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Device in question - Huawei HC156 (what it says on the packaging)/HC1260 (what it says in lsusb).

I CAN connect to the internet with it, but I can't change modes between 1x, EVDO, Hybrid. The option to do this, it seems, is available only in the Windows application bundled with it, and I have absolutely no clue on how to do that on Debian.

So far, the solution has been to start Windows, use the app to change mode preference. The change then shows up in Debian. Is there no way to do it from Debian itself?

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The answer is somewhat obvious according to the formulation of your question:)

You can switch the modes with AT^PREFMODE=n command, where n is 2 for plain CDMA2000 (1x), 4 for EVDO and 8 for hybrid mode.

The command may be executed in any VT102 terminal emulator, f. e., minicom (usually minicom -D /dev/ttyUSB0) or even with echo.

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