Saturday, January 3, 2009

Android DEV-1 Phone using "T-Mobile VPN" APN

I just received my Android DEV phone in the mail and discovered it's a bit tricky to set up without purchasing the special service plan that T-Mobile wants you to buy at around $40/month. Unfortunately you CAN NOT setup your android phone without first logging in and syncing to a google account. This requires a working 3G data service out of the box.

(I have the "T-Mobile VPN" service which provides a routeable IP instead of a natted one.)

Turns out, the phone works just fine on their older unlimited data plans, albeit at 2G speeds (GMRS). I'm happy with that because I just want the same level of surfing capability I had with my old Motorola Z8.

There was the problem of the setup. To get it to work, I did the following:

  1. Added the "T-Mobile VPN" APN to the list of apns (which you can do from the initial-setup screen)

  2. Booted the phone with my wife's Google enabled SIM card

  3. Logged in with my google account

  4. Switched on 2G only mode (I don't think that this is necessary)

  5. Rebooted with my sim card

  6. Deleted the US 3G APNs from the list

The catch is that without removing the 3G APNs it will still try to use those to connect to the internet. Not a good thing because that only leads you to a captive portal by T-Mobile offering to upgrade your service.

Now I get the data service I like (and pay for), on the device I want.
Now to see about this developer kit.


  1. APN, not VPN in your title. VPN on Android is something a lot of people are after.

  2. Sorry for the confusion, I mean VPN. T-Mobile has a service they call "T-Mobile VPN", it's a better version of their unlimited internet service, but it's not 3G. I've edited the test to clarify this. I have another post where I comment on the status of VPN support on the android.

  3. [...] most of 2009, I’ve been happily using my T-Mobile VPN service on my new phone, however as of this month T-Mobile has decided to BLOCK my device from their end [...]