iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Smartone-Vodafone

Many of you know that I was in North America this past two weeks and was also in New York City.

While at NYC I spent some time at the 5th Ave. Apple Store gaining some hands on experience with the iPhone. This was the first time I saw the iPhone in person and played with its applications and Multitouch interface. I will talk more about this in a separate post.

Getting back to the topic in question. While in NYC last week much had transpired regarding the unlocking (release of the lock down of the iPhone to the AT&T carrier). End of last month iPhone SIM Free announced that they had a software to unlock the iPhone from AT&T iron fist. They said that they will be selling the software on a per user (iPhone) license within a few days. Weeks had past and no announcements.All of a sudden last Sunday iPhone SIM Free announced 4 resellers for their software and on Monday this past week the resellers started to sell the software within hours the pre-order were full and Tuesday was when the iPhone SIM Free resellers started to fulfill their pre-orders.

Then Tuesday evening there was news of the Internet that the iPhone SIM Free software had been hacked. On Wednesday morning news of a verified OpenSource hack was spreading throughout the iPhone hacker community. On that same afternoon a beta application to unlock the iPhone had been made available. Later that evening written guides for people to follow start to appear. I personally like the guide by ModMyiPhone.com.

I told this to my friends back in Hong Kong and one of them asked me to get an iPhone for them and unlock it using the OpenSource method.

I was very excited to have the opportunity to try the hack, while at the same time a bit worry that I will create a USD400+ iPhone Brick if the hack fails.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get a clear WiFi signal from the hotel room and none of the Starbucks had free WiFi access and requires the patrons to be T-Mobile customers.

I even attempted to use the WiFi network at the 5th Ave. Apple Store, but the signal was too weak from the street level. I thought setting up my MacBook Pro and a brand new iPhone, to hack the iPhone using Apple’s WiFi network was going a bit too far.

So, I had to give up and hope for the best when I return to Hong Kong with the brand new iPhone.

Tonight I got off the plane and as soon as I had unpacked and clean up, I attempted the hack. It was amazing aside from having to change my home WiFi network’s channel, I did not have any other problems with the hack.

Within 45 minutes I had an iPhone on the Smartone-Vodafone network. Made a test call and then used the Edge network to connect to the Internet.

As far as I know this is the first published unlock hack of an iPhone in Hong Kong using the pure software (free) method, without reprograming the SIM card or opening up the iPhone itself.

[Update: October 3, 2007]
The above described hack was done on a Macintosh, running Mac OS 10.4.10, iTunes 7.4.1, iPhone firmware 1.0.2, iNdependence 1.2.1a and the “iUnlock” application from iPhone Dev Team dated September 12, 2007.

[Update: October 4, 2007]
For all those who are trying to get their EDGE connection working, please check out either Ross Barkman’s GPRS Info page or ModMyiPhone’s “Carrier APN Settings” page for assistance. If the carrier you’re trying to connect is not listed on the ModMyiPhone Wiki page, please do your part to add to the list.

[Update: October 4, 2007]
I am happy to confirm that I was able to synchronize successfully an unlocked iPhone to iTunes 7.4.2 running on the Macintosh.

[Update: October 5, 2007]
All, especially those thinking of switching to Smartone-Vodafone.

I believe that some of the sales people at the stores are now telling customers that the “Internet Browsing Plan” is for 3G Voice Plan customers only. This is based on feedback from others who have spoken to Smartone-Vodafone.

I personally have a 3G Voice Plan from a previous phone, so the question never came up. I will try to confirm this at a store this afternoon.

One other thing is relating to the so called “extra features” that Smartone-Vodafone is offering for extra fees are not worth it. Do not fall into the trap. Also be aware of their “Fair Use” policy to avoid violating any of their policies.

[Update: October 23, 2007]
Instead of my readers having to scroll down to the comments below or email me about the following must have knowledge about hacking your iPhone. I will post it here for all:

  • Activate the Voicemail button so that it calls your carrier’s Voicemail service.
    Prior to doing this hack you will need to know the code to dial from your own mobile phone to access your carrier’s Voice Mail service.For example, Smartone-Vodafone in Hong Kong, the code is “138” to reach the Voicemail from your OWN mobile phone.

    1. Go to the Phone button;
    2. Click on the Keypad button;
    3. Type the command: *5005*86*XXX#
      • where “XXX” is the access code for your carrier’s Voice Mail service. In my example, I will enter “138” in place of the “XXX”;
      • if your carrier’s Voice Mail service has a number in the format *XXX, then you should enter the command *5005*86+XXX# instead.
    4. Click on the Call button.
  • Determine the firmware version of your iPhone straight out of the box from Apple before any hacking, activation or unlocking.
    1. Go to the Phone button;
    2. Click on the Keypad button;
    3. Type the command: *3001#12345#*
      to enter the Field Test mode;
    4. Select the Version item

    The following are the definitions of the “Firmware version” values:

    • 1.0.0 firmware has the modem firmware version 03.12.06_G
    • 1.0.1 firmware has the modem firmware version 03.12.08_G
    • 1.0.2 firmware has the modem firmware version 03.14.08_G
    • 1.1.1 firmware has the modem firmware version 04.01.13_G
    • 1.1.2 firmware has the modem firmware version 04.02.13_G
    • 1.1.3 firmware has the modem firmware version 04.03.13_G
    • 1.1.4 firmware has the modem firmware version 04.04.05_G
    • 2.0 firmware has the modem firmware version 04.05.04_G (all 1st generation iPhone stays at this modem firmware)
    • 2.0 firmware has the modem firmware version 01.45.00
    • 2.0.1 firmware has the modem firmware version 01.48.02
    • 2.0.2 firmware has the modem firmware version 02.08.01
    • 2.1 firmware has the modem firmware version 02.11.07
    • 2.2 firmware has the modem firmware version 02.28.00
    • 2.2.1 firmware has the modem firmware version 02.30.03
    • 3.0 firmware has the modem firmware version 04.26.08
    • 3.0.1 firmware has the modem firmware version 04.26.08
    • 3.1 firmware has the modem firmware version 05.11.07
    • 3.1.2 firmware has the modem firmware version 05.11.07

[Update: November 21, 2007]
On November 12, the German courts ruled against T-Mobile and issued an injunction preventing T-Mobile from selling Apple iPhones requiring a 2 years contract. The injunction also prevents T-Mobile from selling Apple iPhones with the so called “SIM lock” that prevents users from switching the Apple iPhone to any other carriers.

This evening T-Mobile announced that they will be selling the Apple iPhone for EUR999.00 without a 2 years contract and continues to sell the Apple iPhone for EUR399 with a 2 years contract commitment. In addition T-Mobile will remove the SIM lock for any customers who wishes, including any customers who previously purchased the Apple iPhone from them.

This is all quite interesting. As there is now official “unlocked Apple iPhones” in the market. What will the iPhone hacking community do? Will they stop their continue unlock hack of the iPhone?

Last week the iPhone firmware 1.1.2 had been unlocked for iPhones with firmware 1.0.2 and 1.1.1, but not brand new out-of-the-box iPhones with firmware 1.1.2.

May be the iPhone hacking community can work on jailbreaking future iPhone firmwares and continue allowing unauthorized 3rd party native application on the iPhone. Hold on a sec… Apple will be doing the same in the coming February.

I guess the work and efforts of the iPhone Hacking community had succeeded. With the helps of various courts (first the French and then German), by Spring of 2008 the iPhone with be officially open to all networks and contains sanctioned 3rd party native applications.

This is another example of people power.

[Update: December 1, 2007]
Sorry for the late posting of my findings regarding the most appropriate package(s) to subscribe to from Smartine-Vodafone.

After one and a half month of use, I have a fairly good idea whether my original proposed “Internet Browsing” and “2G/3G Data” plans are sufficient to allow for the freedom of using the iPhone, without worrying about the amount may be charged for the privilege.

Although these packages are not unlimited usage plans, they do provide enough data (GPRS/EDGE) allowance to cover the typical use of an iPhone. This includes features like: Mail, Stock application, Weather application, YouTube application, web browsing and various 3rd party applications that require Internet access.

These Smartone-Vodafone plans are: the HKD38.00/month “Internet Browsing” and the HKD118.00/month “2G/3G Data” plans; both these are non-commitment/contract prices.

As explained in my previous posting, for some undisclosed reason, the “Internet Browsing” plan does not cover all data usage on the iPhone, therefore one needs to also subscribe to a “2G/3G Data” plan. Otherwise you will be charged a data charge of HKD0.06/kb.

My test last month had me using 5.5MB of additional data usage aside from my “Internet Browsing” plan allowance. If I did not have a “2G/3G Data” plan I will have to pay an additional HKD330.00. If I had the HKD48.00/month “2G/3G Data” plan (the lowest available), I will still have to pay an extra HKD100.00.

Therefore I found the HKD118.00 “2G/3G Data” plan is the most economical choice, while allowing me to use the iPhone without any worries of being charged an extremely high data usage fee.

I hope these findings will help my fellow iPhone users in Hong Kong.

[Update: November 1, 2008]

I have now confirmed that the Internet Browsing plan; now known as IOM plan, indeed only cover HTTP and the corresponding HTTPS traffic. So any web traffic through Mobile Safari on your iPhone and any applications; whether it is downloaded from the Apple AppStore or unauthorized 3rd party, that uses the HTTP Posts and Gets will be covered in the Internet Browsing plan.

Any POP3 traffic will be outside of the Internet Browsing plan allowance and Smartone-Vodafone has a separate POP3 Email monthly plan for HKD30/month. As a result any IMAP or Exchange Push traffic will be count as regular Data traffic. I think this omission of IMAP and Exchange traffic from the Email monthly plan is the wrong thing to do for Smartone-Vodafone. Why would anyone choose POP3 over IMAP or Exchange email is beyond me. Especially when the iPhone is only one of many devices most users will use to access their emails, and definitely not the primary device. I urge Smartone-Vodafone to listen to its customers and change their Email monthly plan.

128 Comments

  1. For the users who have a problem on caller ID .. please install an application called “AppSupport Patch (1.1.4) should solve

    [Edit: Administrator]
    This reader is referring to the unauthorized 3rd-party application found in the Installer application’s “iClarified” section. The iClarified source is a source that is automatically set up if you use ZiPhone to unlock your phone. If you used another method to unlock your phone you can add the source using the following URI: http://installer.iclarified.com

    If you want to install the suggested application, you will need to ensure your iPhone’s firmware is version 1.1.4. If not you should choose the correct version that matches your iPhone’s firmware.

  2. re bootloader, from modmyiphone:

    check your iPhone’s serial number (on the back of the iPhone box). The 4th and 5th number are the week number your iPhone was produced in. (e.g., 7S726107… would be week 26). If that number is 45 or higher, you have the 4.6 BL (boot loader). If its 42 or lower, you have the 3.9 BL. If you’re week 43 or 44, you will need to check further by installing HW Info from Installer

    However … ziphone unlocks all phones now. including those with the 4.6 BL

  3. Hi Keane,

    Not that I do not want to help you, but I really do not recommend you purchase an unlocked iPhone in regular phone retail stores in Hong Kong.

    You can see my comments above as to why.

    For example, I just had two colleagues purchased two unlocked iPhones from a store in Wanchai, and I had to help them redo the jailbreak/unlocking from scratch.

    If you still insist on getting one, the phone store just outside of the Wanchai MTR exist at the corner of O’Brien Rd. and Johnston Rd. had good prices in the past.

    BTW: Please note that the prices of unlocked iPhones are plummeting. Mainly because the retailers are worry that the new iPhone 2.0 firmware will be release soon, and most of all because the unlocking is now so simple many are taking my suggested method of asking a friend to get the iPhone directly from an Apple Store in the US or UK.

    PS: if you are going to get an unlocked iPhone, you should make sure it has the 3.9 bootloader and not the 4.6. Any phone that was Out-of-the-Box 1.1.1 and earlier will have the 3.9 bootloader.

    Unfortunately, it is not easy to determine the bootloader when you purchase, unless you install the Bootloader Info application via the Installer application.

  4. Hi,

    I may be a bit off-topic here but I was wondering if you could tell me where the best place to buy an unlocked iphone is in Hong Kong. Also a guide on prices would be great.

    Many thanks.

  5. Hi,

    I hv upgraded to 1.1.4 and unlocked (BL 3.9). Used ziphone 2.5. Having same problem for app support. But in my case one no from 3 (dualband) comes at 852………. while all others comes as +852……….. . Quite suprizing but not sure how to do? Earlier it was wokring perfrect when i was on 1.1.2. (Hv upgraded my phone from 1.0.2 – 1.1.1. – 1.1.2 – 1.1.3 – 1.1.4)

    Also can not use Ibricker to amend the templates as it does not recognize the phone and asking to “Free the iphone” but i am afraid it may mess up things and i may hv to restore/downgrade/upgrade again.

    Also noticed now that signal strength not so good while others reporting on various website (like iphone atlas) that signal strength was boosted after upgrading.

    Any help??

    Thanks

    Best regards.

  6. Hi Shaky,

    You can try downgrading to 1.1.1 but you will need to virginize. It is quite involved.

    As for the EDGE settings, the iPhone does not have the option to set the Authentication method.

  7. Hi Jason,

    Sorry I don’t understand your question, “I have entered the appropriate APN as advised above. Any recommendations?”.

    Is your EDGE not working either?

  8. The settings say:

    APN address: SmarTone-Vodafone
    Username:
    Password:
    Authentication: Normal

    What’s that Authentication section? I don’t have that part on my iphone.

  9. Hi Brian

    Thanks, yeah, I’d tried that. No use.

    Vinko – any way to downgrade to 1.1.1 or 1.1.2 and see if that works?

    thanks

  10. Hi Vinko,
    Thanks for all the info. I have the recommended SmarTone account. I was wondering if you get the blue “E” in the box next to SmarTone VodaFone at the top of your screen. Mine is just a blue box which I believe means I am not getting full EDGE capability. Thanks in advance.

  11. Hi Vinko,

    “At the moment the iClarified and other AppSupport hacks do have problems with PCCW mobile phone numbers, but the ones where you modify the AppSupport binary file yourself does not.”

    Is there a way of modifying the AppSupport 1.1.3 like how we do in the 1.1.2?
    pntedit no longer works for 1.1.3.

    Hi Shaky,

    about your ‘EDGE’ problem. Try this:

    – click Installer-icon on iPhone,
    – click Install-icon, scroll down and click Utilities,
    — scroll down and click BossPrefs, click Install, click Install, wait a little…
    – click home-button, slide “slide to unlock” to the right
    – click BossPrefs-icon on iPhone,
    (if gui shows that Wifi is off, even if you see the Wi-Fi-icon on the statusbar: click ON)
    – Edge: click ON (ie. you turn it off), wait a little, click ON again
    If you now wish that EDGE shall always be turned off: click ON (ie. you turn off to OFF)

    Hope that helps

  12. Hi Shaky,

    No, to do a factory restore you should click on the “Restore” button in iTunes, while holding down the (“Shift” key for Windows user, or “Option” key for Macintosh user). That is because firmware 1.1.4 is out.

    When you do so, iTunes will ask you to locate the firmware package to restore your iPhone with. You should point it to the iPhone firmware 1.1.3 you previously downloaded.

  13. Thanks. To do a factory restore you put the phone in recovery mode and connect to itunes right?

    thanks

  14. Hi Shaky,

    Yes, since 1.1.3 software that assumes the old structure and locations of files no longer works. This include iSMS, SMSD and weTools.

    Every time a firmware upgrade us applied you must modify the AppSupport files to re-enable the recognition of local telephone numbers for caller ID.

    At the moment the iClarified and other AppSupport hacks do have problems with PCCW mobile phone numbers, but the ones where you modify the AppSupport binary file yourself does not.

    At one point I did have EDGE not work on Smartone-Vodafone after upgrading to 1.1.3, but after a restore to factory 1.1.3, re-jailbreak and re-unlock fixed the problem.

    Given that it is now so easy to jailbreak/unlock using ZiPhone, you should try restoring your iPhone back to 1.1.3 and start again.

    BTW: I no longer assist people to unlock for a fee since it is so easy to do so, but I will assist people who are not technically inclined and have messed up their phone.

  15. Hi vinko

    Just upgraded to 1.1.3. iSMS and SDSD no longer work. Numbers were not recognised until I installed the iClarified appsupport patch. Now most numbers are recognised. One wasn’t. Not sure if they were on PCCW.

    One thing, Edge doesn’t work. I have Smartone-Vodafone in the APN settings. But no luck.

  16. Thanks. To do a factory restore you put the phone in recovery mode and connect to itunes right?
    thanks

  17. I have installed the Build11 AppSupport with the Regional Format Patch and found out that the SMS contact name matches on my contact list. BUT i found out that when a PCCW (One of many Hong kong Carrier’s) user sends me a message, i get 852XXXXXXXX instead of the contact name. All other carrier’s are fine except PCCW. Is there a way i can edit the PhoneNumberTemplates for PCCW so that it can match?

    In the PhoneNumberTemplates hong kong has:

    hk 852 001;009;0080; – – ########

    And here is the AppSupport1.1.2 that worked for me before:

    hk 852 00 – 0 8 <-PCCW
    hk 852 00 0 3 8
    hk 852 40 0 0 8
    hk 852 50 0 0 8
    hk 852 70 0 0 8
    hk 852 90 0 0 8

    How can i edit the PhoneNumberTemplates to the ‘PCCW’ so that they match?

    I tried:
    hk 852 001;009;0080;00038 – – ########
    hk 852 001;009;0080; – -;3 ########

    But it didn’t work. Any ideas?/Suggestions? I’m sure i’m doing something wrong here. Help please

  18. Hi Ana,

    I believe I said there is a “fee”, but I will be using the “free” Opensource method to unlock your iPhone.

    Although, since the unlocking of OTB (out-of-the-box) 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 iPhones are so simple, I will no longer do the unlock for people but will only charge for my time when I have to repair the unlocking if people mess up their iPhone in some way.

    The really easy full proof way to unlock an OTB 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 iPhones is to use the ZiPhone method. I am confident of the Mac OS X version.

  19. You can said in your previous messages that you offering unlocking phone for free,:-) if i buy one from US can you help me to unlock it.. buy you a cup of coffee….

    Cheers..

  20. Hi Ana,

    No one other than Apple can tell you when the iPhone will be officially available in Hong Kong through one or more mobile carriers.

    The educated guess is that it will be latter half of this year, but I think that really depends on the negotiations Apple has with the local carriers.

    I personally hope that local carrier is Smartone-Vodafone. In my opinion they are the only mobile carrier in Hong Kong really demonstrates that they do want to do better and provide the best possible customer care.

    Note that I am talking about wanting to do better and customer care, they are definitely not the best in quality in terms of cell coverage voice quality.

    Please note that now all versions of the iPhones are “easily” unlockable, the retail prices should be much much lower than what HK phone retail stores are charging for 1.1.3 (HKD48xx.00) and 1.1.1 (HKD68xx.00).

    Note that the cost of purchasing an iPhone from one of the US Apple Store comes to about HKD3400.00 including state taxes. You should keep this in mind when checking out the HK mobile phone retail stores.

  21. Vinko

    I am going to check the store next as i am in Macau right now..

    DO you know when Apple is going to release the iphone here in HK?

  22. Vinko
    I am going to check the store next as i am in Macau right now..
    DO you know when Apple is going to release the iphone here in HK?

  23. Hi Ana,

    As you may already aware. My opinions on purchasing an iPhone from local HK phone retail stores. None of them can really be trusted.

    If you must purchase one in HK from a local phone retail store, then I suggest you check out the store at the corner of O’Brien Road and Johnston Road, next to the MTR Wan Chai station exit.

  24. Hi Guido,

    Yes, the “3G/2G Data Plan” I refer to is indeed one of Smartone-Vodafone’s GRPS plan. These plans apply to both Smartone-Vodafone’s 3G and 2G voice plans.

    As to whether you need to have a “3G voice” plan. That depends on whether you follow my recommendation of subscribing to both the “Internet Browsing” plan and one of the “GPRS Data” plan from Smartone-Vodafone.

    Unfortunately, due to the requirements of the “Internet Browsing” plan you must be a subscriber of a “3G voice” plan to be able to subscribe to the “Internet Browsing” plan.

    No, I still have not been able to confidently identify which of the iPhone applications are causing Smartone-Vodafone to consider the data usage to be outside of the “Internet Browsing” coverage. My guess is all data usage not done via the MobileSafari application.

    The current iPhone models (1.1.3 and earlier) are all using the EDGE network, hence, the data usage is charged to the GPRS plan of the carrier.

    For Smartone-Vodafone’s case, data usage is charged to both their GPRS and the “Internet Browsing” plans depending on the protocol that is consuming the data usage.

  25. Thanks, and sorry I had not noticed the “updates” at first.

    Can you clarify if you are subscribing to the “3G” or the “GPRS” data plan please. From your sample calculations you seem to be referring to the 3G plan.
    If 3G, do you need a 3G voice plan too? And is the iPhone’s use booked against that 3G plan where EDGE is in fact 2G?

    And: do you have any idea which application is creating traffic not covered by the “browsing plan”?

    Many thanks for your help.

  26. Hi Guido,

    Please see my updates above in the article for the latest Dataplans most suitable for carefree iPhone use on the Smartone-Vodafone network.

  27. All,

    Please take a look at the now available software unlock method available for iPhones with out-of-the-box 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 firmware.

    Anyone who had jailbroken their 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 phones should restore their phones to Apple factory state and use the new method to unlock and jailbreak.

  28. Hi everyone,

    visiting back after a long pause.

    Now that the iPhone’s been around for a while, what is the collective wisdom of getting lowest charges for EDGE use on Vodafone? Which plan or combination of plans do people use to cover the internet traffic of the iPhone? What’s the total charges you have in a month?

    I have not used EDGE so far because of the uncertainties in the plans but it would be great to use it finally. Thanks for your comments.

  29. Awesome, thanks Paul. I had tried a number of hacked AppSupports and this one linked to by you finally worked (well, it’s the HK localised one so that makes sense). I am now happy with my 1.1.2 update. Thanks again.

  30. Hi everyone,
    visiting back after a long pause.
    Now that the iPhone’s been around for a while, what is the collective wisdom of getting lowest charges for EDGE use on Vodafone? Which plan or combination of plans do people use to cover the internet traffic of the iPhone? What’s the total charges you have in a month?
    I have not used EDGE so far because of the uncertainties in the plans but it would be great to use it finally. Thanks for your comments.

  31. Awesome, thanks Paul. I had tried a number of hacked AppSupports and this one linked to by you finally worked (well, it’s the HK localised one so that makes sense). I am now happy with my 1.1.2 update. Thanks again.

  32. HI Vinko,

    I think I am going to stay with 1.1.3 for the moment. I have actually found a place that seems to have the corrected phonenumbers file that allows the names in contacts to display correctly.

    Here is the link

    http://www.iphone.org.hk/cgi-bin/ch/topic_show.cgi?id=3092&h=1&bpg=1&age=0

    Regarding the youtube fix, I have found this software in installer after you have installed i.unlock.no

    it is then in the unlocking tools category

    I am working on a mac and am still trying to get ssh loaded onto the phone as it does not seem to like 1.1.3.

    I will try again tomorrow.

  33. Hi Paul,

    Please do find out about the 3rd party application that enabled YouTube.

    As for going back to 1.1.1 it is much more involved than that. At the moment your baseband is at the 1.1.3 version (04.03.13_G). So it is best to virginize the iPhone. To do so you will have to restore it first to 1.1.2 then 1.1.1 then 1.0.2. Then replace the modem software with the 1.0.2 version. Next you will have to do the upgrade again back to 1.1.1 following all the jailbreaking and unlocking steps as if you had an out-of-the-box 1.0.2 iPhone.

    No matter what you do, always hold down the Option key on the Mac or Shift key on Windows when you click on either Update or Restore in iTunes.

  34. Hi Vinko,

    Thanks for your comments. I have managed to get YouTube to work but had to install some software through installer (I forget the name now as I am at work, but will find it later if you want it).

    I do however have the same problem as you with the international caller ID as I have this on all my contacts, over 250, and it causes the name on the SMS not to appear as it does not recognise the number. I have exported all my contacts and removed the international number and imported back, but it is a pain and I am sure when I travel it will be an issue so I am starting to think that maybe you are right and I should just revert back to 1.1.1 as with this I did not have any problems. I presume that I should just restore the iphone with the 1.1.1 firmware and then just jailbreak? Is that correct? or is there anything else I need to do?

    Thanks,

    Paul

  35. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I too had tried to upgrade to 1.1.3 from 1.1.1. Most functions seem to work, including: WiFi, EDGE, iTunes, Google Map Locate Me, but each time I attempt to go to YouTube via WiFi connection, it displays a message saying that I should first go to iTunes with a Internet connection.

    The one thing that did not work was the International Caller ID.

    I had attempted to do the upgrade multiple times and each time I was not able to get the International Caller ID to recognize the HK telephone formats in my Contact list.

    This latter difficulty is what caused me to revert back to 1.1.1

    BTW: for those who relies on NativeCN for Chinese text messaging, this does not work on 1.1.3 yet; even with the modified UIKit to enable more keyboards.

    So, if you do not need the native “Google Locate Me” function and can live with using the 3rd Party “LocateMe” application in 1.1.1, or the save web page from MobileSafari as an icon on your Home screen. I will suggest you stay with 1.1.1 for now.

    If anyone has a confirmed “PhoneNumberTemplates.txt” file formated to work with HK telephone numbers please do let me know and I will make it available here for all (and myself) to enjoy. May be then I will reconsider upgrading to 1.1.3.

    BTW: there are also many 3rd party applications which do not work properly in 1.1.3’s new file structure. So if you rely on many 3rd party applications, then it is another reason why you should not upgrade to 1.1.3

  36. Hi Guys,

    Just to let you know for anyone who uses PCCW, I have downloaded through installer Devicescape’s Connect software which basically allows you to go to the website, setup a free account, enter your login/password details for public wifi accounts such as PCCW and then whenever you are in reach of a hotspot it automatically logs in without you having to keep entering the PCCW userid and password every time. I have found it very useful.

    I upgraded last night to 1.1.3 and everything is working fine. I have even managed to get the locate me feature in google maps to work.

    The only thing I have noticed that is that before I upgraded, I was on 1.1.1 and the Edge Blue box at the top left hand side of the screen had an “E” in it. Now it does not. I presume this is something in the new firmware. I have read somewhere that it might be a power saving function or something like that, but everything is working fine and I can access everything I could before.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  37. Hi New iPhoner,

    I think I may have confused you.

    When you are at a WiFi Hotspot that PCCW has a presence, you should normally find three networks available: “PCCW”, “PCCW Universities” and “PCCW+”, but sometimes 2. Sometimes the latter is not available; I also cannot remember exactly the name of the 3rd network.

    Anyway, you need to select the “PCCW Universities” network and it will immediately as you for a password; as you have said in your previous message above. That is the Network (aka “SSID”) Password you need to enter. That is not your university account password.

    If you do not know the “Network Password” for the “PCCW Universities” network, you should contact either your university or PCCW for that information.

  38. thanks vinko.. i connected to the university account but it asks for a password and my university account password doesnt seem to be the one… because as soon as i choose the network it asks for a password without any login id … so i am not sure which password that is!

  39. Hi New iPhone,

    First of all, if you have a PCCW University account you should be connecting to the WiFi network, “PCCW University”. PCCW currently has 3 different WiFi network at hotspots around town. The WiFi network with the name “PCCW” is the commercial network for Home and Business Netvigator users.

  40. hmm… i dont know what SSID password is…… do i need to get it from the university or…where else?
    what i have been doing is..when i see the PCCW internet i connect… then open the page with mobile safari… and then a page opens up and i select the universities account but i get a page saying i need to make sure the internet is configured or some such thing..maybe i’ll try it today and post the exact message over here… thanks so much again!

  41. Dear New iPhoner,

    Accessing either PCCW-Universities or Y5Zone are simple. I believe both are Secure connections, so if you find a hotspot with PCCW-University in the list of WiFi networks available, select it in the WiFi menu, then enter the WIreless Network (SSID) password to join the network. Similarly with Y5Zone,

    Afterwards, just open MobileSafari, enters any URL (ie. http://m.google.com), you should be directed to a login page for the respective network. After you provided the login credentials you will be connected to the Internet via WiFi. You will then be able to use any of the Internet services on your iPhone.

  42. Dear Vinko,

    Need another help… i have free wifi access through PCCW via universities and also Y5ZONE…but as u probably know i am a complete zero in this and have no idea how to connect to them and use them!!!
    Please help me if its not too much i am asking for!!
    Many thanks in advance..

  43. Thanks so much Vinko..shall try and do it at the earliest..but i fail to understand why the online billing details dont show any info regarding text messages or data.. is there some way to find that out?

    Many thanks once again!

  44. Dear New iPhoner,

    Yes, the “Internet Browsing Plan” will automatically upgrade itself to the “Unlimited” version when you exceed the 20MB/day limit. This will be upgraded only for the month on which you exceeded the 20MB/day limit once. On the next month it will drop back down to the HKD38/month “Internet Browsing” plan.

    If you only used your phone for 4 days and you have used over 80MB of data transfer, I strongly suggest you add a 3G/2G Data Plan as soon as possible.

    PS: remember not to tell Smartone-Vodafone that you are using an iPhone on their network. If you must name a phone model, you can tell them you’re using the Nokia E61i.

  45. actually i was reading thru the contract and it is the 38$ plan but will automatically be transferred to 78$ plan for the month …i got a message saying my plan was now unlimited since 20 MB was exceeded…so i guess the plan i come under is still the 38$ one… when i open my bill online it says “first invoice not issued yet” since this only my day 4 on the new plan… but it shows me details on the calling ..but nothing on data…is there a way i can check the data usage…
    i am sorry for having to bother u with these…
    many thanks in advance!

  46. Dear New iPhoner,

    Unfortunately, your concerns are very justified. This is because Smartone-Vodafone does not specify exactly what their “HKD38/month Internet Browsing” plan (btw. it is not “unlimited browsing plan”) covers.

    I had tried time and time again to try to get Smartone-Vodafone Customer Service and Technical Support to be explicit about which protocols they cover in the plan. No one I spoke to can or is willing to provide me with that information.

    In your particular case, the activities through the iPhone’s built-in Mail (aka “MobileMail”) will definitely be out of Smartone-Vodafone’s “HKD38/month Internet Browsing” plan.

    You should be able to check your online bill to see if you have any outstanding data charges.

    Best of luck.

  47. Dear Vinko,
    another question!
    I realised i have subscribed to only the 38$ unlimited browsing plan(with contract) and another 88$ plan for calls… i have no “2G/3G data plan”
    i have been using weather, mail and safari for my internet…
    do u think i am being charged extra and its not covered in the ” unlimited internet browsing plan”…
    i am worried now since my usage is already around 80 MB and if i need to pay at 0.06 per KB, it would be about 4800 HKD there!!
    AM terrified…and hopin that is not the case!!

    please help..
    thanks in advance!

  48. youtube is working on wifi now.. but not EDGE… does it not work with EDGE?
    also with EDGE does it mean i cannot view any videos?
    Thanks so much once again…

  49. Hi New iPhoner,

    As I recall you had never got YouTube working on WiFi. If all other Internet applications (ie. weather, stock, Safari, etc.) works on WiFi then that is an indication that the method used to unlock your phone was not done properly.

    When you say, “… internet is not fast…” I am assuming you are referring when you’re connecting your iPhone via Smartone-Vodafone’s EDGE network. Your conclusion is correct. EDGE being a 2.5G network is no comparison to WiFi or 3G’s HSDPA, but it should be okay for email access.

  50. Dear Vinko,
    Please help again!
    I hav subscribed to the plans u suggested with smartone…
    all seems ok except that youtube doesnt seem to be working…
    also internet is not fast…its faster thru wifi…
    am i doing something wrong?

    thanks again!

  51. Hi Vinko

    Thank you for your quick reply! I will definately need a pre-programmed TurboSim so will check this before I buy as you suggested. Will head to the shop you mentioned when i get back to Hong Kong on Tuesday.

    Thanks again

    TK

  52. Hi Tonto,

    Congratulation on your purchase.

    Please be aware that the TurboSIM needs to be programmed before you can use it in your OTB 1.1.2 iPhone. It is also a very delicate piece of “hardware”.

    I recommend that whoever you purchase it from, you should make sure they have already programmed the TurboSIM for iPhone use. The way you ensure that is the case, is to ask the store owner to test the TurboSIM at the store with one of his Jailbroke OTB 1.1.2 iPhones.

    After you are satisfied with your purchase, you can then go home and follow the official instructions from the Hackint0sh forum. Since your TurboSIM will be pre-programmed for the iPhone your can skip #1 – #21 in Step 3.

    Due to the delicate nature of the TurboSIM and alike, you will not want to change the SIM often; or at all, after you have successfully installed your converted HK SIM card to use with the TurboSIM.

    Again I must include the advise not to use the TurboSIM for unlocking your OTB 1.1.2 iPhone.

    Although, if you cannot wait for the software unlock, a place where I have helped a friend purchase a TurboSIM (like) is in Wan Chai. The local telephone store on O’Brien Street at the corner of O’Brien and Johnston Roads. The price my friend paid was HKD550.00 for a TurboSIM (like) pre-programmed for the iPhone.

    Good luck.

  53. Hello Vinko/All

    I have just purchased a new iPhone in the US (OTB 1.1.2). I can’t wait for a software unlock option to become available so I want to buy a TurboSim/UltraSim/StealthSim/HyperSim/similar solution to get my iPhone working. Can anyone please recommend somewhere to go in Hong Kong to buy one?? Shop name or address would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance for any replies!

    TK

  54. Patrick,

    There are various sites that list methods for jailbreaking iPhones with out-of-the-box version 1.1.2 firmware.

    I do this for people. It takes about an hour to accomplish and I can also recover from almost any fail attempts by other people.

    You can contact me via PM for details.

  55. Sorry, One more thing, how would you “jailbreak” an iPhone? Will there be that risk of bricking it? Is it easy to carry out?

  56. Hi Patrick,

    You should never update the firmware on the iPhone if it has been unlocked. Unless you are instructed to do so by someone who knows what they are doing.

    At the moment the street prices of iPhones 1.1.1 are shooting up. As of yesterday the going price of an unlocked iPhone with 1.1.1 firmware is about HKD6200.00

    There are two 3rd party native applications (Apollo and MobileChat) via the Installer application for access to MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, iChat, GTalk, etc..

    The unlocked iPhone with 1.1.2 firmware (using TurboSIM or a like techniques) goes for about HKD4500.00.

    The TurboSIM method is not recommended. It is also very illegal in all countries including Hong Kong. This method also prevents you from changing SIM cards.

    Any music that is playable in iTunes can be synchronized to the iPhone.

  57. Sorry,
    I needed to know if any of the problems may occur with the following apps. I wanted to know if i can update the software version provided by iTunes, I needed to know the price in Hong Kong for the english iPhone, Will there be problems with call quality will it be choppy or problematic (dropping connection using 3), Is MSN available, Will syncing the music to the iPhone pose problems if it is not bought from iTunes or is not original? Thanks
    Sorry for the confusion!

  58. Hi Patrick,

    I don’t believe the Three (3) network in Hong Kong supports EDGE, therefore it will be very slow connection when you do not have access to WiFi.

  59. Hi,
    Thanks for your reply…
    I just wanted to know if the 3 network will be suitable for the iPhone.
    Not dualband…

  60. iPhoner,

    There is no software unlocking method available for iPhone that has version 1.1.2 firmware out-of-the-box.

    You can only “jailbreak” it to use all its function except for the phone.

    It is not advisable to use TurboSIM or a like hardware unlocking method. Also, taking the phone to any local dealer for unlocking is very dangerous, as explained in my article.

  61. Hi All, I need help with unlocking the iPhone, there is a new firmware version 1.1.2 which blocks unlocking and you would need to use a turbo sim card. I ordered my iPhone from the US for 3400HKD and i want to unlock the phone… Can anyone recommend any suitable unlocking locations??
    Thanks!

  62. Dear New iPhoner,

    Please do not attempt to set any MAC Address on your router, until you are certain what sort of security features you have on your Wireless router. The encryption method (WEP, WPA or WPA2), whether you have a closed network/SSID, whether you are using Access Control (via MAC Address filtering). You should check your wireless router manual.

    If you need to locate the MAC Address for the iPhone, you can do so by going to the Settings –> General –> About –> WiFi Address, the 6 pairs of HEX numbers is your iPhone’s WiFi MAC Address.

    Having an IP address, subnet mask and Router number does not necessary mean that you are connected to the Internet. Your IP address is a private number so it is safe to give out. To know that the IP address assigned to your iPhone is indeed an unique number from your network, its first 3 sets of numbers should be the same as the first 3 sets of the Router IP address.

  63. Dear Vinko,
    Thank you so much for the detailed reply. I am still unable to understand the wifi concept. Yes, i am connecting to our own WiFi network.. but i am unable to understand what i need to do with the MAC address… with the Wifi connected when i click on the blue arrow, i see DHCP highlighted and then there is an IP address (not sure if i could type in the actual one so using alphabets!!) abc.ade.a.h and then there is a subnet mask with some numbers and then some numbers by “Router” and finally some numbers by DNS…. does it make sense? does it mean i shud be able to connect to internet? But i cant seem to!!

    Thank you for the clarification on the phone plan. I will go to one of the vodafone outlets soon claiming to own a Nokia E61i and will select the plan suggested by you.

    Many thanks once again!

    On December 16, 2007, 22:54:
    Sorry to write once again… here is the message when i try to connect to internet… “safari cannot open the page because it cant find the server”…. please help!

    On December 16, 2007, 22:58:
    how do i find the MAC address of the iphone and how do i add it to the router?
    Sorry for beind such a dodo!

  64. Dear “New iPhoner”,

    One more thing I forgot to answer. When you say, “… my phone says Wifi is ‘on’ and there is a tick mark next to ‘untitled’ connection”. I assume you are connecting to your own WiFi network with a SSID/Network Name “untitled”. If you are not, you should not be connecting to unknown WiFi networks, as that is dangerous.

    If you are connecting to your own WiFi network, do you have MAC Address blocking on, on your router? If you do, you need to enter the iPhone’s MAC Address onto your router.

    If you click on the Blue Arrow besides the WiFi network entry you’re connecting to, you will see a new page of information about your connection, you should see an IP address assigned to your iPhone other than 169.xxx.xxx.xxx

    When you’re using WiFi you are not using EDGE, when a connectable WiFi network is available, the iPhone will automatically choose WiFi as its connection, unless WiFi is turned off.

    Please note that certain iPhone activities, Apple purposely restrict it to WiFi connection only, like access to the iTunes Store.

  65. Dear “New iPhoner”,

    Congratulation on receiving the iPhone. Note that the recommended “Internet Browsing” plan requires you to have at least a 3G voice plan to subscribe.

    I am not familiar with the HKD68.00 “PayGo” plan, as you should not have a monthly plan with the “PayGo” service.

    You can choose the least expensive 3G plan from Smartone-Vodafone, then add one of the “2G/3G Data” and the “Internet Browsing” plans to your 3G voice plan.

    Note that none of the data allowance that comes with the 3G plan will be usable on the iPhone, but as explained in the body of my article, the 2nd tier “2G/3G Data” and “Internet Browsing” plan should cover all possible data usage on the iPhone, without having to worry about paying an unexpected large service fee at the end of each month.

  66. Hi Vinko… i need your help! I have been gifted an iphone today … i am currently on a smartone-vodafone “pay go” plan for 68$… i would like to know what plans will i need to subscribe to if i want to use youtube, some email and a bit of google? I understand the 2G/3G data plan and the internet browsing plan are suggested by you.. in addition to this do i need to take some other voice plan too? Please help…is there some plan that can give me about 800 minutes of calling plus enough data for browsing,youtube etc for about 150 HK$ a month?
    Also, my phone says Wifi is “on” and there is a tick mark next to “untitled” connection… but youtube doesnt open yet… however EDGE is on and the weather icon works…
    Please guide me!!
    Many thanks in advance..

  67. Dear Jack,

    Unfortunately, as of now (Dec. 13, 2007) there are no confirmed sure fire way to unlock the iPhones with version 1.1.2 firmware “out-of-the-box”.

    The only thing you can do is to “jailbreak” your iPhone and use all its function accept for the “phone” feature.

    I am sure the unlock for out-of-the-box 1.1.2 firmware version iPhone will appear soon.

  68. Hi Lawrence,

    Sorry for the late reply.

    At the moment it does not matter which unlocking method (iPhone Dev Team, or iPhone SIM Free) you use. In most cases recent techniques are able to accommodate both, of course the iPhone Dev Team method is preferred as most hacks and techniques are based on that method.

    Unfortunately, I had not figure out how to either edit a stored number before calling or forcing the phone to replace the “+” sign with a predefined number string for IDD.

    BTW: 3 in HK does not have EDGE that is probably why you find that the GPRS signal is slow.

  69. Dear Adriano,

    Without know exactly which steps you follow, the only guess I have is that you did not have the intended SIM in your iPhone before you run anySIM.

    Please remember that no matter which instructions you follow you must follow every word of the instructions to the T, otherwise, you will have issues.

    Good luck with your unlocking.

  70. hi im having a little bit of trouble with my iphone, its jailbroken and working. I used anysim. everything went well, it said the unlock was successful but when i put my vodafone sim it doesnt recognize it. No logo, nothing happens, no signal, its as though i hadnt even put the sim in the phone. I can virginize the phone quite easily and reverse the effects of anysim but i just dont understand why it didnt read the vodafone sim??? Any ideas?? For the time being i will follow the internet site u recommend to unlock the phone.
    Any help, would be greatly appreciated!!

  71. Hi Vinko

    Firstly, thank you for writing and sharing your experiences/findings in this very interesting thread.

    A good friend of mine was in the US recently and he bought an iPhone for me. It is ver 1.1.1 and I unlocked it using the iPhone Dev Team method. The method worked perfectly and took only 30 mins. All functions/features work – SMS/Phone/YouTube/Weather/Stocks/Safari

    I am using 3 and on a 2G package. I find that the GPRS speed to be very slow.

    I am now considering signing up for PCCW Wifi. It costs HK$98 a month for unlimited use. Whilst it does not have as wide coverage as EDGE, it is faster than EDGE and has 3,000 hotspots in HK.

    I have a few questions that I hope you can answer:

    – Does it matter whether you use the iPhone Dev Team method or the iPhone Simfree method? Does using one method locks you in to use from the same team for future unlocks?

    – I am using a third party provider for my IDD calls (IDD1507). This means I have to dial 1507 instead of +. I have used a Sony Ericsson phone where it allows you to edit the number before dialling. Do you know if I can get this to work on the iPhone? I rather not save 1507 IDD code for every number as I do switch IDD providers depending on the quality and rates.

    Thanks

  72. Hey – thanks for this informative site. I’m in HK for a short while and would love to get hold of an iphone myself, along with a couple of other toys but wondering where’s the best place for me to buy these things. I notice recommendations is Wan Chai? I saw an offer for an iphone today in Mong Kok for $4500. Not sure what the ‘going price’ is right now, or where the locals get bargains.

    Any advice appreciated!

  73. Does anybody know how to get caller ID working, as all the calls I receive (all international) say unknown caller?

    The answer to this would be much appreciated.

  74. Hi Admin,

    I have to use the EDGE settings for Vodafone UK as they are my carrier and I’m on international roaming in HK. I do use a spare phone with a CSL pre-paid sim for all my local calls.

    The Vodafone UK settings are:

    APN = internet
    Username = web
    Password = web

    Anyway, thanks for your interest.

  75. City Link at Sham Shui Po sell the unlocked iPhone at 4990. It works on my UK Vodafone card picking up SmarTone as the local carrier. I used the Edge settings from Ross Barkman’s GPRS info as the settings in ModMyiPhone’s Carrier APN Settings didn’t work and can use email, weather and Safari with no problems.

  76. Dear Vinko,
    Thank you very much for the detailed explanation. It was really helpful.
    Since I’ve no way to buy it abroad I will go to the place that Jimmy (thread 21) suggested in Wan Chai. At least his IPhone is working!

    I’ll be sure to ask all the questions you told me.

    I’ll keep you informed.

    Thanks again!

  77. Hi Alice,

    First of all please let me say that I am no an expert, but just an experienced iPhone user in Hong Kong.

    Where are you getting your iPhone? HKD5000 sounds very high for an Apple 8GB iPhone.

    I will have to reiterate my concerns with purchasing iPhones in HK. I had received many emails from fellow iPhone users who purchased their iPhone in HK from one of the many shops in Wan Chai, Lai Chee Kok and Mong Kok. Everyone of them had told me that their phones had problems after about a week or so standard use.

    These problems mainly surrounds WiFi and YouTube access. For the former, they cannot seem to connect to any network, the latter they just cannot reach the YouTube network. None of them were able to get the Caller ID to work properly and still only shows phone numbers in the USA format.

    My recommendation is always to purchase a sealed, unopened iPhone, then pay someone you trust to unlock it using the Opensource technique. Please allow me to state that I currently offer this service, but I also want to explain why this is the best option.

    Notice, I said in the above, “… someone you trust…”. You need to remember that this is a connected device, and in most cases, it is connected to some network; either cellular or WiFi, 24 hours a day.

    As a result, if anyone places a malware onto the phone that they activate at a later date, they can potentially access everything you have on the phone. In the worst case, they can steal all the data off the phone or do what they called, clone the SIM card.

    Having said the above, if you still want to purchase an unlocked iPhone in HK, I would suggest you check the stores in Wan Chai for a better price.

    When you do go to the store to get your phone, it is best that you also have the intended SIM card you will be using with you. Some of the unlocking techniques will only registered with one SIM and will not allow you to remove that SIM after it had been inserted once.

    For your carrier service, you need to ensure it has EDGE service; ie. Smartone-Vodafone , PCCW and 1010, but 3 does not. You should also find out from your carrier the APN, Username and Password for your EDGE service. In most cases, Username and Password are blank.

    It is best that you had already changed your carrier’s subscription plan to have the service required before you go pickup your unlocked iPhone.

    When you are at the store, you should check the following:you can connect to http://www.google.com using the Safari application after you have set up the EDGE access for your carrier.while connected to EDGE you need to check to see if the Weather application works, by changing the city to Hong Kong.You should see if you can find a WiFi network and then connects to YouTube using the YouTube application.You should ask if you are getting the iPhone with firmware 1.1.1, 1.0.2 or 1.1.2. If it is an iPhone with firmware 1.0.2 you should insist that they get you one with firmware 1.1.1, otherwise do not purchase it.You should ask if SSH was installed and that the password has been changed?If it is an iPhone with firmware 1.1.1, you should check to see whether you have 3 rows of 4 icons plus one row with a single iTunes icon then another row of 4 icons (Phone, Mail, Safari, iPod). If you see any other icon next to the iTunes icon, and it is not the “Installer” icon, you should ask them to remove it

    I hope this helps. Please send me PM if you have any questions.

    [Update]
    You should NOT tell any carriers in HK that you are/or planning to use an iPhone on their network. If you need to use a phone model when discussing with your carrier representative, you can say that you have the Nokia E61i. It is against OFTA rules to use any unauthorized device on any mobile network in Hong Kong. This rule is up to the respective carriers to enforce, therefore, the carriers may cancel your service and/or fine you for using your iPhone on their network. If you do not tell them or allow them to identify you (giving them your ID or Phone Number), they will not be able to tell.

  78. Hi! In the next weeks I will buy an IPhone here in HK (around 5000 HKD) and really need your expert suggestions.
    I understood the best plan is gonna be the Smartone-Vodafone “Internet Browsing Plan” for HKD38.00/month + 3G Data Plan (HKD48.00/moth).

    Do you suggest me to bring the card at the shop and try it there? what questions should I ask to the seller? what tests should I do right at the shop before paying the IPhone?
    Thanks.
    I’ll be waiting for your kind feedback!

  79. I’ve just spoken with someone about how GPRS works and have realised that my tests were completely useless.

    GPRS uses 1-4 channels, all of which are shared by standard 1800 band phones, so my tests would have been influenced by nearby cell positioning and how many people in the area were using Smartone or Three at the time. in fact, some of the uniform jumps in my test results would suggest that someone around here started a phone conversation on Three partway through my testing.

    Other uncontrolled variables wouldn’t have mattered so much- I was continually testing the site in question via my PC browser, and I’d already walked around the office with an EMF detector 🙂 But yeah, I don’t think that GPRS lends itself to reliable testing in an urban environment. The upshot of this, I guess, is that throughput needn’t be a major consideration when deciding on service providers. The pricing schemes are baffling enough to deal with!

    Thanks for the link to John’s comment. I’ll consider modifying my plan once I figure out what my data usage is like (haven’t even gotten around to configuring mail yet!)

  80. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for sharing.

    It sounds like you have the similar plan as John, who reported back his Smartone-Vodafone bill from this past month. You can see his comment on my other post.

    You are right, doing speed tests without proper equipment and controlled environment make it difficult to draw a reasonable conclusion from the findings. As you already know, network usage, location, interference, equipment latencies and web server loads are just some of the variables we cannot control as end-users.

    Although, you did try to control two of the factors: the iPhone and web pages loaded.

    Given that, your findings are interesting that it can show such high discrepancies in speeds.

  81. Hi,

    I just ran some simple speed tests between Smartone (my SIM) and Three (on a friend’s SIM). Refreshing the HK observatory weather page 6 times on each SIM, I averaged 30.2 seconds for Smartone and 68.2 seconds for Three.

    Each of the Smartone refreshes was between 28 and 33 seconds.

    One of the Three refreshes was 30 seconds, the rest were between 50 and 78 seconds.

    Each refresh was conducted between 11:30am and 12:00pm today.

    I admit that this test wasn’t terribly rigorous (it really should have been done more than 6 times per card and over different times of they day, but I couldn’t be bothered 🙂

    ___________________________________

    I’m running the Smartone $38/month browsing plan + the $128/month 3G plan. I’ve not signed up to the $48 data price plan- I’ll see if this bites me after my first bill.

  82. Guido & All,

    I was not able to test my recommended Smartone-Vodafone plans for the iPhone until the month of October (Oct. 12 – Nov. 11). Due to the fact that Smartone-Vodafone does not allow prorated subscription of the “Internet Browsing Plan”; unlike all other VAS (value-added-service) they offer. So I was not able to have my recommended plans until my Bill Date Oct. 11.

    Just in case other people want to do their own experiment on the Smartone-Vodafone plans for the iPhone. I repeat my recommendations here:

    Choose the Smartone-Vodafone “Internet Browsing Plan” for HKD38.00/month. This gives you 20MB per day of “Internet browsing” and will automatically upgrades to the Unlimited version of this plan for HKD78.00/month if any of the days you go over the 20MB/day limit. They will automatically downgrade you back the following month.

    Then additionally subscribe to one of the “2G/3G Data Plan” starting at HKD48.00/moth. This will give you 3MB per month of “EDGE (GPRS)” usage that is not covered by the above “Internet Browsing Plan”.

    I only recommend you choose the HKD48.00/month Data Plan if you will be using your iPhone’s data access mostly from within Mobile Safari. If you plan to use Mail, YouTube, Stocks, Maps, Weather or any other 3rd party applications that requires data access. I will recommend you start with the HKD118.00/month Data Plan instead; this was what I chose and what I will be reporting on Nov. 15 when I normally receive my bill.

    Note that all of the above are based on the fact that you have subscribed to one of Smartone-Vodafone’s 3G Voice Plan. Please note that the “Internet Browsing Plan” is only available to customers with a 3G Voice Plan.

  83. Vinko,

    Will you report on your data charge experineces tomorrow (12/10)? I am
    interested to hear what iPhone traffic the browsing plan covers and what
    not.

    All I can say is that my brief test with switching on EDGE on Smartone and
    testing one or two websites (<1MB) cost me an extra $100 since I so far have no data plan. So my advice to people on Smartone without a plan: be VERY VERY VERY careful with what you do.

    Cheers,
    Guido

  84. Johnd, the HKD38/month “Internet Browsing Plan” will not cover all of your iPhone Internet activities. I do advise you follow my recommendation above and add one of their Data Plan to your subscription.

    Since we do not know how much of the iPhone’s Internet activities will not be covered by the Smartone-Vodafone’s “Internet Browsing Plan”, I do suggest you choose their lowest Data Plan to try for the first month and then adjust accordingly.

    I personally will be doing the same for the Month of October and reporting back on this Blog 2nd week of November on my next Bill Date.

  85. Update: I’ve switched to Vodafone over the weekend and EDGE works well: not as fast as wifi, but surprisingly not a lot slower than my old sony 3G w880i.

    Reception is good, better than 3. I’m using a 3G plan with the “iN!!” (or whatever it is) $38/pm browsing service – but I’m not on a contract so can switch next month if it doesn’t work out 🙂 It works out cheaper than 3 too.

    ismet: try a on/off or reset if you haven’t already – if you get some response you can probably recover it.

  86. Flkrt, although PEOPLES may be the cheapest in town for EDGE access, it has the worst voice network in Hong Kong.

    Plus the iPhone is NOT connected 24/7. All you need to do is aware of which applications that may need network access and use those applications sparingly.

    As for Mail application, you can always change the settings so that you are only checking email “Manually”.

    Lastly, depending on how the iPhone is unlocked you can always install the “Services” application and toggle the EDGE service off when you’re not using it.

  87. ismet:
    whatever you do, do not update to 1.1.1 😉 but it should be safe to use itunes to restore your phone to 1.0.2 firmware (keep ALT pressed when clicking ‘restore’), then activate/jailbreak/unlock again.

    considering edge/gprs service, i think one needs to be carefull with any contract where you get billed by the megabyte, as the iphone pretty much assumes to be online 24/7, ie it will check for mail regulary and connect everytime you start maps/weather/stocks/youtube. so i’d rather go for unlimited data (128 HKD/month from PEOPLES 🙂

  88. Ismet,

    Sorry to hear of your troubles. As I had sad in my original article, I believe I was one of the first to unlock an iPhone using the pure-software-free method in Hong Kong.

    I also offer to help anyone with a brand new non AT&T activated iPhone unlock for a fee.

    The reason I made that offer is because I truly believe all the cell phone stores in Hong Kong are scamming customers. See my comments and article above for details.

    It is uncertain how these people at the store you purchased from, unlock the phone. The method that I used is the safest and I had already unlocked 4 iPhones with it without any problems.

    Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do to force the store to entertain you. I guess you are not as lucky as Jimmy who found a retailer that is responsible for what they sell.

    If you like you I can help check out your iPhone. But it will cost you a fee whether I am able to unlock it or not. If you have a Netvigator account I can help you with this at almost any Starbucks in Central, Wan Chai or Causeway Bay. Please send me a private email to arrange.

  89. hi i also got one of those iphone at a shop in wanchai it was initially working with my 3 sim card, but i connected it to my laptop to download some songs, after a few minutes it locked up. now not working at all. i took it to shop where i got it, they will not change nor provide any help.

    i wander any of you guy had any luck unlocking iphone easy way?

    thanks

  90. Back again: the word from the 3 staff is that 3 doesn’t support EDGE, only GPRS or UMTS (HSPDA). They were quite helpful – but I didn’t go any further than that (i.e. ask if they support the iPhone – I doubt I would’ve got anywhere, as you said).

    Luckily it seems I don’t have a contract, so I can switch anytime – a shame because I’ve been with them for years. Is Vodafone is OK for EDGE? It would seem so from the comments above; will pay attention to the data/web plans as stated above.

  91. Johnd, I believe the “E” icon in the Status Bar is always on when the EDGE radio is enabled. It does not show the presence of a EDGE communication.

    One other thing that will be interesting to share with everyone here from Hong Kong, is the reaction of the Three Customer Service when you tell them that you are using the service with an Apple iPhone.

    Please note that they may just ignore you by saying that their service is not supported by the iPhone. I understand that is a ridiculous statement, but they would try to say that.

  92. Hi, yes, at least I think so: it’s actually a 3G SIM and on that I’ve subscribed to the data plan (on top of the normal plan). It worked fine on my sony phone, but to be honest I don’t know if I ever tried GPRS alone as UMTS was generally available (phone always indicated GPRS was there).

    Will go and talk to the shop and/or three at lunch & post any results. I’m using the “web-g.three.com.hk” APN already.

    The iPhone always reports “not subscribed to EDGE”, even though the ‘E’ is displayed… Dunno if it’s significant 🙂

  93. Hi Johnd,

    Please excuse me for pointing out what may be the obvious, did you subscribe to on of the Data Plan from Three?

    If you do. Have you tried using “web-g.three.com.hk” for the APN field?

  94. Anyone know how to get three gprs/edge working (if indeed it can work)? I’ve tried various settings but no luck. The ‘E’ is shown at the top of the iphone so I guess it should work/is available!

    I bought mine in kowloon bay for 4.7k (expensive, but I figured the 1.1.1 update would make 1.0.2 unlocked phones rare, so I didn’t wait anymore 🙂

  95. Jimmy, thanks for sharing. That’s good to keep in mind for future electronic purchase.

    BTW: I live just next to the Wan Chai Computer Center.

  96. Yep, returned it. The one I bought for 5.5k I mean. Already hacked, but didn’t work properly, they changed it for me without question.

    It’s in Wan Chai Comp Centre. Up the escalator, straight ahead, the store that sells all the phones, PDAs, iPods, Wiis, etc.

  97. Jimmy, Wow… you were able to return the first one you purchase? That’s pretty good for those kind of shops. Where was this shop on HK island?

    Although, 5.5K is very expensive, I do agree that that is cheaper than some of the other stores on HK island that are selling them for. Some of them even claim that they have Chinese and English versions of the iPhone. I never bother looking into those. I really do not have any idea what these shady shops are selling.

  98. Yeah. I initially bought one for $3.4k. Well it was shipped in from the US. I then tried to hack it myself and it failed. I’m not going to go into it! Apart from saying it failed halfway through an iTunes restore, leaving it half-flashed and now wont boot.

    So, having failed as a geek and a man (Oh, I should say this phone was for the gf), I had to quickly pop out and get one hacked here. 5.5k is the cheapest I’ve seen – HK side. Have heard of $4.8k in MK.

    Anyway, the new one I got would not receive SMS, proved it to the guy in the shop and he gave me a new one that is all good.

    Thanks for all the info!

  99. Jimmy, anySIM method is the “iPhone Dev Team” method.

    As for the reason why you may be interested in upcoming firmware upgrades from Apple would be the eventual cut/copy & paste function.

    As for the Voice Mail button hack. You just have to send the command *5005*86*XXX# from the keypad of the phone part of your iPhone, where “XXX” is the access code for your voice mail service from your carrier. In the case of Smartone-Vodafone this access code is “138”.

    BTW: HKD5.5K is very high to pay. Anyone else out there in Hong Kong who want to get their brand new iPhone unlock, you can either do it yourself or I can do it for you for a fee.

  100. was done with the anySIM method. Not sure which method that is. It’s FW 1.0.2 though. Not too fussed about future upgrades, until they enable 3G on it.

    Not set the APN, I guess that’s the internet sorted!. What’s the hack for the VM button?

    It was 5.5k.

    thanks

  101. So you are saying that you did not do the unlocking yourself? Do you know if the unlocking was done using the iPhone Dev Team method or the iPhone SIM Free method?

    This is important as Apple upgrades the iPhone firmware and you may want to take advantage of these features from Apple in future iPhone firmware upgrades.

    Did you set the APN for EDGE to be “Smartone-Vodafone”? You may also want to follow the hack to enable to Voice Mail button on your phone. Smartone-Vodafone’s number is 138.

    BTW: how much did you pay for your Unlocked iPhone?

  102. I didn’t do the unlocking, I was in a store … I think for the internet, I just forgot to set the Edge ID thingy … not sure about receiving SMS though.

  103. Jimmy,

    Although I had not personally tried the unlock iPhone with a 2G Smartone-Vodafone SIM card I don’t know why that would not work. As it does work with a Three 2G SIM card. Plus the iPhone is a 2G phone.

    My guess is that you had missed one of the steps in the Unlock instructions.

    Did you ensure you first Restore your iPhone firmware to 1.0.2 before you began the unlocking?

    Did you use iTunes 7.4.1 on the Mac for your unlocking?

    Did you leave the AT&T SIM card in the iPhone through out the unlocking process until the instruction ask you to remove it and replace with your own SIM Card?

  104. Vinko, I am surely looking forward to your report on the 12th then 😉 !!!

    Thanks for doing the experiment,
    Guido

  105. Did you have to install any multimedia settings or any profile to get it to connect over edge?

    I have a SV SIM. Not 3G, but I do use GPRS to check out web pages. I just tried my SIM in an unlocked iphone. I could send SMS msgs but not receive them, also, could not connect to the internet.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks

  106. Guido,

    I believe Smartone-Vodafone’s 2G/3G Data Plan for HKD118/month is for 10MB per month and any extra MB is HKD15 each.

    Thibault,

    Yes, Smartone-Vodafone sales representatives at the stores and Customer Service on the telephone are horrible in explaining the details of the “Internet Browsing plan”. Also, I really do not think one should commit to any carrier’s services for more than a month.

    Technologies and services are continuously being enhanced, prices for these service continue to be competitive. Therefore committing to a 12 month “Internet Browsing plan” just to save HKD10 is not work it; in my opinion.

    Also, just subscribing to the “Internet Browsing plan” from Smartone-Vodafone for use with the iPhone is not enough. You will end up racking up additional data charge.

    You need to also add one of their “2G/3G Data plan” to your subscription. Exactly which plan will be up to your usage on the iPhone and your own experiment. I personally have the HKD118/month “2G/3G Data plan” plus the HKD38/month “Internet Browsing plan” this month.

    Will let everyone know my findings after almost one month of use. My bill date is the 11th.

  107. Hi Vinko and Guido,
    I finally got the iPhone with Smartone as a service provider. I haven’t used much of the EDGE network yet since they seem to not know what the $28 (12 months subscription) internet on mobile plan covers. I guess most of it covers the services smartone IN provides, but the sales were not too helpful, they seem to not know what they are selling. I wish things are a lot more clearer… Thanks again for the help.

  108. In general that makes sense, only the GPRS data plans are also exteremely overpriced. For example you pay $118/month for just 5MB of traffic, anything on top costs $0.05/KB which is $50/MB. If you do not know exactly what the phone is doing this can easily bring you up to a few $1000s in a month. I don’t think I want to take that risk. How do other people handle this? Can you ask Smartone to set a limit for example?

  109. Hi Guido,

    You are totally correct about Smartone-Vodafone’s “Internet Browsing plan”. That is why I also recommend their customers to subscribe to one of Smartone-Vodafone’s “2G/3G Data plan” in addition to the “Internet Browsing plan”.

    Since majority of the iPhone’s Internet traffic will be browser based and through Safari. The remainder of the iPhone’s Internet traffic should be covered by the “2G/3G Data plan”.

    According to the Smartone-Vodafone Customer Service representative. They will first deduct the bandwidth allocation from the “Internet Browsing plan” before they deduct from the “2G/3G Data plan”.

  110. Thanks Vinko for the thorough account of Smartone’s offerings. Sorry I cannot add anything to this, other than saying that I am pretty sure some people know exactly what is covered under the “browsing” plan and what not. But I think they like to leave you in the dark as every Byte that is not covered will make them a huge profit. The data charges are rediculously high, like $0.1 for 1KB. I would like to go by the browsing plan but how can I be sure I don’t end up with a hell of data charges if the iPhone is leaking traffic on some port whose traffic is not covered. Anyone who can add to this, please post your experience.

  111. Wow, thank you very much for the detailed explanation. It was really helpful. I have a friend who will be using the iPhone on 3. I’ll definitely write back here about his experience. Thanks again.

  112. Hi Thibault,

    No, there was no need to apply any other hacks to enable the YouTube feature. Although, when I tested the YouTube function I was using the iPhone’s WiFi connection. As the Smartone-Vodafone data plan is too expensive to use for content like YouTube videos.

    As for the data plan. You need to be very careful with Smartone-Vodafone’s service offerings. I had tried their “Internet browsing plan” last month with my Nokia E61i. In case you do not know, the Nokia E61i has many advance functions. The result was an over and above data charge of approximately HKD119.00.

    The reason is because Smartone-Vodafone’s “Internet browsing plan” only covers “web browsing using the mobile phone’s native web browser’. They also tell me that only certain HTTP ports are included in the plan. But they are not able to tell me exactly what those ports are.

    It is obviously they did not think through the service before they launched the service. It is ridiculous for them to restrict the service to certain ports. As you may know, web browsing is not limited to certain ports; yes, there are the documented defaults: port 80 and port 443, but these are not the only ones used in practice. The exact port used by each web site is up to the webmaster’s configuration of their respective web servers.

    Also, the 20MB limit is per day and if you go over it, Smartone-Vodafone will automatically change your monthly plan to the unlimited usage rate of HKD68.00 until your next billing date. On which they will drop it back down to the regular rate (HKD38.00 without commitment and HKD28.00 with 12 months commitment).

    BTW: you do realize that the HKD20.00 per month rate for the plan in question requires a commitment to the said plan for 12 months. The non-commitment rate for the plan is HKD38.00.

    Since the iPhone allows you to use it for web browsing, email downloads (POP/IMAP) and sending (SMTP), YouTube streaming, weather widget, Google map lookup, etc. I would suggest you subscribe to Smartone-Vodafone’s “Internet browsing plan”, which covers majority of the traffic through Safari, Weather widget, Google Map application on your iPhone. With that plan also add one of Smartone-Vodafone’s “Data Price plan”, this latter plan should cover the remainder of the Internet traffic.

    Up to this day, after numerous conversations with Customer Service on the telephone, I still have yet to receive an exact answer from Smartone-Vodafone, as to what the “Internet browsing plan” covers.

    I believe none of their staff know themselves. Unfortunately, it will be a trail an error on our (the customers) part. Fortunately, Smartone-Vodafone is one of the only mobile carrier that does not require any commitment for any of their plans or VAS.

    Everyone, please feedback here on your experience with the respective carriers in HK, as the best combination of plans to allow the most efficient use of your iPhone in HK.

  113. Hi Vinko,
    I’m expecting my iPhone in the mail this Thursday. I am a smartone subscriber as well. I wanted to ask which data plan do you use for the internet service. It is the $28 a month with 20MB limit? Thanks. Also, how fast is the transfer rate for surfing the web? And finally, do you have to unlock the youtube app after unlocking the iPhone by using the modmyiPhone.com tutorial? Thanks and sorry for all the questions. Have a nice day.

  114. Hi, one more HK iPhone! I ordered a brand new one from the US and unlocked it. Works great on Smartone, even Internet over edge. I could not be happier, it is a fabulous piece of technology. And great fun to use!

  115. You should be following the guide from ModMyiPhone.Com. The anySIM application had not been fully tested nor verified.

    Although, I am not certain if you can use the iPhone Dev Team’s hack described in the ModMyiPhone.Com guide anymore, since you had already used the anySIM application on your iPhone.

    I do not believe you need a 3G SIM card to do this, as the iPhone does not have 3G support. Although, the SIM card I had is indeed a 3G SIM card.

    What do you mean “…. I can’t seem to get my iphone to work…”? What is it that is not working? The iPhone does not recognize your Smartone SIM? Or something worst?

  116. hi, glad to know you got it working so well. I’m using smartone as well and I can’t seem to get my iphone to work even though it’s jailbreaked and i loaded on anySIM. do you need a 3G card to use the iphone?

    I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this one, thanks!

Leave a Reply to Guido Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s