Tethering 101
For the uninitiated, tethering is the process by which you can connect other devices (tablets, laptops, etc.) to your smartphone and access its 3G connection on those other devices. Tethering allows you to use the smartphone as modem to provide a broadband connection. So if you’re in an area where there is no Wi-Fi, you can tether your laptop to your phone for internet access. Generally you would do this using Bluetooth or a USB cable.

Tethering, its limits and accessibility, is in a bit of a transition (and up for debate) at the moment. There are the carriers and the users, and unfortunately this is one area where they don’t particularly see eye-to-eye.

Carriers Don’t Like Tethering

Unsurprisingly, the carriers aren’t the biggest fans of tethering. According to them, heavy users can tie up the network, slowing down speeds for everyone. Citing these reasons, this year both AT&T and Verizon got rid of their unlimited data plans and began implementing a ‘Tethering’ option – for an extra $20 a month (that’s on top of what you’ll pay for a regular data plan) they add an extra 2GB of data to your plan and allow you to tether. There are ways, mostly for Android owners, to tether for free, but it’s becoming more difficult as carriers crack down on unauthorized tethering. Recently, heavy users who are not on the Tethering Plan have been receiving emails and texts from AT&T and Verizon warning them that if they don’t cease their unauthorized data usage, they will be charged the extra $20 tethering fee each month.

Many customers claim that the carriers just want to make even more money off of their users and if you’re paying for a data plan, it should be up to the customer to decide how they use that data.

Easier to Tether Android Phones

iPhone users will find tethering to be a bit of a headache. Apple’s strict control over their App Store means that you have to jailbreak your iPhone in order to then download tethering apps from unauthorized app store Cydia – the most popular being MyWi. According to internet lore there are a couple of ways to tether without jailbreaking, but I have never heard a reliable account of those working.

For Android users it is a bit more straightforward. There are several excellent tethering applications available – PdaNet, and EasyTether being the most popular. These were both removed from the Android Market in the Spring after the carriers complained to Google, but thanks to Sideloading they are easy enough to get.

Your Carrier Is Watching You
All in all, if you want to put in the time and accept the risks, tethering is a good option for anyone who travels frequently or for those of us who need to work from our laptops, with or without Wi-Fi. If you want to pay for this ability, that’s the easiest (though most expensive) option. You can also take the risk of tethering for free. If you go this route (and of course Retrevo doesn’t encourage it) you should know that no one is entirely sure how the carriers are tracking the unauthorized users – but keeping your data consumption low is a good way to stay off of their radar.
Need an accessory for your smartphone? Don’t forget to check out Retrevo where you’ll find reviews and manuals for all popular gear and gadgets including cameras, HDTV, laptops and more.

Trackback URL for this post:



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Great man.

Great man.

thats odd

you should check that website http://payday-loan-cash.angelfire.com will help :-)

buy tramadol broo

Wec www.canadagoosejakor2012.com Ubjzrvnb

Gmakrfsc Canada Goose Jackor Oylzxsynx
Uhxwrszxbo Coach Outlet Store Online Plspopgjh

Tethering / "Hot Spot"

I recently got the iPhone 4 and there are quite a few Wi Fi signals around me on my block that Im picking up but,
of course, every one of them are password protected. I noticed one post stated about the "Hot Spot": "two taps
and its up and running". Yea, I can get that far too, but the phone wont recognize any Bluetooth devices that I've tried.
My MACbook sees the phone, but the phone dont see the MAC. Another device, said the phone doesn't have the compatible
services to pair up. I've never yet been able to get on the web using that "hot spot" feature and I've
tried several times while reading the directions... Pain in the arsf if you ask me... Certainly no 2 taps and
you're in.


PS We have an AT&T store about a block away and I can go sit in the parking lot and use wi Fi there all I want, but it wont
quite make it to my house. Is there a mini antenna I can construct to help pick it up like a boost? Or one I could purchase?
Thanks for any info I can receive everyone...

BTW Im at:
rollamatt at the hotmail


RE: "Why not be more constructive in your feedback. Contribute"

Contribute? That's rich. How many people here who read Sarah's headline comment: "Android phones easier to tether" thought she was saying exactly that? (raise your hands). See? Everyone did. And that's absolute baloney. I don't want to turn it in to a rally, but you make misstatements like that in a tech-blog and you better be prepared to have your head taken off, because it couldn't be farther from the truth. Sarah clarified what she meant, done. But thank you Gladys Kravitz for policing this forum for us all and saving this group from my inexcusable comments. Don't know who Gladys Kravitz is? That's even better.…

And it's an attitude like

And it's an attitude like that - "be prepared to have your head taken off" that I think she was objecting to. Why should that be the case? I honestly don't understand why that is the attitude of so many people who comment on blogs. Disagree by all means, it WAS a misstatement, but what is to be gained by your being rude about it?

Ccmtinvba Coach Factory Outlet Ekg

Awpbmepg Canada Goose Jacka Bpoimuj
Chhd Coach Outlet Store Online Gkshu


Right, sorry for not being clear enough guys, and thanks to those that offered constructive comments. I thought I'd made it clear in the 'Carriers' portion of the article that authorized tethering was available if you wanted to pay for it - on both iPhone and Android. It's a carrier versus software issue - the ability is there on the phones regardless, but how you access it varies. The tethering section of the article was meant to address the option of free tethering, but that's my fault for not being clear enough.
My apologies and thanks again for the feedback - keeps me on my toes :)

Tethering with Sprint

I have a Sprint Evo 4G with a "real" everything included plan, and I click on Tethering and "Voila", I'm tethered. This is in addition to the "Hot Spot". I have not added any special Tethering app. From the home screen touch "Menu", then touch "Settings", then "Wireless & networks", then at the very bottom, touch "Tethering". Obviously you need to be connected to the PC or Tablet with Bluetooth or Cable. The manual calls it "Internet Sharing".

Evo 4G

On my Evo 4G the USB tethering is grayed out. How can I turn it on?



Sarah, you obviously don't own an iPhone. Tethering is built into iOS 4.3; two taps and it's enabled and running. It' fast (even on 3G) smooth and seamless. Please do your research better.



"Sarah, you obviously don't own an iPhone. Tethering is built into iOS 4.3; two taps and it's enabled and running. It' fast (even on 3G) smooth and seamless. Please do your research better.


You come off like a tactless boor, Cobey. You have knowledge and talent: Why not be more constructive in your feedback and less self-righteous? Contribute.


Sarah, I think you're out of line here - your lack of research is misleading, and if it is like this all the time - straight out dangerous!

Tethering 101

Do you not consider a WiFi Hotspot tethering? Because i use my iPhone 4 as a "Personal Hotspot", that any WiFi device can connect to and access the Internet via 3G. No jailbreaking, no apps, just a standard feature. I simply went to my AT&T app and changed to the 4GB data plan for tethering ($45), then went to settings and turned on the "Personal Hotspot". I would be surprised if this is news to you because I believe it has worked this way for awhile, but the date on the blog post is 8/31/11, so maybe it is.



Sarah knows her stuff. For people who have been grandfathered in to the unlimited $30 data plan, tethering is pretty much out of the question. If you change your iphone as a personal hotspot, yout $30 unlimited data plan will cease to exist and you will be put on the 2GB per month data plan for $25.00. Thanks but no thanks!


yea i agree i prefered my $30.00 unlimited then tethering that why i deleted the program from my cell phone and stopped.



i have a few of these memos from Att saying they will upgrade my data plan because i did contiune to tether, which would incease my bill $45.00 this was back in june, they have not done it yet. can they upgrade my account with out my conseint? i really depend on my laptop for my business and most of my area does not have wifi.


To be honest, it wouldn't

To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me if there was some loophole in your contract that allows them to increase your bill without your consent. I don't know for sure though, and I know a lot of people have been getting those emails. If there's any way you can reduce your data consumption it might be enough for them to decide it's not worth persuing. Good luck!


If you read the article it is talking about free tethering. Obviously the phone can do it if you pay for the service.


Tethering revisited

Does anyone know how to tether with a standard Sprint cell phone w/ unlimited data plan to a laptop? Thanks.