T-Mobile Hotspot Woes

28Jan08

airportexpress.jpgBeing a geek I tend to travel with more gadgets than clothes. The first two items I grab are my Macbook Pro and my iPhone. I then proceed to pack the many cables and power bricks required to keep me online for the duration of my trip. Booking a hotel with complimentary wifi is high on my list of priorities. However, for a number of reasons I left booking my trip to Macworld a little late this year. The penalty for this was a severe lack of choice when it came to hotels. In the end I opted for the Grand Hyatt on Union Square which advertised paid wifi access through T-Mobile hotspots.

Big mistake. The first thing I like to do when my 16 hour trip is over is to drop in on the family via video iChat to let them know I arrived safely (and to baffle my kids with the fact it is still daylight where I am but dark where they are). After handing over my credit card details to T-Mobile I was sent a password. It didn’t work. So I called them and following a 20 minute wait on hold the support rep ironed out the problem. Great. I’m online. Now for that video chat.

Nope. No can do. Several of the obligatary ports are blocked (which is apparently T-Mobile policy). A text chat will have to do. By this point I can feel the jetlag kicking in. Its only 4pm but my body thinks it’s midnight. So I grab my coat and my iPhone and decide to grab some lunch. Scared witless by the many stories of four digit phone bills I decide to sync my mail using the wifi hotspot before leaving the hotel rather than suffer the absurdity of roaming data charges. My iPhones browser asks for the T-Mobile password. It fails. So I make another call to T-Mobile support. This time I am told that only one device can be used with my hotspot account and the MAC address of my laptop has been recorded. i must pay another $9.99 a day if I wish to use my iPhone too.

Now I am seriously pissed off and I ponder the situation over Burger King Whopper that makes the UK version look like a hamburger happy meal. Following my waddle back to the hotel I rummage through my collection of cables and dongles and pull out an Airport Express and ethernet cable, boot up my Macbook and turn on ‘internet sharing’. Following a little configuration I manage to set up a wireless hotspot of my own broadcasting an SSID of ‘Free T-Mobile Wifi’. With jetlag now taking control I hit the sack, sleeping well in the knowledge that half of The Hyatts residents are making good use of my $9.99 per day T-Mobile access. zzzzzz.

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16 Responses to “T-Mobile Hotspot Woes”

  1. 1 Jon

    I have been wanting to do this as well, how did you set this up? I have a Macbook Pro with internet sharing and and Airport Express connected via ethernet.

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