Getting Movistar Peru ZTE MF193 work in Debian GNU/Linux

After so many attempts to have my shiny Movistar Peru (Internet Móvil) 3G ZTE MF193 modem to work out-of-the-box in Debian jessie (unstable) with NetworkManager, the word frustration was hitting on my head. Even trying to do the right thing, led me to craziness. I gave up on fanzines and decided to take the old-school route. Release wvdial and friends!

Trying different combinations for wvdial.conf was no heaven for sure, but I’ve found this wonderful guide from Christian Amsüss from Vienna, Austria! that really made a difference. Of course he’s talking about the model MF180 but you get the idea. So I’m sharing what was different for the MF193.

Basically, I’ve done the eject and disable CD-ROM thing already, but still no progress. I’ve also tried using wvdial to send AT commands to the evasive /dev/ttyUSBX device. Starting from scratch confirmed that I’ve done such things properly indeed. I was amused by the fact that I could use screen to talk to the modem! (yo, all the time wasted trying to have minicom and friends play nice)

So, let’s get to the point. After following this procedure, you should be able to use NetworkManager to connect to the Interwebs using the 3G data service from Movistar Peru.

  1. Step 1 – follow the guide
  2. Step 2 – Here I had to use /dev/ttyUSB4
  3. Step 3 – follow the guide
  4. Unplug your USB modem
  5. Plug your USB modem. This time you should see only /dev/ttyUSB{0,1,2} and /dev/gsmmodem should be missing (not sure if this is a bug). Now /dev/ttyUSB2 is your guy.
  6. Step 4 – use /dev/ttyUSB2
  7. Run wvdial from CLI – it should connect successfully.
  8. Stop wvdial
  9. Select the Network icon on GNOME3, click on the Mobile Broadband configuration you have, if not create one.
  10. Voilá. Happy surfing!

I’m pasting my wvdial.conf, just in case.

[Dialer Defaults]
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB2
Username = movistar@datos
Password = movistar
APN = movistar.pe
Phone = *99#
Stupid Mode = 1
Init2 = AT+CGDCONT=4,"IP","movistar.pe"
  • Aleksander Morgado

    Ok, so I think you did completely unrelated things to get the thing working. First, your initial problem was likely the lack of a proper usb_modeswitch rule to get rid of the builtin drive. Next, you should have just tried using ModemManager along with NetworkManager. Actually, you say you ended up launching a wvdial script and then connect through GNOME’s UI, yet that is impossible :) What likely happened is that once you got the drive unmounted you got the proper AT ports to play with, and ModemManager started to play with them right away, which is why you could see the mobile broadband connection icons in gnome-shell. So, all the wvdial stuff was totally unnecessary.

    If you have problems getting modems detected by NM/MM, get ModemManager debug logs, and report the issue to the ModemManager mailing list in freedesktop.org… that is actually “the right thing” to do ;)

    Cheers!

  • http://stone-head.org Rudy Godoy

    yo, I don’t know what you are talking about.