I used the low-tech trial and error approach. I'm not an IT person, just an inquisitive and nosey user who won’t take no for an answer – (especially from a MACHINE). So I don't understand all that command line stuff. But here is what I did on Ubuntu 12.10 and Samsung N102 netbook -
First, plug in the dongle, and check for the little green light.
Now, at the top left right corner of the screen are the icons like volume, time, settings etc. There is also the Network Manager. It appears as a little pie wedge, or a little computer screen if it’s connected to any wifi network. Click on it, and it will present a list with all the network related stuff.
At the bottom of that list is the option "Edit Connections." Select that one.
This should bring out a box titled “Network Connections.” Now THAT box has five tabs – Wired, Wireless, Mobile Broadband, VPN, DSL
Select the Mobile broadband tab and then select the “Add” button.
This will now bring up a wizard called “New mobile broadband connection.”
That wizard should pick up your dongle – mine is the ZTE CDMA Tech. If you see your dongle click “Continue.”
Now it asks you to select your country or region. ZIMBABWE IS NOT IN THE LIST. So just go to the top option which is “My country is not listed” and continue.
Now you have to enter your provider manually – just enter Powertel in the box provided and continue.
Now you get a confirmation screen showing you your device name (the ZTE we saw earlier) and your provider, which you have just entered.
Click Apply and a whole new dialog box now appears. Its title should be “Editing Powertel connection”
It SHOULD be showing some space for number, username and password.
The number is #777 but the username and password are blank.
Enter the username and password – the ones on my dongle were 444 for both fields. I’m sure those are the defaults, so if you had previously changed them, use the ones you know.
There should also be a tick box for “Connect automatically” Be sure to select that. Now click save.
This takes you back to the “Network Connection” box, and Powertel should now be appearing in the Mobile Broadband Tab.
Close the network connection box. It should start trying to connect. Also open that Network Manager icon at the top right corner, and now Powertel should be included in the list. You can also click that to connect. When it’s connected, that Network Manager icon on the top right should now appear as a typical cell phone signal indicator i.e. the signal bars. Once that is showing, you are in business. Open your browser and enjoy.