Saturday, October 19, 2013

unlock network blocked dongles to use any sim card from any operator using linux

Do you have any dongle bought from any operator who blocked the dongle to the particular operator/network?

sinhala translation is available at ලිනක්ස් මගින් ඩොංගල් අන්ලොක් කරමු.

if you are in a hurry and don't like to read the whole article, simply go to the bottom of the article to know how the dongle could be unlocked.

Reasons to network/operator block the dongle from using the SIM cards from other operators.
  • To stop using a sim card from another operator who is a competitor of the operator
  • to keep the customer with one operator. it will help to earn more money while keeping the customer with the particular operator. 
  • customer can't switch to another operator with the network blocked dongle because the dongle doesn't accept the sim card from any new operator than the network blocked operator.

Reasons to unlock the dongle
  • to switch to a new operator because the new operator would provide more efficient and economical packages to the customer
  • coverage/signal problems to some places of the country. 
  • customer service of the operator is unsatisfactory
Be careful
  • most of the dongles comes with a warranty for some period of time. that warranty would be avoid if the dongle is unlocked.
  • if the dongle is provided at low cost or on an agreement with the operator, it would be violating the agreement with the operator. sometimes some operators provide the dongles with the packages with the agreements. so, unlocking or using another sim card or package form another operator could be illegal. 
  • user will have to pay for the dongle if canceling the agreement.
After all you would need to switch to another operator due to any reason and if you had to buy another dongle to be used with the new operator, never buy an another dongle, try to use the old dongle while buying a suitable broadband or 3g plan from the new operator. don't throw out the old network blocked dongle because it would cost your hard earn money and would pollute the environment.

I'm using a linux (openSuse) operating system in my Laptop and I encourage other to use Linux on their computers. My dongle had cost me a sum of LKR 7829.99 on December 2009 (with one year warranty) without any plan or agreement but it has blocked to a mobile network operator from using another sim from other operators. Still I'm satisfied with the network but I needed to unlock the dongle for a fun because I needed to know is it could be done by my own.

Now I would explain how to unlock the network blocked dongle to be used with another operator.

First of all you need to know the IMEI number of your dongle. then you could find the unlock code using a web site in the internet. I used a web site on this url to get the unlock code for my dongle. ( )

then I installed "minicom" to unlock the dongle using my laptop.
simply the linux package manager helps to install the "minicom" using the graphical way. but there's the text mode as well.

on ubuntu or debian based systems open the terminal and type
sudo apt-get install minicom

on redhat or fedora based systems (yum installer) open the terminal and type
su yum install minicom

on redhat or fedora based systems (yum installer) open the terminal and type
su zypper install minicom

then we need to find the place which the dongle is mounted. most of the cases ttyUSB0 will be the place which identifies the dongle.
  • "tail -f /var/log/syslog" on debian based systems or 
  • "tail -f /var/log/messages" on rpm based systems 
as superuser/su to check whether the ttyUSB0 is the port which dongle attached. unplug and plug the dongle after running the command to find the port easily.

open the "terminal"
log in as root/super user using "sudo" (debian/ubuntu) or "su" (rpm) in terminal

minicom -s

will open a window like

then select "serial port setup"

type "A" in front of the "Change which setting?" to change the port attached the dongle
change /dev/ttyS1 to the port which your dongle is attached. /dev/ttyUSB0 is for mine

type "E" in front of the "Change which setting?" to change the Bps/Par/Bits

type "C" in front of "Choice, or <enter> to exit. it will select 9600 for current speed.
press "enter" to exit from the menu

then it will show a window like

Press "esc" to go to previous/main menu

select "modem and dialing"

it will initialize the modem. don't worry any message didn't come. then select exit from main menu

then the window will go off and will show command line to unlock the dongle
then type the command to unlock the dongle.


command should be in capital/uppercase letters and the 12345678 should be replaced with the code you got for the IMEI  of your dongle. unlock code should be within double quotes " and ". then press enter to continue.
it should show a message like "OK" or something if you done properly.


you've done.

then insert SIM card (from previously blocked operator) in to the dongle and use it.

thank you Girobiro's blog for the article about "Unlock 3G USB Dongles in Linux" helping me to get an idea how to unlock my dongle.


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    Blogger සහ WordPress බ්ලොග් අඩවි සදහා එම අඩවියේ URL එක සහ බ්ලොග් එකෙහි නම ලබාදුන් සැනින් ස්වයංක්‍රියව සින්ඩිය හා ඇමුණුම සිදුවේ.
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    ඇඩ්මින් - විකසිත සින්ඩිය. (

  2. Thanks for giving information.
    It's really amazing method.
    Before read this blog,I unlocked my modem by network unlock code with help of I never had any problem.