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Connecting with GPRS on Mac OS X with Alltel


I recently got a cell phone with Alltell. I signed up with their Axcess web service for a mere $5.99/month with the idea of being able to use the phone for internet access on my PowerBook. After a lot of searching on the web, it seems that nobody has any instructions for this, although there are plenty of instructions for other networks. And after a lot more searching, I finally figured out how to actually make it work.

Update: I no longer needed cell phone internet so I cancelled my Axcess web service around May 2005. However, my cell phone internet still works! Apparently the access controls for Axcess don't actually apply to bluetooth data connections. So now I'm saving $5.99/month and can still get on the internet from anywhere.

Note that these calls count as data calls, which Alltel seems to bill the same as regular calls. So you get free internet on nights and weekends, and it uses your minutes otherwise. This is just my experience, your mileage may vary, we are not liable for incorrectness, check it for yourself, etc.

The phone I'm using is a Motorola RAZR V3c. These instructions should work for most any Bluetooth phone, and hopefully they can be lightly modified to work with a USB connector.

There may be a more straightforward way of doing these things, but I'm going to walk you through them more or less in the way I did them. The process is very similar to other networks, so if you get stuck in the details then search around for pages about other networks, of which there are many.

Bluetooth Setup

If you haven't done it already, you have to pair your phone with your Mac. This is pretty straightforward, and I won't cover the details. If you want them anyway, you can borrow from a page such as Bluetooth Networking with the Sprint Trueo 650. One change here: don't check the "Access the Internet with your phone's data connection" box. We're going to do that part separately.


You need a modem script that will work with your phone. I had no success with phone-specific scripts, none of which seemed to like the responses that came from my phone.

The script that finally worked with me is, oddly enough, a generic modem script for the Sprint PCS service that I found on this page: Connecting your Mac via your cellphone. You want the "Generic Cellphone Modem Script", which you can download by clicking here. Install the script in /Library/Modem Scripts

PPP Setup

Once your phone is paired, open System Preferences and click on Networking. Under Network Port Configurations, make sure Bluetooth is present and checked. (It's possible you'll get something like the actual name of your phone, in which case use that instead.) Then configure the Bluetooth connection.

If you aren't familiar with how Bluetooth internet connections work, the phone just looks like a regular modem and you connect over the standard dial-up networking PPP protocol.

Select the PPP tab. For Account Name, enter "alltel". For the Password, again enter "alltel". For the Telephone Number, enter "*99***1#".

Select the Modem tab. Under Modem, select your newly-downloaded and installed SprintPCS script. Then click Apply Now.

That's it! You should be able to use Internet Connect and connect using your cell phone now. At least, it worked for me.

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