Tethering, or a personal hotspot as it's sometimes called, can be an enormously useful way to get devices, such as laptops and tablets, online when there's no Wi-Fi available.
All you usually need to do it is a 3G or 4G smartphone with a data allowance and it's simple to setup. Read on for everything you need to know, including what tethering is, what it can be used for and how you can activate it.
Tethering a 3G or 4G phone means connecting the phone to another device so that the device can use the phone's connection to get online. This can be achieved by using a USB connection, and have the phone act as a replacement for a regular modem or router.
Tethering can also be achieved using a wireless Wi-Fi connection or Bluetooth, depending on the connectivity specifications of the equipment that is to be used. Generally if a device supports Wi-Fi you'll also be able to tether your phone to it wirelessly.
A smartphone makes for an ideal candidate for tethering. Modern smartphones have great connectivity capabilities, making them very capable replacements for regular modems and helping people to get more out of their contracts.
With a smartphone, tethering can go further. The smartphone can act not just as a modem for one computer, but as a hub of connectivity for a whole range of devices all at once. Therefore you can use a 3G or 4G smartphone as a replacement for a fully-equipped internet router. Depending on the phone and the contract, high speed web access can be provided to many devices at once.
For people who like to streamline their subscriptions to services such as web access, multi-tasking with their smartphone as a web hub can be a great way to cut down on organising extra services that they may not need, and reduce the amount of extra equipment that they need to access the web.
It is also very useful for people who need web access on a mobile basis, like laptop users who need to use the internet with programs that they cannot use on a smartphone. Tethering allows them to combine the capability of internet access on the phone with the computing ability of their laptop, removing reliance on internet hotspots and instead allowing full access to the internet anywhere there is a phone signal.
But in short if you have a device that doesn't natively support mobile data there could be an occasion where you'll want to tether your phone to it. Be it to work on your laptop during a commute, or to stream videos on a tablet or even play games on a portable console.
Generally you'll be tethering portable devices, since it's when you're out and about that you're least likely to have Wi-Fi access. But if the internet ever goes down in your home or office tethering your phone to your PC could be enormously useful.
Tethering with a 3G or 4G smartphone from Three is simple. All the user needs to do is hook up their laptop, computer or other internet compatible device with USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi with the smartphone, and the device will usually automatically get connected to the high speed internet.
The exact process for creating a personal hotspot will vary from phone to phone, but usually you'll find a tethering or 'mobile hotspot' option in your settings screen. Activate this and your smartphone will start broadcasting a new Wi-Fi network, which other devices can see and connect to. In order to increase security you'll be able to add a password to the network.
All Three pay monthly customers who took their plan out between March 17th 2014 and July 12th 2016 will have tethering included at no extra cost. You'll be able to use as much of your data as you want towards tethering, unless you have unlimited data, in which case it will be capped. You'll find full details in our in-depth guide to tethering on Three.
SIM Only contracts taken out from July 15th 2014 until July 12th 2016 will also have tethering included, however if your contract started before these dates you'll have to pay £5 for 1GB.
From July 12th 2016 onwards Three split its plan types in two, offering both Advanced Plans and Essential Plans for pay monthly and SIM Only. If you want to tether on a plan taken out from ths date you'll need to take out an Advanced Plan.
Pay as you go plans don't include tethering on Three.
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