No Contract Tethering Plans
What's broadband tethering? Generally speaking, when you
tether two things together, you create an attachment between
them. In the world of wireless broadband you're connecting
your cellular phone with your computer or other Internet capable device
like a tablet computer. So why would you want this
feature? Well, it allows you to get Internet access using
a smartphone rather than requiring you to purchase
another wireless broadband modem.
This can be a tremendous
convenience, as well as a cost savings!
How Do I Connect My Phone?
There are two options:
1. Use a USB cable to connect your smartphone directly to your device
(usually a desktop or laptop). This is
becoming a pretty old-school approach, however, is still an option.
2. Use WiFi by turning your phone into a Mobile Hotspot. This
is the more popular, and convenient way to connect.
- As noted, you avoid having to buy a separate Internet
for all of your computers or Internet-capable gadgets.
- If you use the WiFi
Hotspot approach, you can connect multiple devices
- Carriers offer it as an add-on to your existing wireless
plan, which is almost always less expensive than buying a MiFi modem or
other mobile broadband device and paying for a separate plan.
Some carriers even offer it as a free feature, particularly
on their higher priced plans.
- You have your phone and modem in one device, so you don't
have to think about carrying around a separate modem or charging a
separate hotspot device.
- You may experience slightly slower speeds than a dedicated
modem depending on the connectivity you have between your computer (or
Internet connected device) and your smartphone. Though, I
wouldn't consider this to be a huge barrier to a decision, and I've
heard people report to me that the speed they experience is fantastic.
My personal experience with it is that the speed is very
comparable to a dedicated MiFi device.
- Your phone battery will drain MUCH faster, particularly if
you're streaming content for any period of time, and certainly if
you're using it as a WiFi hotspot. In other words, you'll
always need to consider where you're going to plug in your phone while
you're using it. I know this to be a fact from personal
- While you can see phone calls coming in, you won't be able
to talk while tethering. That said, this largely depends on
the network technology your wireless carrier is using, as well as your
phone's capability to enable the hotspot function while on a phone
call. Most modern phones can now handle simultaneous voice
and data, however, your carrier needs to also support it, even if your
hardware is fully capable. Definitely a feature worth
investigating when shopping around.
Don't forget that tethering consumes wireless data. Most
carriers simply apply the data you use with this connection to your
overall plan data bucket. This seems to makes the most sense
and is the simplest approach. However, you'll want to ensure
have an appropriate data allowance (i.e. bucket of data) when you start
to tether. Fortunately for prepaid users, you won't ever
have to worry about insane data overage charges! That said,
you could find yourself out of high speed data in a given month if you
an appropriate data plan for your usage level.
How Do I Get It?!
There are applications and ways of rooting (Android) or jail breaking
(iOS) your smartphone to enable tethering without buying a special
plan from your wireless carrier. However, not only is that
essentially stealing, but most carriers have now caught onto these
loopholes and it's either no longer possible, or they limit the speed
to be so extremely slow that it's basically useless
So how do you get it through normal channels? You'll need to
check with your wireless
provider to see if they offer an add-on. Also, note
that even if they have that option, you'll have to have a phone that
supports it; not all phones will allow you to tether.
Fortunately, for those of you who do not want to sign a contract, below
you'll find a table listing the prepaid wireless carriers that have no
contract tethering options available! Note that some carriers
call it Tethering, while others call it Mobile Hotspot.
- Available only on specified Android phones.
- Included with all eligible devices.
- Included in certain plans.
- Included in Simple Choice Prepaid & Simple
- Included only in $50 & $70 plans.