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The PC and I

You have to wonder why bother connecting your mobile phone to your PC so you can get the Internet, surely it must be more expensive, and really only suit people who are on the move all the time. Well the truth is that the price of dial-up Internet has been knocked up so much and is so expensive, that what would normally be a more expensive medium, ie mobile GPRS / EDGE / 3G is in fact way cheaper, and yet we get told years back that trunk calls are subsidising local calls which are way too cheap, this in my opinion is one of the biggest lies I have ever heard. Anyway the reason why it is cheaper to use a mobile service here is that currently you do not have to pay an ISP charge(normally R45 – 80 a month) you do not have to pay for a fixed line phone service (nearly R 120,00 a month without making one call) and you only pay for that data that you use, not the time spent, and talking of time, you are not subject to this callmore curfew BS – Also Virginmobile can give you pre-paid data access at 50 cents a meg, the bottom line is that you should be able to get by on anything for 15 – 50 Rand a month

A lot of mobile phones these days can connect to the Internet via WAP – they can also be used as modems and connect the PC to the Internet, this can either be done with either USB or Bluetooth. As with most things in life, there are a few things that you need to look into. Firstly what operating system the computer has, some of the software for the phones will not work with older versions of Windows, like Windows 98 or Millennium for example. Motorola phone Tools 4 works fine with Windows 98 and Windows XP and 2000 - Samsung PC Suite 3 however is designed to start running on Windows 2000 (SP4) and XP – putting this into perspective, an old P1 computer with 32 Meg of RAM will run fine with Windows 98 and a Motorola V360 – but will not work with a Samsung e250 because it would need at least Windows 2000 also the chance of it running nicely or up-grading the P1 are not that good - If you are going to be using an old PC and need a USB port for either the USB cable or Bluetooth dongle, you might want to have a look at the repair tips

Next is cable and Software, does the phone come with software or do you have to buy it, is it going to cost less to get a Bluetooth dongle or a USB cable – Which leads us to the pros and cons of Bluetooth vs. USB Both work fine, Bluetooth is a cordless connection and works with a Bluetooth dongle that is inserted into a USB port, basically it can normally work around the house, a USB connection has to be physically connected to the phone via a USB cable which normally can be more than five metres in distance, it has the advantage of being able to charge the phone while connected, but repeated plugging in a cable will cause wear in the power plug – It is always better to be informed of what your options are and then make your decision from there, for example if you have a phone that you use daily and take it with you, perhaps the Bluetooth option is better, if you have a phone that has a broken display or faulty battery maybe the USB cable would be better

Once in a blue Moon – most bluetooth dongles come with a software disk, the software falls into two parts, normally they will have Blue Soleil which is for connecting older systems via bluetooth, for example Windows 98 – Programs like Samsung PC Suite and Nokia Suite do not like to work with Blue Soleil, do not load this software in Windows XP – rather insert the dongle and when the PC asks to load software tell it to look on the Bluetooth disk, this will then install the dongle into the Windows Control Panel, and therefore into the Windows system. From there you can set-up if needed a Bluetooth DUN (Dial Up Networking) modem – This might be needed if you run your software and it says that no modem was found

It would be impossible to go through the ins and outs of every phone and system, sometimes you have to go boldly and find out what few have done before, even if it means going though posts on message boards, in the hope that someone out there has the answer and perhaps the time and kindness to post it, but yes, sometimes you have to go out there, on the Internet and look for a solution. If you look on the Links page you will find some sites that might help you. Take setting up your Samsung phone for Virginmobile for example, some versions of PC Suite will only list CellC Vodacom and MTN as ISPs – the problem is that the APN for these three are Internet, whereas the APN for Virginmobile is vdata – So what you do is have a look at what the dial up string is for South Africa Vodacom, write it down, then select Other Country, this will then you to type in vdata into the APN box and then you just need to type in the dial up string and away you go

This is something that you have to remember when you are setting up other phones for Virginmobile, you have to change the APN to vdata – with Motorola phone tools once you have established the dial-up you would need to right click on the Internet Icon of the phone on display, goto properties, right click on the ISP link, again goto properties, click on the Identification tab and change the APN to vdata

Other pros and Cons – what about those 3G modems – Well I have to say they work nicely, but there are somethings that you have to look out for. Most of them you have to sign a two year contract and you get the modem free. All the bundles that you can buy tell you that you can get your data at better than normal prices, as I recall some were saying that it was about 28 cents a meg - With MTN it appears that it is a case of lose or use, if you have a 500 meg deal and you use all your data before month end, you are cut off, if you do not use all of it, it is not carried over to the next month – The Vodacom contract on the other hand does let you go over your data limit, but by doing so you then pay extra data rates which from what I have seen can be as much as R 1,80 a meg – I personally know of one business that got a bill of an extra seven thousand Rand for going over their monthly allowance. It looks rather like this, with Virginmobile you pay for what you get, what you use, what you do not use is waiting for you next month – MTN seems to be like the Merchant of Venice and the pound of flesh, what you do not use does not roll over... Vodacom seems to be danger to those that do not know or are not aware

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