Deal: Turn a $30 Prepaid Nokia 3555 Into $1/day 3G Mobile Broadband Card

We’ve found the cheapest (and prepaid) mobile broadband card in America. And, we’re going to tell you how to lock it in.

Really, it boils down to three simple steps. The Nokia 3555 is now available on T-Mobile Prepaid for only $29.99. It’s their first 3G prepaid phone. And, it’s no secret that the $1/day Sidekick Prepaid (unlimited data) plan works with any phone. Combined with the FCC legalizing phone as modem on data plans (don’t shoot the messenger, T-Mobile), you’ve got $1/day mobile broadband tethering.

Here’s how to do it. It’s really no different than using an iPhone on the Sidekick Data Plan:

1) Buy the Nokia 3555 from T-Mobile Prepaid.
2) When you get the phone, follow these steps on our Phone Encyclopedia.
3) Tether the phone like any other phone over Bluetooth or USB.

Now you’re paying $1/day for 3G-powered, UMTS-driven mobile broadband. Enjoy.

Christopher Price is the Founding Editor of Today, he leads the team building Console, Inc. - a new kind of Android™ device. He still likes to pontificate... a lot. You can visit his personal blog at

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22 responses to “Deal: Turn a $30 Prepaid Nokia 3555 Into $1/day 3G Mobile Broadband Card”

  1. Dans

    Step 4) Buy any garden variety cheap HSDPA modem off ebay and do the same, but faster than 3G.

  2. Dans

    PS. This phone is 3G, not HSDPA.

    And you wonder why they say journalism is dead. :rolleyes:

  3. SaltyDawg

    Cricket also has unlimted prepaid data for $1 per day. They have EVDO, and will activate any CDMA phone you can flash to their network.

  4. Chris Benard

    So Chris,

    What would be the speed from this if it’s not HSDPA? Does T-Mobile roam for free on any networks (AT&T?)? T-Mobile coverage around here sucks.


  5. celz

    dam i hate when ignorant people try to tell someone how to do his job. i swear i dont go to websites that i dont like, why these haters come and talk shit about how much they hate a site is beyond me. at least get a clue about what the hell your talking about before you call yourself correcting somebody.

  6. Chris Benard

    Chris, that’s interesting. That seems pretty slow. I have already jailbroken my iPhone 3G (not s), so I probably just need to do the PDANet tethering. I just don’t want to get nailed by AT&T, so I’m not doing the tethering hack, since I don’t know how they are/will be charging for that.

    Also, it’s not $1/day USED like typical prepaid, after I read everything. So basically your charge is going to be $28-$31/month. I was so excited about it, because I thought it was only on the days you used it. 🙁 I’d do the Virgin prepaid card, but it’s on Sprint’s network, and I switched from Sprint to AT&T because of the coverage issue in rural areas I visit (family and gf’s family).

    Thanks for the article though.

  7. Christopher Price

    AT&T can’t tell who is using the tethering hack. It forces data to go through the standard APN. Even if you exceed 5 GB, they can’t charge you.

    I know I’ve noted AT&T breaking the law (re: Material Change Disputers being sent to debt collectors), but I haven’t seen a single instance of a tetherer getting charged on iPhone (or any other data-plan device).

    The Sidekick Prepaid plan is billed daily, regardless of how much data you use (0KB up to 10GB). However, you can alleviate that by going to and turning the plan off. You can turn the Sidekick Plan on or off daily… so if you know you won’t use it for a few days, turning it off at will save you a few bucks.

  8. Chris Benard

    Oh, I didn’t know it forced the same APN. What about when AT&T enables this functionality themselves. What will happen then?

    So just using the mobile config for AT&T at will allow tethering through iTunes or Bluetooth with no extra charges? That sounds awesome.

  9. Christopher Price

    When AT&T enables the functionality, a plan change will be detected, and AT&T will either “push” an APN change, or there will be a protocol for iTunes to update its carrier configuration file. The carrier config file can force tethering on, though Apple patched that in iTunes, so you have to use a web-generated CCF.

    This may be partly why AT&T is lagging on getting tethering plans out there. Their billing system has to interact with iTunes or push the right strings to the device, to unlock tethering. Really, all this is just to check a box in a plist file… it’s nowhere near as secure as CDMA carriers which have their own NAI for tethering, which eventually will make it easy to spot people “abusing” data.

    Edit: GSM purists would argue that the right backend/HLR configuration would provide as much validity as NAI on CDMA, but it’s really a moot point. Anyone who wants to can jailbreak the device and flow data through the regular login… just like the FCC said it was legal for consumers to hack away at.

    Of course, I’m using the term abuse in the carrier’s eyes, but you get the idea…

    Yes, that mobile config file will work (again, you have to use the web generators, as the iTunes upload path no longer works… iTunes knows to reject the files from the iPhone Configuration Utility that have tethering enabled). I would expect Apple to draw ire from the carriers though, so iPhone OS 3.1 may block that route eventually. Jailbreaking will still get around it though, probably.

    Second Edit: And no, an iTunes Sync doesn’t break the hack. iTunes isn’t smart enough to check to see that you have a hacked CCF installed. It’s just smart enough to prevent someone from dragging-and-dropping CCFs onto the iTunes icon. Why they stopped there, and didn’t implement what I just described to block the web generators, I have no idea. Maybe Apple is tired of putting up with AT&T’s lag, maybe they want to appease the savvy hackers to keep them from defecting to Android/Symbian.

  10. chad

    is this nokia/ tether 3G idea fast enough to run an online application like skype or another VoIP service or would it likely be too slow of a signal?

  11. DC

    Anybody having problems using the sidekick plan, it seems to be down at least the data part, evreything else works im using it on my iphone 3g

  12. cubara

    its dead now. see t-mobile’s official twitter account

  13. cubara

    Just to be clear, the above comment is in reply to DC and for using the Iphone with the prepaid sidekick plan. Not sure if it affects any other phones.

  14. cubara

    ok, yeah it does look like they have pull the plug on non-sidekick phones using the prepaid sidekick plan for data.

  15. T-Mobile Pulls Plug on Non-Sidekick Prepaid Data |

    […] Following our coverage last week, where we broke ground on how to (legally) use the Nokia 3555 as a mobile broadband card on T-Mobile Sidekick Prepaid, T-Mobile has decided to shut down all access to non-Sidekick devices […]

  16. Ike D

    Thanks for ruining it for everyone. Really, thanks.

  17. josh

    I have a blackjack II with unlimited internet, how can i “tether” my phone to give my laptop internet. (I cant afford to buy the card rite now) im not too good with computers so if it is possible, step by step instructions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time and help,

  18. josh

    Oh yeah, I have AT&T


  19. SaltyDawg

    Go here:

    Install wmwifi router. It will allow you to tether your phone to your computer using either bluetooth, USB cable, or WiFi (assuming your phone has any or all of those).