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Wireless Internet: BlackBerry Curve as Bluetooth Modem for OS-X Mac

Stay connected to the Internet wherever you go by using your BlackBerry Curve (8300) as a Bluetooth modem for your OS-X-powered Macintosh…

[ Apple MacBook ] This tutorial guides you through the process of connecting wirelessly to the Internet using your BlackBerry Curve (8300) as a Bluetooth modem for your Macintosh (running OS X) via native Bluetooth functionality. The benefits of such wireless connectivity are numerous, enabling greater productivity and maximized Internet access. The procedure is straightforward, and the tutorial assumes no prior knowledge of either Bluetooth or BlackBerry. Knowing your way around a Mac will help, but is not required. Note that using your BlackBerry as a wireless modem for your Mac (or any computer) is classified as tethering, and may or may not be covered by your wireless plan1. Having said that, the setup time for this tutorial should be well under thirty minutes, and requires2 the following three items:

All set? Let’s get started…

Install the BlackBerry Modem Script

Unzip the BlackBerry_8300.zip file and save a copy of the extension-less modem-script to the “Modem Scripts” directory on your Mac: FinderHard DiskLibraryModem Scripts

Pair the BlackBerry Curve with your Mac

Okay, now to pair the BlackBerry and Mac via Bluetooth. Crack open your BlackBerry, go to “Manage Connections”, and enable Bluetooth via checkmark (the icon should then show a yellow minus icon). Then, go to “Bluetooth Options”, press the menu key, select “Options”, and ensure that the “Discoverable” option is set to “Yes”.

Now, open System Preferences on your Mac and open the “Bluetooth” configuration panel. Enable Bluetooth and make it “Discoverable” [ Screenshot ].

Next, within the System Preferences panel, select the “Devices” tab and click “Set Up New Device…” to begin the setup process [ Screenshot ].

The first step in the device setup process is a “Welcome” screen. Click continue. Next, in the “Select Device Type” screen, select “Any Device” from the list and click “Continue”. Next is the “Searching” screen, which eventually (it may take a few moments) should indicate your BlackBerry device as a mobile phone. After the device is found, select in the list and click “Continue”.

Next is the “Gathering Information” screen, which displays the progress of the information gathering process. Wait until the process is complete and then click “Continue”. The next screen displays the all-important passkey. [ Screenshot ]. At this time, your BlackBerry should display its “Enter Numeric Passkey” prompt. Enter the passkey in the field provided (Note: there is a limited amounted of time for this step — if necessary, click “Go back” on the Mac and try again).

Upon successful entry of the passkey, a “Pairing Complete” message appears briefly, and a confirmation prompt appears asking if you would like to “Accept connection request from mac?”. First, select “Don’t ask this again” and then click the “Yes” button.

Configure the Bluetooth Connection

[ Image: BlackBerry Curve and Mac PowerBook ]
BlackBerry Wireless Modem for Mac
So far so good. We are almost finished! Now it is time to configure the Bluetooth connection. On your Mac, the “Devices” subpanel (System PreferencesBluetoothDevices tab) should display the BlackBerry 8300 on the Bluetooth device list [ Screenshot ]. Select the BlackBerry 8300 from the list and click on “Configure” to open the configuration dialogue (Note: the Device Configuration dialogue may have opened automatically after the device pairing process).

Next, in the “Select the services you want to use with your mobile phone” screen, select “Access the Internet with your phone’s data connection” and also select “Use a direct, higher speed connection to reach your Internet Service Provider (GPRS, 1xRTT)” [ Screenshot ]. Click “Continue”.

Then, in the Username/Password screen, leave the username and password fields blank, and enter *99***1# for the GPRS CID String. For the modem, click the dropdown menu and select the custom modem script, “BlackBerry 8300”. And finally, select “Show Modem status in the menu bar” and then click “Continue” [ Screenshot ].

Upon successful completion of the device configuration process, the “Congratulations” screen will display: “Accessing the Internet using a high speed wireless data service (e.g. GPRS) from your wireless operator.” — Excellent. Click “Quit” to seal the deal.

Connect to the Internet via BlackBerry

With everything properly connected and configured, we are ready now to connect to the Internet. Click on the small ‘Modem Status’ (telephone) icon in your menu bar and select “Open Internet Connect…” [ Screenshot ].

Within the Connections dialogue box, select the Bluetooth tab and populate the form fields with the following information:

  • Telephone: wap.voicestream.com (T-Mobile) or wap.cingular (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Username: guest (T-Mobile) or WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Password: guest (T-Mobile) or CINGULAR1 (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Screenshot ]

All set? Click “Connect”! If everything went according to plan, your Mac should be using your BlackBerry Curve as a Bluetooth modem and you should now see the “Connection Status” dialogue box, indicating connectivity [ Screenshot ].


  • 1 For Cingular/At&T subscribers: According to the customer service department, unless your plan specifically supports tethering, tethered connections will only work until the system catches on and blacklists your device (only as a tethered modem). Also, the representative assured me that pre-blacklist connections would not be billed.
  • 2 These are the devices used for the production of this tutorial. It may be possible to connect via alternate devices/software with similar features.
  • 3 Different carriers provide different data/internet access plans and thus have different connection credentials (e.g., username, password). While covering every different plan is waaay beyond the scope of this article, the tutorial does provide connection credentials for both Cingular/AT&T and T-Mobile.

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281 responses to “Wireless Internet: BlackBerry Curve as Bluetooth Modem for OS-X Mac”

  1. Perishable 2007/07/29 9:47 am

    Squished, in my experience only 1 in 50 AT&T reps actually have any clues..

  2. Gautam, to use a curve as a bluetooth modem on a windows PC, you need AT&T Communications Manager 6.3. It was just released and supports the Curve.

  3. WAHHAAA! AT&T Support fixed the mistakes that the rep made and tethering is finally enabled properly. This was posted from a tethered curve ;-)

  4. Squished what did AT&T charge you to add the tethering onto your plan? Was that the only thing you changed to get it to stay connected for more than 2mins?

  5. Yep, that was all I changed. I used isp.cingular with the account: ISP@CINGULARGPRS.com and the password: CINGULAR1

    Before that, I could use WAP for about 2 minutes, and ISP wouldn’t connect at all.

    It adds about $15/month to the contract… but the office pays for it ;-)

  6. Sorry for the comment stacking…

    I still have the issue where after one connect, I can’t use it until pulling the battery. I’m going to try and use a serial port sniffer on the PC side while running AT&T Comunications Manager to see what exactly they are sending before and after the connection.

  7. I’m wondering if there is a bug in the Curve modem script for OSX. I had no trouble connecting via Bluetooth through my Blackberry Pearl using the original modem script; but now using my Blackberry Curve and the revised script, I am only getting the one or two minute connection others are complaining about.

    Any thoughts out there? I don’t know anything about modem scripts to spot an issue.

  8. Perishable 2007/08/15 9:52 am

    The 8300 modem script is essentially the same as the 8100 modem script. Along with the name of the file and a few shameless comments, only one line has been changed from the original. Near the top of the script there is a line that indicates that the user is “Connecting via BlackBerry 8300.” (Note: this is a recent change, so your 8300 script may still read “..8100.”)

  9. deseguin…

    I had an 8100 on T-Mobile that worked every time on the Mac. Was your 8100 on AT&T, or a different provider? I’m trying to figure out if the bug is with AT&T or if it is specific to the 8300. There is something that goes catatonic in the 8300 while the Mac is talking to it. The bluetooth serial connection is fine, but it is like the modem emulator in the Curve crashes. If you close the bluetooth serial connection, and then reopen it, the hayes AT emulation runs, and it can connect, it just can’t transmit or recieve anything to the ISP.

    The hayes emulator in the 8300 also appears to have a bug in that it doesn’t consistantly respond to the +++ command, nor does it properly hang up with ATH. I can replicate that with Z-Term on the Mac. Hmmm… That reminds me to tinker with hardware flow control in ZTerm to see if the Mac is losing track of a CTS or RTS transition over bluetooth.

    I have read that 10.4.11 may make changes to the modem driver… I’m curious if it will help us out.

    It drives me nuts that on the PC, it works fine (from bootcamp.)

    Next up to try… limit the number of simultanious connections in the browser. I think the PC has a lower number of simultanious connection by default, and I can simulate that with Firefox on the Mac.

    I wonder if Perishable uses Firefox???

  10. Perishable 2007/08/19 8:38 am

    Squished, I love it!
    Given your advanced technical skill, I would be surprised if you don’t figure it out.. ;)
    Keep up the great work!

  11. August Klotz 2007/08/29 9:16 am

    Thanks for the sweet toot. Here are some gems harvested from comments left in forums and other blogs:

    1. wap.cingular sometimes works as an alternative to the default number, *99***1#, especially when experiencing the error message that says: “Could not negotiate a connection with the remote PPP server..”

    2. If you are having difficulties connecting with the default AT&T access credentials, an alternative is available for GPRS Internet service:

    Access: ISP.CINGULAR
    Password: CINGULAR1

    3. If you are tweaking the modem script on a mac, it is possible to remove the .txt file extension by summoning the file’s Info panel and deleting the extension via the Get Info > Name & Extension window.

    Hopefully, this information will help people in their efforts to stay connected..

  12. I’m having the same problems others have reported. I’ve followed all the instructions above. In the past I had no problem using my T-Mobile Pearl with my MacBook. Now I’m using my new AT&T Curve and I can only get it to connect for a few min. then it drops. In order to reconnect the only way I can get it to work is to pull out the battery and then it only stays on for a few min. AT&T and BlackBerry tech support have been no help to me. Any ideas are more than welcome!

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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