Surfing On Our Free Sprint Cellphone

We’re supposed to escape to the Poconos this weekend and of course, our biggest question is: will we have internet access?

The house isn’t wired for broadband, but several months ago we, along with many other bloggers, received a free Samsung A920 phone and 6 months free service from Sprint. We knew that the phone could be set up as a modem and had sorta tried before without success.

With R&R approaching, we tried again and were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. Eventually.

We’d been putting this off for a while, having read a story or two about other Sprint Ambassadors having to go through hoops to get the data transfer set up. One guy hit a big snag until they figured out why the network was rejecting him: the phone automatically gets an email address associated with it and his was rejected for profanity. See, there’s an ass in ambassador…

So first we plugged in the USB to phone cable, which hooks into the charge port. We had already downloaded the Sprint PCS Connection manager before but it was convinced our phone wasn’t plugged into the computer. However, when we plugged in the cable, our Dell recognized that some sort of device was there.

This time we surmised that maybe there weren’t proper drivers installed. So we uninstalled the connection program and went to download it again.

That wasn’t as easy as it coud be. We used Google’s “search this site” function on the Sprint website to find the program again. When we reinstalled the software, we made sure to pay closer attention and yes, you have to check a box to install the specific drivers for your phone. Whups.

The drivers unloaded in all sorts of strange ways. We had to keep pressing the button that said it was okay to install software that didn’t match the Windows XP logo. And it seemed like the files were unpacking archives which then had to be unpacked further. Nonstandard install procedure. We also had to let Windows search for software when we plugged in the phone, which we’ve never done before.

Meh. Odd but not a problem.

Finally the software installed. We shutdown the wireless and the ethernet. We opened the Sprint PCS connection and pressed GO.

Within seconds, we were surfing on the cellphone. Trippy 3d boxes exchanged smaller boxes on the front of our Samsung, indicating data transfer. We tested at speakeasy and were getting around 650 kbps. Doable.

Now we just need to find whether there’s Sprint coverage where we’re going this weekend…

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.