When Nazley and Dr Azmi wrote the first article on PalmOS GPRS connectivity, we didn’t realise that it will cause us so much trouble later on. While the majority of users connected successfully after using the above mentioned article as a guide, a few users failed after various attempts. Those who failed, wrote to us for help either directly via e-mail, or indirectly through the egroup or through the forum, therefore making us realise that it is not an easy task after all.

The type of failure varies from one person to another. Some could connect successfully but could not browse while others failed at the log-in stage.

Those who failed at the log-in stage received various error messages. The most common one vaguely refers to a fault at the PPP setup. A few received mesages saying that their GPRS setting is incorrect. And the weirdest error message must be the one that stated the dialling string is too long!

Initially we thought it was mostly due to a different OS, since when we wrote the article, both of us were using OS4. But now both of us are using OS5 machines and both of us could connect and browse the Internet using GPRS! (after much trials and tribulations, of course 🙂 )

So we decided to come up with this article, hoping that somehow that it will reduce those calls for help 🙂

What You Should Do (Checklist)
  • Subscribe to GPRS with mobile telco. (How?)
  • Ensure that the service is activated by the telco.
  • Configure your mobile to the configuration as given by your telco.(How?) Digi ; Maxis ; Celcom
  • Connect to internet via GPRS using your mobile phone first.The setting on the phone is crucial. Make sure it is configured properly and the APN is set to the following configuration;
    • Digi Prepaid/Postpaid – diginet
    • Maxis Postpaid – net
    • Celcom – celcom.net.my
  • Test it out. Make sure that it is possible to surf from the phone first! Make sure the correct profile is at profile 1. If not, please take note of the profile number and read the next section first.
  • Ensure that profile is the default/activated profile.
  • Then when successful, configure your PDA using the settings from here.

The above advice does look like common sense but most of the problems can be solved by following the above instructions meticulously. For example, some telcos state at their SIM card retail boxes that their cards are GPRS capable immediately upon first use, but usually you have to call them first to activate it. Some promises that it will be activated within 2 hours after notification, so these trusting poor souls thought that it was their fault that they couldn’t connect. Turns out that the staff at these humongus telcos have yet to activate the GPRS service. Therefore check it out before trying to troubleshoot, since it will prevent a lot of heartaches.

Common Errors & How To Rectify Them
  • phone setting APN
  • phone not configured yet
  • phone setting – profile/CID arrangements
  • PDA – number to dial wrongly set
  • multiple GPRS setting on one phone
  • syntax error on the PDA
  • Celcom and the username/password blank story

Some members couldn’t surf even after 4 months of trying. They could connect but couldn’t browse. Turns out that the APN of the phone GPRS profile was wrongly set. Therefore please check the APN of the phone GPRS profile and ensure that it follows the above settings. Such a simple error, yet the aggravation is terrible! This tend to occur since telcos neglect to mention that on their website. Therefore users that blindly follow their telcos instruction on the respective website tend to have this problem.

Please make sure than your phone is GPRS capable and that you could surf GPRS from the phone first. The PDA will utilise that setting on the phone, therefore that must be working first.

Please remove any unnecessary GPRS profile from the phone. Just install the one that you want to use. Try to install at profile 1, if not, take note of the profile number and read further.

Please change the dialling number accordingly if your selected GPRS profile is not at profile 1 at the phone;

  • if at profile 1 then dial *99***1#
  • if at profile 2 then dial *99***2#
  • if at profile 3 then dial *99***3# and so on and so forth.
  • For T|W there is no number to set since it will dial *99 automatically.

For those that are subscribed to more than one telcos for GPRS services, such as our X-treme member KuDean from Shah Alam, who subscribes to both Maxis Postpaid GPRS and Digi Prepaid GPRS, then some minor modification was required. KuDean set the Digi GPRS profile as profile 1 and Maxis GPRS profile as profile 2 on his phone. Therefore the network configuration for Digi GPRS will dial *99***1#, while for Maxis GPRS will dial *99***2#. Another X-tream member from Kuantan, PedangTimur also uses a similar setup, enabling him to use both Digi Prepaid GPRS and Maxis GPRS on his T|T and T39m.

If you keep getting the “PPP Setup Error”, then go through the configurations again. Even a single syntax error can cause havoc. It usually occurs at Prefs/Connection/Your Connection/Details/Init String/. I myself omitted a single letter and I couldn’t connect. Luckily Nazley notices the mistake when we were troubleshooting together while researching for this article.
Celcom states that the username/password must be left blank. If you do that for PalmOS PDAs, the establishing of the connection wont be initiated since there is nothing for the PDA to send. Instead for username, type “g”. Leave the password blank. Upon logging in, it’ll ask for password. Just click OK.
What You Should Not Do
  • Don’t bother to connect your PDA for GPRS if you’re using Hotlink. Hotlink GPRS service is limited to WAP and MMS. Upgrade to Digi Prepaid instead.
If you’re not a Tungsten|T user, do not install the Phone Link Updater . It is only useful for T|T users especially for those using the SMS application. But make sure only the correct phone driver is installed, do not install the other drivers. Otherwise it might block your PDA from successfully connecting to a GPRS service. I know that the Phone Link Updater is supposed to make your GPRS connection easier but since it doesn’t have the configuration for Malaysia, so why bother?
  • Under Prefs/Network/Your GPRS/Details/Script/, do not add anything there. Leave it as it is!
  • For Clie NX70/73/80/NZ90 users, do not install TnSilkChanger since it will prevent a successful connection for GPRS (& also for GSM and wi-fi!). If it is installed, then change to “Default SilkSkin”. Otherwise you wont be able to receive or send data.

Why? I don’t know. Ours not to reason why, but to do and to try 🙂

Start Afresh

As we stated earlier, we only manage to connect to GPRS using our OS5 machines, after much trials and tribulations. We ourselves initially failed to connect to GPRS even after going through the above checklist. Since other users managed to log on via GPRS using OS5 machines, we ruled out the possibility of an operating system issue. Then after going through members postings, we noticed that more people using Ericsson/Sony-Ericsson mobile phones managed to get GPRS connection. Therefore we thought it was related to the type of phones. This was proven wrong when we still cannot get connected using an Ericsson R520m!

We decided to do the a hard reset on our machines, reconfigured our phone as the above checklist and also reconfigured our PDAs …. And it WORKED! We manage to get connected with the following combination:-

  • Sony-NX80V/G via Siemens ME45 & Ericsson R520m
  • Zire71 via Siemens S45 & Ericsson R520m

This result suggests that there were other applications that were blocking the connection in our previous attempts. So we started to eliminate the possibilities one by one.

Nazley found out that the incorrect setting of the Tungsten phone link updater was the culprit. If you use the wrong driver then the GPRS connection will fail. GPRS connection was successful when the correct drivers were installed. For Dr Azmi, the culprit was the TnSilkChanger.

Therefore if the reader is still unable to connect successfully despite complying with our checklist, start afresh! Backup your PDA, do a hard reset and reconfigure the GPRS connection. You’re sure to succeed as we have discovered. Even from Kuantan has managed to solve his GPRS problem by starting afresh.


It is possible to connect to GPRS. Some effort is required but it is not impossible, with the right tools and the right guide, you guys can do it. If you still can’t do it despite all this, then you can turn to the GPRS experts within Palm-X. These are the X-treme guys within Palm-X who have the right kind of experience. Their names are within these articles. Among those X-tremes whose name has yet to be mentioned are Jiwa (Celcom/NX80V/T68i), Hafeez (Celcom/T|T/T68i) and many others.

Otherwise you can come to our regularly scheduled BTM. As PowerBoy can testify, by turning up for BTM, we solved his problem at our first attempt.

Nazley & Azmi

Author: Dr Azmi Mohd Tamil

I am a lecturer in Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia since 1996, teaching in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. My main interests are gadgets and cycling. You can connect with me at Facebook.