Idea NetSetter GPRS/EDGE USB modem connection in India

Idea NetSetter
Mac OS X Network settings for Idea NetSetter 1
Mac OS X Network settings for Idea NetSetter 2
Mac OS X Network settings for Idea NetSetter 3

The AirTel GPRS (EDGE) service on my iPhone that I wrote about earlier is working well but a little slow. Something like 60 Kbit/s down and 40 Kbit/s up at best. For Twitter and some e-mail on the iPhone it’s ok but when connecting a MacBook via tethering it’s to slow.

I checked out some of the 3G offers like Reliance NetConnect and Tata Photon+ and they are about the same price as similar services in Europe. People tell me they work great, when you have coverage. Here in Kerala, only Trivandrum and Cochin has the service at all from what I can tell and even there the coverage is not stellar.

The shop staff recommended Idea NetSetter instead. Slower that the 3G options but very good coverage. Idea GPRS (EDGE) has higher capacity than AirTel I was told, and that is indeed the case.

With Idea Netsetter I get 200 Kbit/s down and 40 Kbit/s up most of the time, quite decent for a EDGE connection. This is actually a bit better than the shop staff said I should expect.

The initial cost of Idea Netsetter (prepaid) is 2490 Rs (€37) and for unlimited use you then pay 600 Rs. (€9) per month. The initial cost includes the Huawei EG612 USB Modem and a SIM card.

There are some software on the USB modem itself but with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard I needed to get the latest drivers from Huawei, MobileConnectDriver (version 4.16.00.00 as of this writing).

See the screenshots for necessary settings in System Preference -> Network. Sorry for the Swedish but everything is in the same places in all languages so you can work it out. It is the service “HUAWEIMobile-Modem” you should use.

Being used to borderline imbecile staff at mobile shops in Europe it was a pleasant surprise to find staff in India that really know what they are selling. I might have gotten lucky but at this randomly chosen shop I got good information about the difference between advertised speed and real world speed, price and coverage information etc.

BSNL 3G service is launching in Kerala this month, January 2010 covering 21 cities in Kerala. Next time I will get a 3G connection :-).

P.S When you as a tourist want to signup for mobile services in India you need to bring one photo and your passport. Best is to in advance have copies made of main page of the passport, the India visa page and the entry stamp page. Some mobile services is only available for people with a permanent Indian address.