T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot unlock

Some poking at a T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot that I was given over the weekend.

ZTE-drivers

According to the wisdom of Google, DC-unlocker is the weapon of choice for unlocking the ZTE modems, the latest version available was (dc-unlocker_client-1.00.1125.exe).

For correct ZTE modem detection, please plug modem with invalid operator SIM inserted. Wait till software starts the modem, close ZTE software and then you can detect modem with DC-Unlocker

Having installed the drivers and running an auto detect we get the following;

===================================================================
DC - Unlocker 2 Client 1.00.1125

Detecting modem :

selection :
manufacturer - ZTE modems
model - Auto detect (recommended)

Found Applications port COM8
Found Diagnostics port COM7

Found modem         : T-MOBILE 4G MOBILE HOTSPOT
Model               : T-MOBILE 4G MOBILE HOTSPOT
IMEI                : xxxx
Firmware            : BD_MF61V1.0.1B04
Compile date / time : Oct 15 2012 15:36:40
Chipset             : Qualcomm MSM8200A
SIM Lock status     : Locked (Card Lock)
===================================================================

SIM Lock status : Locked (Card Lock)

Having identified the modem, let’s try to unlock it.

===================================================================
Enabling ZTE diagnostic port ... OK
Restarting modem ... OK
Diagnostic port successfully enabled !
Done!
===================================================================
Unlocking, please wait ... 
No username !
Error code 63
unlock failed !
===================================================================

No such luck. Error 63 means you do not have username and password. You get username and password after you buy credits. (cost for operation)
#493 Unlock T-MOBILE 4G MOBILE HOTSPOT = 7 credits (€7.00 EUR)

===================================================================
Enabling ZTE diagnostic port ... OK
Restarting modem ... OK
Diagnostic port successfully enabled !
Done!
===================================================================
Unlocking, please wait ... 
Modem successfully unlocked !
Credits left : 0
===================================================================

So far so good.

===================================================================
Detecting modem :

selection :
manufacturer - ZTE modems
model - Auto detect (recommended)

Found Applications port COM8
Found Diagnostics port COM7

Found modem         : T-MOBILE 4G MOBILE HOTSPOT
Model               : T-MOBILE 4G MOBILE HOTSPOT
IMEI                : xxxx
Firmware            : BD_MF61V1.0.1B04
Compile date / time : Oct 15 2012 15:36:40
Chipset             : Qualcomm MSM8200A
SIM Lock status     : unlocked
===================================================================

SIM Lock status : unlocked

This unlocked the modem (removed the SIM locked message at any rate), unfortunately the modem loaded with a Telstra NextG SIM sits there with a “Searching…” message without locating a cell which I suspect means that the modem in its current configuration is not using Australian/Telstra frequencies.

What frequencies?
Telstra’s “4G” branded LTE is a network running on 1800MHz, this is the frequency that the European providers can use but it’s not the frequency used by LTE providers in the US and being a US product we strike out on the 4G/LTE. Telstra uses 850MHz for its 3G “NextG” so we miss out here as well. Telstra adding 900MHz and even 700Mhz to its 4G offering doesn’t help us out with this product.

* ZTE MF61 4G hotspot Chipset : Qualcomm MSM8200A
GSM/GPRS: 1900MHz;UMTS: Band IV (1700/2100) GSM/EDGE/WCDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA/HSPA+

compared with

* Telstra ZTE MF60 Chipset: not known
GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz; HSDPA/HSUPA/UMTS 850/1900/2100 MHz

* ZTE MF80 Chipset: MDM8220
GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz; DC-HSPA+/HSPA+/HSUPA/HSDPA/UMTS: 2100/1700(1900)/850(900)MHz

So at the moment we have an unlocked 4G Hotspot that can be used in the USA.
Next Step? Let’s see if we can get replacement firmware onto the unit give us access to 1800MHz, although I suspect that this may be a chipset limitation (TBC)

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