Using O2 ZTE MF100 Mobile Broadband on Mac OS X Lion

A few days ago I took the leap and upgraded my Macbook Air to OS X Lion.  After a seamless (and typically Apple) upgrade process, I was enjoying the benefits of an even more refined operating system.

However, one of the first things I did was test out my mobile broadband – and there the problem began.

I have an O2 mobile broadband dongle, the ZTE MF100 USB stick. When I originally installed it a small application called O2 Mobile Connect installed and worked a treat for connecting to the O2 service.

After upgrading to OS X Lion the application crashed as soon as it opened – I assume because of a change in an API somewhere. After hunting around the O2 site (and Google) I could find no update on getting the Mobile Connect application to work on Lion, or even where to download it.  It would appear that O2 have ditched supplying the ZTE dongles in favour of Huwaei branded sticks.

Anyway, I was damned if I was going to lose my mobile broadband (and I certainly didn’t want to uninstall Lion), so here’s how I eventually got the stick working:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on the plus sign to Create a new service
  3. Choose ZTEUSBModem as the interface
  4. Name the service O2 Mobile Broadband (or something recognisable)
  5. Set Telephone Number to *99#
  6. Set Account name to 02web
  7. Set Password to password

Note that this is for Pay Monthly Broadband – I think the details are different for Pay & Go customers.

Key step: set DNS server to

And hey presto, I now have mobile broadband working again.

Hope this helps anyone out there trying to get it working.

28 thoughts on “Using O2 ZTE MF100 Mobile Broadband on Mac OS X Lion”

  1. Sam, You are a star! I went round in circles with O2 Guru yesterday (he pointed me to the Windoze configuration even though I explained it was for a Mac!). Simplez.


  2. Thanks Sam, lifesaver, cheers. Everything else seems fine with Lion so this was a big help to me, appreciate you sharing

  3. Sam

    Excellent – many thanks. O2 were completely useless with this problem, and when I checked to see if Vodafone were doing any better, they were ‘working on it’ and hoped to have it sorted by ‘October’. Why they simply cannot tell people to do what you have is beyond me!!! Well done

  4. I am trying something very similar with the Sierra Wireless Compass 889. A couple of quetsions:

    1. Did you install the 3G Watcher software as well?
    2. Is that an “O” for orange in “O2web” or a zero? Upper or lower case?

    1. Hi Neil,

      1. No, I didn’t install 3G Watcher software
      2. The ‘O’ is for Oscar, not a zero. I think it is case insensitive, but I’m using lower-case

      Hope that helps!

  5. Sam. Your tip on the ZTE USB modem is exactly what I need, but I can’t figure out where/ how to create the new service you mentioned in System Prefences.
    I have Lion installed, and admit I’m new to Apple and MacBook so not too familiar with how to change things in the operating system.
    Could you tell me idiot steps to set up the service?
    Regards Harry

    1. I think the missing step is when you have opened System Preferences to click on the Network icon.

      Let me know if this works for you and I will update the post.

  6. I have exactly the same problem, but I can’t follow the instructions here – or maybe I’m misunderstanding.

    When I click the plus sign in Network, my options for ‘interface’ are wifi, Bluetooth DUN, VPN, PPPoE and 6 to 4 (the same with the modem not plugged in). I assume from your post above that I should see the name of the modem – but I don’t.

    Any advice? Thanks.

    1. Hi Duncan,

      Are you running a fresh install of Lion or did you upgrade? Don’t have my Mac to hand right now but I’ll check later today.

      1. Hi Duncan,
        I guess the original O2 installer must have put the interface in somehow – have you made any progress?

      2. Got new mac air lion already installed exact same problem as duncan, were you able to resolve the problem and connect with the dongle eventually.

        please reply

  7. Shuggil, thanks man! I had a similar issue after upgrading to Lion and thankfully came across your post while searching for solution on Google and O2 site. Thanks!!

  8. hi shuggill,
    thanx for the tuto that works for me. but i have another usb modem from another operator, i must set the APN (acces point network) to make it work, the problem is that i can’t find a place where i can set my apn.
    just don’t ask about what operator because i live in Morocco 😉

    thanks again

    1. Hi Med,

      By APN do you mean the number the modem dials? I know that there is a Telephone Number field in the Network Preferences dialog.

  9. I’m new to MAC’s but this worked perfectly for me, just one more question…

    When I put the o2 dongle into the USB port it tries to start the O2 mobile connect software which fails (I can then connect using the network preferences window) however it always opens an error window which states ‘Mobile connect quit unexpectedly’.

    Is there any way to make this error go away permanently so that I don’t have to dismiss it every time?

    Equally is there a way I can get the new network service to start automatically when the dongle is plugged in?

    Thanks to anyone that might be able to help.

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