Whilst in the UK recently I bought a 3 Mifi with a Pay As You Go SIM for £69. They also had the Novatel Mifi but it was only available with Vodaphone on a contract. So I decided to go for the offering from 3. I had read that it was unlock-able and had many more features than 3 were allowing it's customers.
As soon as I got home after my trip to the UK, I started researching what I needed to do to unlock the unit. Pretty much everyone was pointing to http://dc-unlocker.com for the relevant software. You have to purchase credits for the unlock code and 15 are required for the E5830 at a total cost of 15 Euros. The only issue is that it can only be done on a PC running Windows. After some testing I found that it was perfectly possible to run the unlock software and the firmware upgrades, using VMWare Fusion running Windows 7 as the guest OS. Once unlocked, you can do everything else from the Mac, using the web interface that is revealed after applying a firmware update.
Each carrier in each country has a different APN (Access Point Name), you need this information when using another carrier's SIM in the Mifi. Here is a useful site with all the most common carriers by country and the relevant APN info: APN List
I did find a lot of information but it does seem to be all over the place, so in an attempt to consolidate the information here are the steps I took to unlock the Hauwei E5830 and update the firmware, so that it is possible to change the APN via the web interface.
On a Windows PC or using VMWare Fusion running Windows go to the following URL:
Click the "Free Download" link
Now run dc-unlocker_client-x.xx.xxxx.exe (the Xs are the version number which was 1.00.0486 when I wrote this) and install it.
At this point, plug in the Mifi using the USB cable it came with into a USB port. Then power on the Mifi and wait a few moments for it to be recognised in Windows and for the drivers to install. If you are using VMware Fusion, make sure you are in Windows when you plug in the Mifi, otherwise it will try and come up on the Mac side. If this happens, go into Fusion and select Virtual Machine from the menu, then USB, then click "Connect HUAWEI Mobile Connect" if it already says "Disconnect HUAWEI Mobile Connect" then the Mifi is connected and working.
Now run the DC-Unlocker client from the icon now on your desktop. (Make sure that the 3 Wifi Manager software that you may have installed, is not running before starting DC-Unlocker)
You can now click the search button:
When you are ready, click the Buy-Credits button, this will take you to the DC-Unlocker website. You will need to purchase 15 credits to unlock the HUAWEI E5830 you can see the list and credits required here: Unlock Huawei E5830,E5832,E583x,E5836, E5837
Select PayPal and fill in you details:
Credits for: New User
User name: Create a username that does not already exist.
E-mail: Enter a valid email address as you will be sent a password.
Credits: Enter 15 as this is the number required to unlock the Huawei Mifi.
Go back to the DC-Unlocker client which should still be running:
Click the Server button shown and fill in the username and password you were sent in the email.
Click the "Check Login" button to make sure everything is working.
That's it, you can now use your unlocked 3 Mifi with other carriers and in other countries using locally obtained SIMs. There is a further step to make it fully usable and that will be in a follow up post that I am working on now.