So I have this 4G+/LTE modem - Huawei E3372, also known as Megafon M150-2 - which is exactly the variation I got.

Huawei E3372 connected to MacBook Pro

Eventually I got sick of its connection management software for Mac OS (the one that comes from Megafon), so I started looking for a way to be able to connect to the internet on Mac OS without it.

About the modem

The modem itself is rather a great piece of hardware.

Huawei E3372

Coming in a form-factor of a USB-stick, it is capable of maintaining quite a high-speed internet connection, and apparently it supports all the international LTE standards because I was using it in several countries without problems.

On top of that it has slots for external antennas and even a slot for microSD card (don’t know what to do with it):

Huawei E3372 antennas
Huawei E3372 opened

Note that it requires full-sized SIM-cards.

I bought it several years ago in Moscow at some Megafon selling point. Back then it cost me just ~700 RUB (10-20 USD?). The reason for such a low price is usually that modems are locked to a particular operator, but in my case surprisingly that wasn’t the case.

If memory serves me well, I did not perform any unlocking operations, and it just works fine with SIM-cards from other operators than Megafon. I must say, however, I never tried it with any other russian operators - the only SIM-cards I was using it with were the ones from norwegian operators (Telia and Phonero).

And it is available for purchase even today:

  • from the very same Megafon, although it is likely to be a locked version (which can be unlocked);
  • an unlocked version on Amazon.

What’s wrong with the Megafon software

But what is wrong with the Megafon software? Well, while it does its job, after some time it started to irritate me for the following reasons:

  1. It installs god knows what to your system, while the only thing you really need is just a modem driver;
  2. In addition to the main application it requires its service to run in the background, otherwise it won’t even start discovering the modem;
  3. It sends some data to different Megafon hosts. I would understand if it was for checking the updates, but why different hosts then? I don’t feel like having yet another spyware in my system;
  4. File Activity tool from Instruments shows some enormous files access by the application and/or service. What could be the purpose of such an activity, I wonder?

So I started looking for a way to avoid using the Megafon software.

How to use the modem natively

The first clue was the fact that the modem works just fine with routers:

Huawei E3372 with ZyXEL Keenetic

There is no need to install any Megafon software on the router for it to be able to connect to the internet via the modem, is there? So why the need in such a software on Mac OS?

After some research I got the following steps (mostly from this great topic at 4PDA and also this SuperUser answer):

  1. Install the driver for Mac OS for the initial modem discovery;
  2. Put the modem into a mode in which it will be discovered by Mac OS as a dial-up modem;
  3. Add a new network service using the modem.

Driver for Mac OS

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve spent quite a some time looking for a driver. Surely, I could use the one installed together with the Megafon software, but there is no way to install only the driver, and I wanted to have a “clean” set-up procedure.

Most of links I found on the internet were dead. Of course I tried looking at the official Huawei’s website, but didn’t succeed there either.

But then in a comment section at some blog I did find a link to the working driver. And it was hosted on the official Huawei’s website! I don’t know how does one find it on his own, but here’s the link.

You don’t have to install everything, the only thing you need from this package is the driver (MobileConnectDriver.pkg):

vasya@mbp:~/Downloads/TOOL-ConnLaucher_11.001.06.00.00$ tree
.
├── About\ Copyright\ Notice.pdf
├── MobileWiFi.app
   └── ...
└── MobileWiFi_Driver.app
    └── Contents
        ├── Resources
            └── MobilePartner.mpkg
                └── Contents
                    ├── Packages
                        └── MobileConnectDriver.pkg

I will be hosting a copy just in case the official link dies like the rest at some point.

After the installation you should get the following thing installed:

/Library/Extensions/HuaweiDataCardDriver_10_9.kext

Check if the modem is discovered in the system:

$ ls -l /dev/tty.HUA*
crw-rw-rw-  1 root  wheel   20,  18 Apr 17 20:56 /dev/tty.HUAWEIMobile-Pcui

Switching to dial-up mode

I’m sure that it’s called something else and not the “dial-up mode”, but I haven’t found the correct name for it.

So, you’ve got your modem discovered by the system. Connect to it via screen:

screen /dev/tty.HUAWEIMobile-Pcui

And try to communicate with it using AT-commands. First I tried to collect some information about the device (first line in each group is the command, the following lines are the response):

AT
OK

ATI
Manufacturer: huawei
Model: MegaFon M150-2
Revision: 21.200.07.00.209
IMEI: SOME-IMEI-VALUE
+GCAP: +CGSM,+DS,+ES

AT^VERSION?
^VERSION:BDT:Jun 10 2015, 19:51:41
^VERSION:EXTS:21.200.07.00.209
^VERSION:INTS:
^VERSION:EXTD:MGF_Dashboard_Win2.3.4_Mac2.3.4
^VERSION:INTD:
^VERSION:EXTH:CL2E3372HM Ver.A
^VERSION:INTH:
^VERSION:EXTU:MegaFon M150-2
^VERSION:INTU:
^VERSION:CFG:1004
^VERSION:PRL:
^VERSION:OEM:
^VERSION:INI:

Okay, and here’s the command to switch the modem into dial-up mode:

AT^SETPORT="A1;10,12,16"
OK

Connecting to the internet on Mac OS

The only thing left is to create a new network service in Mac OS.

Create a new service using HUAWEIMobile- interface:

Mac OS Network, new service

Set the good old mobile dial number *99#:

Mac OS Network, mobile dial-up number

And you’re connected to the internet without any additional software, using only the native Mac OS tools:

Mac OS Network, connected