Tether Nokia 5800 as a 3G Modem on Ubuntu

I recently updated my Nokia 5800 XpressMusic to firmware v40.0.005 (also worked perfectly on v50.0.005) and my netbook to Lucid Alpha 3 which reminded me I hadn’t tried using my Nokia with Ubuntu. A friend of mine has a HTC Tattoo which he tethers with Ubuntu 9.10 to connect to the internet anytime, anywhere. My contract with Virgin Mobile includes “Unlimited Internet” so I wondered if I could tether my Nokia 5800 to my Samsung NC10 too.

In short … Yes.

It turned out to be incredibly simple to tether a Nokia 5800 to Ubuntu 10.04

  1. Make sure Modem Manager is installed (sudo apt-get install modemmanager)
  2. Connect the phone via USB to the PC.
  3. Set the Nokia to “PC Suite” mode.
  4. Left click on the Network Manager icon and choose “New Mobile Broadband Connection”.
  5. I then chose the recommended values in the wizard.
  6. Success. I can now choose the “Virgin” entry and I’m online via 3G.

Yet another example of how simple computing with Linux, especially Ubuntu, has become. In fact this post was written and published via the 3G connection as a “proof of concept” use.

As a side note I also recently wiped my netbook clean, I had it dual booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10, to being an Ubuntu only install, I usually wait until the Beta is released before upgrading but I wanted to experience firsthand the re-branding everyone has been talking about on the Planets. I have to say I love it. Fresh. Clean. Professional. It’s certainly come a long way since Breezy.

Update: Added a step to ensure Modem Manager is installed courtesy of info provided by Ralf Hildebrandt below.

  • senthil

    Thanks…. It works perfectly

  • Phil

    working perfectly with my nokia 5800, thank you so much!

  • picsel

    It works with my Nokia 5230, too.

  • That was awesomely easy! Thanks a lot!

    I have a HTC Hero which I’ve used for a long time as a 3g modem now, but it recently stopped working, for some reason.

    So I’m glad I can keep doing the same with my old phone (nokia 5800), though it seems like the speed is pretty slow: around 0.3 mbit vs. the 2 mbit I had when I used my Hero (and which I’m paying for).. Does anyone else have this problem?

  • henry

    muy fácil excelente la ayuda muchas gracias

  • Also works on Fedora 14.

  • Rakesh

    Thanks Mr.Doyle

    This works like a charm. Your tips helped me when I most needed it.


  • Rick

    I would also like to do this but when I called to get information from my wireless provider Cincinnati Bell, they told me that there was an additional $30/month charge! 🙁 Not happy and sure not going to pay that. Does anyone have any information about how I can make this happen without the additional charge. I already have a data plan on my phone. I would just like to use my laptop instead of the nice but small Nokia 5800 screen. 🙂 Thanks, Rick

  • Stephen McKenzie

    To tether via bluetooth in Ubuntu is easy. Install blueman, pair your phone. Right click on the phone in the blueman list and select “Connect to Dial Up Networking”. It then appears as a Mobile Broadband device in NetworkManager.

    • Hi Stephen,
      That works a treat.

  • Pingback: openSUSE 11.2: Nokia 5800 as USB 3G Modem - NetworkManager Solution()

  • Memo

    Resultó ser increíblemente sencilla de Conectar a un Nokia X6 a Ubuntu 10,04

    1. Conecta el teléfono a través de USB al PC.
    2. Ajuste el Telefono Nokia en modo “PC Suite” (cuando aparece el menu en tu telefono).
    3. Izquierda haga clic en el icono de Network Manager y elija “Nueva conexión de banda ancha móvil”.
    4. Elegí los valores recomendados en el asistente ( SI lo haces manual, pide la configuracion a tu proveedor de servicio).
    5. Éxito. Ahora puedo elegir la “Mi Proveedor de servicio” de entrada y estoy online a través de mi Telefono Nokia X6.

    Sin embargo, otro ejemplo de lo sencillo de computación con Linux, Ubuntu en particular, se ha convertido. De hecho, en mi SO predilecto

  • Ed

    Thanks, this was cool! I expected a convoluted and tortuous command-line odyssey to get this going, but was pleasantly surprised to find out it is indeed so easy 🙂

    BTW: I’m in India, carrier is CellOne/BSNL. Connection was terminated a couple of times – maybe low signal – but the procedure certainly works!

    I very much want to tether via Bluetooth, though – the very short USB cable that came with the 5800 makes it a pain if you don’t have a flat surface for laptop and phone 🙁 so off to Google for that, now!


    • Rick

      Do you think the BlueTooth Transfer Rate will be fast enough to support a practicle tether?

      • Hi Rick,
        I’ve used the tethering via Bluetooth several times and didn’t notice any extreme slowness but then again I wasn’t doing any heavy downloading either.

  • @arthur: I found the error in my ways 🙂 Reading http://live.gnome.org/NetworkManager/Debugging
    especially the section “Debugging NetworkManager 0.8.x 3G connections” made me look at ModemManager — which was missing entirely. Well, D’oh!

    sudo apt-get install modemmanager

    and a reboot solved the issue entirely for me.

  • @arthur: Please look at my Ubuntu bug report for this issue and feel free to add details which I might have missed.

  • @arthur: Same error here!

    [212668.760104] usb 1-4: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 8
    [212668.911710] usb 1-4: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
    [212668.913486] cdc_acm 1-4:1.1: ttyACM0: USB ACM device
    [212668.926027] usb 1-4: bad CDC descriptors
    [212668.926260] usb 1-4: bad CDC descriptors
    [212668.930558] cdc_phonet: probe of 1-4:1.10 failed with error -22

  • Arthur

    Hi guys,

    it also worked for me with firmware 40.*** and ubuntu 9.04.

    But today I have got the latest firmware “50.0.005” and I’m using ubuntu 10.04 i386. I got the following dmesg when connecting the mobile via usb:

    [ 6689.565227] usb 1-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 2
    [ 6689.698243] usb 1-3: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
    [ 6690.127216] usbcore: registered new interface driver cdc_ether
    [ 6690.138018] cdc_acm 1-3:1.1: ttyACM0: USB ACM device
    [ 6690.139709] usbcore: registered new interface driver cdc_acm
    [ 6690.141170] cdc_acm: v0.26:USB Abstract Control Model driver for USB modems and ISDN adapters
    [ 6690.146335] usb 1-3: bad CDC descriptors
    [ 6690.146399] usbcore: registered new interface driver rndis_host
    [ 6690.170829] NET: Registered protocol family 35
    [ 6690.185160] usb 1-3: bad CDC descriptors
    [ 6690.185265] usbcore: registered new interface driver rndis_wlan
    [ 6690.190271] cdc_phonet: probe of 1-3:1.10 failed with error -22
    [ 6690.190315] usbcore: registered new interface driver cdc_phonet

    What are your experience with firmware 50 and ubuntu 10.04?

  • Just tried this with ubuntu 10.04 – worked flawlessly with my t-mobile n5800

  • Have you had any luck tethering via Bluetooth?

    • Richard, I haven’t tried it via Bluetooth but I must give it a try and see.

  • Joe

    Can’t believe how easy that was. I have ATT and it worked first time.

  • Paul-cyt

    Yeah! Worked for me. My Nokia 5800 was a t-mobile but changed it to standard nokia using a tool. Firmware is 40.0.005 and Ubuntu 9.10 64bit

    Cannot believe how simple that was thankyou!