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Thread: Tablet plan with unlocked 3g modems

  1. #1
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    Tablet plan with unlocked 3g modems

    So It is obviously possible as a number of posts on the forum mention, but I am looking for some more details.

    Firstly, I'm looking for plans for 50 USB modems. I need a very small amount of data (under 500mb), I've checked with Telus and Bell and they both insist that their $30, 500mb plan is the best they can do even in quantity even when I am willing to buy outright the USB modems or bring my own unlocked ones!

    That's clearly BS when anyone can go buy an iPad plan for $15 for 250mb at Bell or $20 for 500mb plan at Telus. They are telling me that even though I want 50 and I have my own devices, it will still be $30 each ...

    Anyway, so this is obviously where the iPad plans come in. I know about the particular APNs for Bell and Telus (pda2 and isp respectively), but I am concerned about activation and IMEI tracking. I am willing to pick up an ipad or android tablet (preferable for the regular SIM cards) so I can activate the cards on device. But can I activate the cards on this device (one after the other), set them up to autorenew the data and then transfer them to my unlocked modems (don't have them yet so I can get any modems that will work)? Or do I have to register them to the specific IMEI of the modems, and if so, how can I do that (they are pretty persistent on activating on device now)

    I fooled around with running an Android Emulator on XP, loading the marketplace and downloading the bell app, and connecting a usb modem (thinking I could activate them through the emulator with the usb modem imei) but them usb modem didn't show up.

    Anybody have any ideas how to activate this many (and keep them activated)? Can afford to have any white vans showing up after these are in the field. We will eventually need hundreds of small data only plans, so using $15 iPad plans could potentially save us $100's of dollars a month.

    Either way, I don't think the big 3 will be able to keep this up for long. They all offer "Tablet" plans now (not just ipads) and will all the generic android tablets coming out the lines are going to get blurred sooner or later.

  2. #2
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    There a big thread in the modmyi forums on how to do this. The problem for you is that Bell/Telus could implement imei restrictions any time they want (like Rogers). If you have 100's of these units out there, can you handle all of them going dead at the same time for a few days at some point in the future (while you ship new SIM cards out or change account info)?

    Are you talking to a regular consumer Bell mobility rep?

    Talk to your regular Bell business rep and he can put you in touch with the right person in Bell Mobility. Tell them you are willing to go single source on quantity up to say 200, if they can get the price low enough, otherwise you'll go to RFP and they will have to bid against Telus, Rogers, Wind etc

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    Thanks for the input. I will check out the recommended thread.

    You are right, I probably wouldn't be able to handle 100's of these going dead at the same time. It would be a huge pain.

    I approached business departments from Telus, Bell and Rogers back in April on this issue. At the time there was only the iPad (not tablet) plan and it was claimed that Apple wouldn't allow other devices to get this same deal. Obviously with the tablet plans out now this arguement doesn't hold a grain of salt. so they COULD offer this plan if I provided my own modems.

    Perhaps my tablet runs windows? and perhaps it has a build in USB modem from say Huawei. Who are they to say this doesn't qualify for the tablet plan?

  4. #4
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    Problem on Bell is how the Tablet (non iPad) version tracks the data internally. It's different than say being on a mobile internet plan.

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    That's interesting. How so? And how is that a problem? I wold think they track your data on their end, without regard to what it is reporting on my end, be it through a tablet or usb modem.

  6. #6
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    Well I'm doing some reading, and it looks like if you use the pda2.bell.ca APN, it may actually work properly. I may test it out tomorrow.

  7. #7
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    Just called Bell Data Care as both a customer and a dealer. Both calls yieleded "if you use a third party tablet, use pda2 APN". So unless they begin filtering IMEI's, which I doubt they will, looks like we're good to go

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    Excellent News. I will run this by my dealer and begin searching for unlocked modems. Please let me know how your tests go.

  9. #9
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    Test wise...everythings working. Billing wise, it's been documented on my account that "3rd party devices can be used with pda2 on this plan".

  10. #10
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    It specifically says "3rd party devices CAN be used with pda2 on this plan"?

    If so I would say that is confirmation that I can go ahead...

  11. #11
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    I just went to bell.ca to check my usage. All 7MB in my test on the stick yesterday were billed as "in plan" and therefore, not chargeable

  12. #12
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    How about the prepaid Bell tablet plan? If I take an unlocked device and put in the pda2 APN, will I be able to get to the activation/renewal/cancel screens relevant for that plan?

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    Any more procedural info on this? Did you have any issues with SIM activation? (i.e. did you need to pre-activate them in a tablet?)

  14. #14
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    I actually have a Bell SIM with tablet plan now even though I haven't bought any data. I posted more info in another thread. Basically:
    - I bought the SIM for $5 at The Source
    - I quietly photographed the About screen of the in-store Tab, so that I'd have the IMEI
    - I had to get on the phone with Bell and activate the SIM on the Tablet plan (no charge), gave them the in-store IMEI, no complaints
    - They directed me to bell.ca/mydataaccount to purchase/activate a data plan - it accepts the SIM number after phone activation
    - I experimented with a few APNs on-device (in my unlocked Telus Milestone) and I'm able to access internal billing pages.

  15. #15
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    After getting shut down at two Bell locations, I tried my local Telus office. I came right out and told the rep I wanted the tablet data plan for my iPhone, which I aim to use as a tablet. They barely flinched. I now have Telus' flexible tablet data plan on my phone without any trickery at all. I doubt all reps or stores would do this (their phone reps also shot me down hard and fast), but this one did.

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