, but it is not supported..." i.e "we will not tell you how to do it or help you with it." Ok, fair enough....so I sat down this morning and figured it would take me a couple of hours to maybe get it working....HA!! 15 minutes later I was on my way to Starbucks to do some hub-writing on the fly....Man am I cool now!!!!

I know, I know, I need to stop yammering and get down to the meat and potatoes....how do you get this marvel of technology up and running for yourself? Ok, here goes....

Step #1- I do not know if this will work for carriers other than T-Mobile. I can basically garuntee it will not work if you have Verizon unless you pay them the extra $15 per month for the tether feature on a Blackberry... It may work with AT&T and Sprint, but I dont know. ALSO!! Make sure you do check with your carrier to make sure you have an unlimited Blackberry plan and that you will not incur any overage charges.

 

Step #2 - Download the LATEST Blackberry desktop manager software from RIM. At this point, the newest version is 5.0.1. Click here to go directly to the RIM website to download it. Download Blackberry Desktop Manager

This is a pretty big file, so it will take a little while. When you have it downloaded and installed. Plug in your blackberry via the USB cable (this also allows your computer to charge the Blackberry which is great!.) Wait for the software to recognize the device. The first screen you see should look like the picture below.

Notice the "IP Modem" button. For those who have used this software before, this button is new. Ok, prepare to have your mind blown with how flipping easy this is! Click on the "IP Modem" button. The next screen you see will have two sides, the left says "Connection Settings" and the right says "Connect to Internet." On the left, under "Connection Settings" you will see a button that says "Configure." Click on this button. The next screen should look like the picture below.

The device should have auto-loaded "T-Mobile" under "Connection Profile" as well as the "Access Point" information...all you have to do is check the box at the bottom to "Keep the IP Modem connection open after the Blackberry Desktop Manager is closed." Then click OK. Now go to the right side and click "Connect to the Internet." It will take about 30 seconds to connect and authenticate......wait for it.....wait for it......BOOM! You are online. That is it....so ridiculously easy that it feels like we are cheating!!!

Step #3 - Now you are good to go! The picture below shows the speeds I am getting right now as I write this hub....sitting at a super crowded Starbucks in downtown Portland during peak shopping time 2 weekends before Christmas....so I am assuming that the network load is pretty heavy and I am still getting darn good speeds, not super fast, but respectable...ALSO I just spent 30 minutes on the phone WHILE still using the computer to surf....so you can use the phone just like normal while usuing the device as a modem (just remember not to disconnect the cable AND this only works on 3G devices like the Bold 9700)...this blows me away as the only draw-back I could think of for using my phone as a .modem was if I needed to use it for calls while I was online...well that is not a concern, the phone worked perfectly and I did not notice any slowing down of the Internet session while talking!! WHO NEEDS A BROADBAND CARD FOR $60 a MONTH??!?!?!??!

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    • profile image

      Josh 5 years ago

      I am trying to tether my bb 9300 and I found the mobile internet options but when I connect it only gives me local internet connectivity and sends me to a T-mobile page saying its an extra $15 a month to tether. What do I do?

    • profile image

      LARRY 6 years ago

      I SEE NO MENTION OF THE BLACKBERRY 8220 TETHERING. AM I ABLE ?

    • profile image

      Darci 6 years ago

      Ok here's an idea...out in the boonies, no wifi, no internet but you have a satellite phone, the new Isatphone. Can I tether the blackberry to the sat phone and get the internet on the blackberry over satellite via the sat phone???

    • OregonWino profile image
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      OregonWino 6 years ago

      James, if you are in the states and you have an UMLIMITED blackberry plan, you should be all good to go!! NOT in the US I have no idea :)

    • profile image

      james 6 years ago

      would like to get this Black Berry working.

      paid the monthly fee for the intornet and now it is asking for 29.99 when it was to be free.

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 6 years ago

      Michelle! I am 100% sure that it is free in THE US!! I have no idea in the UK and I would MAKE SURE you call and double check!!

    • profile image

      Michelle 6 years ago

      I just did this on T-Mobile in the UK with my BlackBerry Bold 9700. I can't believe how easy it was, BUT IS THIS REALLY FREE?? How do we know we won't be hammered with massive data charges in our next bill??

    • profile image

      José 7 years ago

      @money:

      You have to install the BB software and then "dial" the BB as if it were a modem through the network control panel. Google it and you'll find detailed instructions.

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      RJ - The best device to get if you do not want a Blackberry but do want to do the tethering would be one of the "phone first" devices such as the Nokia Nuron which also have 3G capability, as you can tether for $10 per month!

    • profile image

      Guilherme 7 years ago

      Does Blackberry 9700 on T-Mobile uses regular SIM card? Is it possible to put this SIM card in a 3G modem and use the data plan on it instead of tethering the phone?

    • profile image

      money 7 years ago

      What about for mac users, there is no IP modem or anything :(

    • profile image

      RJ 7 years ago

      as a newbe tetherer (never done it) ... which is the best to buy for tethering? .. Blackberry ? (BTW - I don't use the phone for anything but calls and desired tethering so fewer options is best)

      I know I need to $10/mo data also

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      Awesome! Glad you like it!!

    • profile image

      Jasmine 7 years ago

      THIS IS AMAZING!! I just tethered my BlackBerry Bold 9700(T-Mobile of course)!! I can't believe its FREE either lol!! I just fell in love with my phone all over again =)

    • OregonWino profile image
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      OregonWino 7 years ago

      Hello Coolshop33. Is Simple Mobile a wireless carrier? I have never heard of them

    • profile image

      coolshop33 7 years ago

      hi, thanks for the updates. I just got the bb torch unlocked. and im thinking of switching frm tmob to simple mob is the tethering the same? thanks guys

    • profile image

      lady 7 years ago

      Its fine to use. If you use it to much you get sent a msg saying that you exceeded your allowed data and your data will still be unlimited it just slows down. No extra charges I use to work for them.

    • profile image

      Canucker 7 years ago

      AMAZING! works up in Canada on the Rogers network! Thanks!!

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      @Cold Fusion

      Ummm, maybe you missed Step #1 where I say "ALSO!! Make sure you do check with your carrier to make sure you have an unlimited Blackberry plan and that you will not incur any overage charges."

      Maybe read an article before you comment on it..just a thought

    • profile image

      ColdFusion Developer 7 years ago

      FYI: T-Mobile Customers just because you have the "Blackberry Unlimited" plan does not mean that you get unlimited data when using your phone as an IP Modem like this article suggests. You should check with your individual plan and make sure this is included. It was not in mine and has to be purchased separately.

    • James L profile image

      James L 7 years ago from Canada

      hahaha very nice!! I'm going to do this right now with my blackberry, thank you very much for this info!

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      Hello Nadra,

      You should be fine as long as you are using T-Mobile (which I assume you are.) Just to make yourself feel better, call their customer service and ask, but I am 99.73% sure you are good.!! Good luck in school!

    • profile image

      NadraD 7 years ago

      I sit desk in the night and always need internet to do my hw. You are a superhuman. Thank you! - just hope I'm not being charged an arm and a leg for this

    • profile image

      ScGal 7 years ago

      I am SOOOOOOOO Happy that you wrote this article! When I bought the phone in Feb., they told me I could tether, but I never had a need to... My sister first told me about tethering, she has Verizon, after she explained to me what it was the second thing out of her mouth was I can only use up to such and such a month so don't get on the net unless you have to. However, the straw that broke the camel's back was that I went out of town for the weekend to a friend's house that did not have the internet nor did she have cable! I know that I have a blackberry, but my 1st love is my laptop at home with a lighting fast wifi connection. THANK YOU!!!

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      Hello there Coolshop. Glad to hear you got the Curve Tethered (8520.) Let me clarify the issue with the phone call. The 8520 is a 2G only device, so it can not do both a call and internet. That would only work on a 3G device IN a 3G area (voice is going over 2g and data over 3G at the same time.

      3G phones will be faster than 2G, so if you want to bump your speed you would want to move to a 3G like the 8900 Bold (older) or 9700 Bold (newer.) Hope that helps and good luck!@

    • profile image

      coolshop33 7 years ago

      hi, i just tethered my 8520 today its cool... thanks for the info. when i get a phone call the internet isn't working...am i missing a setting? secondly..are their certain phones from tmobile or unlocked for tmobile that are faster? also, is there any updates or after market that make my 8520 faster? does anyone know if this will work w simple mobile? thanks

    • profile image

      coolshop33 7 years ago

      hi, i just tethered my 8520 today its cool... thanks for the info. secondly..are their certain phones from tmobile or unlocked for tmobile that are faster? also, is there any updates or after market that make my 8520 faster? does anyone know if this will work w simple mobile? thanks

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      Hello OSEARTH, yes, there are many 3rd party application for Android that will allow you to use your device as a broadband modem, some are free and some are not. Good luck!!

    • profile image

      osearth 7 years ago

      The internet sticks are WAY too expensive it's insanity. Maybe this will work for my location also. I've seen some software for android that let's you tether to a Windows box..

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      Awesome Ryan! Thanks for the heads up!

    • profile image

      Ryan G 7 years ago

      Hey its me again. I just switched from my Blackberry to a Motorola Cliq on T-mobile. Just for the information tethering works on android phones on T-mobile and I believe it works on almost any phone if you just google the phone to find a tethering program for it. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Lynda 7 years ago

      Thanks OregonWino. It looks like it will work with Sprint. I had a friend test is out. They are very excited about this also. Thank you again for the post. This has finally promted me to switch over, what a big savings this will be for me. Thank you.

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      Hi there Lynda,

      Verizon requires an additional feature (BBA Connect) which is $15 per month to enable their Blackberrys and other smart phones as a modem. Sprint and T-Mobile include this feature for free (I am about 90% sure Sprint does, but I would ask them to be sure.)

    • profile image

      Lynda 7 years ago

      I have been thinking of switching to Sprint from Verizon... what can I say? There comercials for their $69 plan compared with my $119 verizon plan has won me over. I tried running the Blackberry software with my verizon plan and the "IP Modem" button doesn't even show up. Does anyone know if it does for Sprint service? Thank you for any help and thanks for posting this hub. I have been wondering if I could use my blackberry as a modem.

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      Hey there Ryan, I would assume that as long as the data plan you have is listed as unlimited and has no data usage cap, then you should be fine. BUT!! I would 100% recommend that you call T-Mobile customer care and ask them AND take the persons name and the time and date you called. I have seen some HUGE bills for assuming...

    • profile image

      Ryan G 7 years ago

      Hey this is Ryan here. I had just tried this on my blackberry curve on t-mobile. I have the normal $10 data plan on my blackberrry and just intered the right APN for the regular $10 data plan and it connected me as a modem. Do you think I will be charged extra since I have a regular phone unlimited data plan and not a blackberry data plan?

    • OregonWino profile image
      Author

      OregonWino 7 years ago

      BUMP!!!