Mobile internet devices are handy, no doubt about it, but if your mobile phone is on a plan with plenty of data why not use it instead on your tablet or laptop?
I recently advised someone to do this and she saved her and her husband $30 a month. The Telstra rep she spoke to cancel her plan tried her best to get her to keep her Telstra modem – and even tried to get her to move to a higher priced plan! Sure, if you need more data when travelling, get one on a pay as you go plan so it can stay in the drawer until you go away, then top it up to use on holiday. But don’t pay a monthly plan bill for something you may not need.
Firstly, check how much data you get for free each month on your phone plan. Even if you only get 500Mb many Telcos like Telstra have an automatic $10 per Gigabyte top up. If you manage your usage carefully, 2.5Gb or even 1.5Gb a month may be plenty for you and worst case it will only cost you $20 or so extra a month. Do keep an eye on your usage though – Telstra’s 24×7 app is excellent and tracks your usage well and you get a text message when you are at 50%, 85% and 100% mobile data used so no problem there.
Next, set up a mobile hotspot on your phone. It takes a few minutes to do and then a couple of taps to turn on and off again. The actual names of the settings may be different for your phone but it shouldn’t be hard to find them.
- Go to Settings and under Wireless and Networks – tap ‘More’
- Tap Mobile network sharing (or Tethering & portable hotspot)
- Tap ‘Portable Hotspot’
- Tap ‘Configure Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Give your Hotspot a name under ‘Network name’ like Annes Phone or something then enter a password with at least 8 characters in the password box (Tip: Tick ‘Show password’ to check it). If you forget it later when you want to connect a device to your hotspot later, just go to the setting page and tap show password.
- Now tap the button to turn on your Portable Hotspot.
See images below as a guide.
Now, you need to turn on mobile data on your phone if it isn’t already on.
- Go back to Settings – Wireless and Networks – More
- This time, tap Mobile Network
- Turn on mobile data
You may have a ‘Mobile data’ quick setting in your Shortcuts bar along along with WiFi, Bluetooth settings – you can just use this instead of going into settings.
That’s it. Now, on your tablet or laptop you will see a new WiFi connection whenever your phone hotspot is active. Just connect too it with the password you entered before, save the connection and if you like, tick ‘Connect Automatically’ so you don’t need to manually connect every time.
To turn on and off from now on just go to Settings – Wireless & Networks – Portable Hotspot and turn on and off there. Actually, turning it off is easier as in your notifications you should see ‘Tethering or hotspot active’ just tap that and you go straight to the Hotspot setting page.
As I’ve said – keep a close eye on your data usage to ensure you don’t go over your monthly free data – or by more than you are happy to pay for. I have found that paying for a Gb extra data now and then is still cheaper than paying for a monthly data plan for data you may not use on a separate device.