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You don't have to pay to use your Android phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Whether or not you do is between you and your god.
Android: The Wi-Fi hotspot feature on Android phones let you use your mobile data on multiple computers or tablets at once. The only problem is a lot of carriers have restrictions to prevent you from ...
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229 comments
 
Yet another reason carriers are assholes.
Eivind Husby
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I have a really simple and efficient trick for not paying extra to use my phone as a Wi-Fi Hotspot: Not being in USA :D
Finally, us Europeans have an advantage :p
Michael H
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Been doing this for ages!!
 
Nothing about living in Europe is efficient
 
I've never understood how carriers have tricked people into thinking that it's acceptable to charge you more money to use the same data that you're already paying for.  Especially now that they've nearly all gotten rid of unlimited data.
 
+Chris Vaught Never claimed that things where efficient here. Usually everything is just late ...
The fact that I see this little thing as a great win should really speak to how late and/or wrong everything else is here (in the tech world) :p
 
Not accustomed to these limitations. I live in Canada and I never heard of hotspot deactivation. At least, I never ran into it.
 
+Eivind Husby Don't worry about it, we'll come to grips with it eventually.  Maybe European telecoms will somehow charge into the U.S. and kill off ours...

Hey, a guy can dream, right?
 
+Christopher Lee Hehe. I work for a cell provider her in Norway and from my perspective here, everything is moving fast to pure data. I doubt there is a big difference in the rest of the western world. I give it 10 years before almost everything is pretty much just data in some way or another. VoIP, IM, mail and so on. This in turn should pretty much also force true unlimited data plans and the providers will have to find other ways to make a bigger profit.
 
Verizon Wireless includes tethering free on their Share Everything plans.
 
+Eivind Husby To anyone with half an eye, we're going to pure data.  To the carriers, anything but that.  U.S. telecoms have tried to throttle VoIP for years, and AT&T's CEO is still deliberating as to where or not to add them to Apple's FaceTime service.
 
I don't always use my mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, but when I do, I name it "FBI Surveillance Van" to freak people out, and give myself a little laugh. Anyone else do the same?
 
+Christopher Lee Yes, there is no doubt that the carriers try to avoid pure data as long as they can. The reasons are simple actually and by no means as "immoral" as many probably believe. The profit margins are already extremely small on data. If they loose everything else and can't find another source of revenue it will mean the death of smaller cell providers (which would include my job). I'm not saying this shouldn't happen though. This is just the way it is and progress is way more important than a company surviving beyond a real reason for existing.
Just wanted to remind people (in general) that companies have to make a profit to keep existing :p

+Daniel Price I like it. Added freakout bonus by having it show up just sometimes :p
 
+Daniel Price People would have to be pretty dumb to think an FBI surveillance van would name it's hotspot that. If they were silly enough to use a Wi-Fi hotspot at all.
 
+Daniel Price Excellent idea.

+Eivind Husby I'm not disputing that they need to do something, but U.S. carriers are relying on older business models just as much as the next guy.  The success of many MVNOs is telling in and of itself in what (many informed, and many budget) customers are interested in.
 
+Christopher Lee Indeed. I'm in no way claiming that they are handling this in the smartest way they can.
Sometimes the seem to take cues from the music and movie industry and just strap themselves to what they know and love and refuse to keep up with reality.
I guess that a bleak reality in need of big changes in business models might not help :p
 
I was just searching for this exact topic.  I used the Elixir 2 widget and it works perfect on my Galaxy S3 for AT&T.  Also a great app on its own. Thanks +Lifehacker !!!
 
+Eivind Husby I'd just like to see some company shake things up.  At least the music industry (grudgingly, moaningly, but eventually) gave up on most DRM schemes.  But carriers are so entrenched in the U.S. and the barriers to entry are so high, I can only see two or three players with the power to bring around pure data.  Okay, maybe four, but none of them are on speaking terms (per se).

Those four would be Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft (in no particular order).  I think each of those four have the clout to cludge up an MVNO-type data network.  Whether they'd do it though...
 
My Samsung Captivate using CM9 and AOKP had this feature broken. I then got the devil kernel. Everything is right in the world again.
 
This just shows you how greedy the carrier companies are.
 
T-Mobile has been laid back about hotspots for years.  I would say, if as the article suggests you "abuse" hotspots and get your contract canceled, come on over to Tmo where the surfin's just fine!
 
I pay more than enough with Verizon for just 4gb of data. It should be MY choice on how I use my limited data plan.
 
I've had free hotspot since my droid eris... And my iPhone 4 does it free too, with mywi
 
Try OpenGarden?  I haven't used it myself but people seem to like it.
 
So if you pay for 2G/month of data, or whatever cap they put on it, why should they care how the hell you use it? 

We need Google Wireless.  Maybe they can do this after they have driven TW, Fox, Verizon, and Comcast out of business with Google Fibre? (keeping fingers crossed)
TJ L
 
I've been doing this for two yeafs now
 
+James Karaganis Ja, ich kenne.  But T-Mobile isn't exactly huge in the United States, and they're continuing to slip (although they have the most popular solution for the unlocked Galaxy Nexuses right now).  Not that Sprint's doing much better...
 
I bought a Galaxy Nexus off Google Play a few weeks ago (love it). I use Simple Mobile's (its really just T-Mobile) unlimited everything $40/month to month service and have no problem tethering my laptops. I had a 3gs before though and oddly enough I use get texts from Simple warning me about my data usage. Even though I use far more data now.
 
+Kosma Bakier You can bring your own phone into the Simple Mobile month to month?  They don't make you buy their crappy phones?
 
Why doesn't apple do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Root your phone than u can use wifi hotspot for FREE.
 
+Kosma Bakier If T-Mobile had just one or two more towers near my college, I would have happily switched...sad days.  I just upgraded a testbed Galaxy Nexus at work to Jelly Bean and all I can do is...stare....

(before anyone comments, I promised I wasn't going to flash anything onto my phone.  It's alright on tablets but I want my phone rock solid, and the CDMA ROMs are good, but not quite there yet)
 
wow that's sad, Carriers should bugger off, land of the free? meh, I pay $20 for 25gb of unthrottled internet and can do whatever I want with it - and I'm in Ukraine. What's even funnier is that my connection works so well I am often told people have never seen a hangout on a mobile so clear.
 
Can you secure this 'hotspot'  I am thinking about going to T-Mobil prepay which is the only current prepay offering 4g for about the same as what I am paying with Cricket.  I am thinking 4g is the only level of service practical for a hotspot.  I currently have a 4g Clear Hotspot (not bad for $27/mo) but it works most places but not all T-Mobil might fill in the gaps.
 
Use FoxFi with the proxy enabled they can't see you using wifi because the phone treats it like browsing data.
 
Since I'm in Canada, we don't have the same providers. I use WIND, which you might have heard of before. I use a Pay-per-use plan, if I want or need to use data, I pay for what I use.
 
Here in Nottingham England, most of us on most carriers get free wi fi as part of our contracts. While some get a limited download on it also for free. Bt openzone, cloud etc. While on my t mobile contract I get unlimited internet all the time including unlimited download also.
 
The funny thing is, ever since I got the Nexus 7, I have only really used my phone as router. I always grab the tablet first and keep the hotspot option on all the time lol
 
+Rodney Moore If you fancy a little project, I used 3 modems on a openwrt flashed asus wl500gp router and it allowed me to use various services  all from the same wifi connection. QoS handled choosing the connection. they run 5v 2.5 amp so you can run it off a cig lighter in your car with an adapter.  
 
I have tried many different apps to tether and it works for my laptop, but will never even show up in the list on my Nexus 7. Even on my laptop the icon next to the network is not the usual one, so I'm guessing it's something with how my phone broadcasts.  Any idea how to get around this?
Like +Mark Lastiwka I would almost entirely use my phone as a router if I could get this to work.
 
I've been with t-mo for years and was able to tether with an HTC sensation 4g just fine even after they started charging for tethering. Foxfi worked on the HTC OneS, but I have not been able to get it working on the SGS3. I think it's ridiculous that they charge extra for something that we already pay for.
 
Doing this with a rooted Android phone. Not paying a Wi-Fi tether double tax. 5 GB of data is 5 GB, whether I use it slowly or all in a day. To paraphrase a certain lump-sum payment company, "It's your data, use it when YOU need it."
 
Tried the Elixer2 option with my Google Nexus S. WiFi hotspot is set up but my Nexus 7 won't connect
 
Fox Fi is every effective and easy to set up!
 
Jelly bean has built in native WiFi hotspot tethering .
 
My s3 has tethering also. It works fine without any problems whatsoever.
 
+Christopher Lee Straight Talk Mobile uses both At&t towers and T-Mobiles. They have the same unlimited everything plans as Simple Mobile for $5 more a month. When you get a sim card from them they give you a choice of either Tmobile or At&t compatible.
 
A byte of data is going to cost the carrier the same amount of money (close to nothing) regardless of what device its on. As far as I'm concerned, I already paid for my data connection and charging me to use the exact same data on another device should be illegal...maybe instead of inventing ways to prevent people from tethering, they could use that money to increase the capacity of their network.

T-mobile uses DPI (deep packet inspection) to check user-agent strings. As far as I'm concerned, this alone is a violation of my privacy. I get around their tethering blockade AND keep my data private by routing all of my data (including DNS requests) through a VPN...Suck it T-Mobile.
 
+Jonathan R Yes. You can use any phone that works on their (T-Mobiles) towers they won't ask you yo buy a new one.
 
+Will Wilkinson I'm actually from Toronto, Ontario. There are unlimited plans available to you from some of the newer, smaller carriers. The problem is they're limited to certain areas. Most of the ones I've seen only worm in the Greater Toronto Area and if you leave that area you'll be charged roaming fees. Sucks...
 
this only works if your phone doesn't natively have the option for using the wi-fi hotspot. The android setting is hidden by the tel-co but not disabled.
 
Guys guys. Root your phone and deroot your carrier. And BTW, how is this still news. So yesterday but still use it to this day....
 
Try foxfi in app store.
You can use your phone as a hot spot without being charged.
 
It's seriously a good thing :) my HTC wildfire which was out around the time of the apple 3G, and it took apple two additions to get it on theirs
 
Never understood the restriction. A lot of carriers will sell you a dongle that you can put a sim into, so what's the difference? I'm paying for the internet aren't I?
Carlo W
 
My Desire HD from Orange in the UK was modified by them to break the WiFi hotspot function. When i called them, they said i can have it enabled for £1 a day!!! Needless to say i told them to blow me. Its got ICS on it now (I rooted it and put a custom ROM on that very weekend), and I can WiFi or use Bluetooth tethering. Neither worked before.

These carriers are criminals.
 
You have to pay to use your phone as a hotspot?
 
I'm with Tmobile, my older android phones came with unlocked hotspot app. Now I have the GS2, and when I tried to activate the hotspot it wanted to charge me $15 per month for the feature. Needless to say the phone is now rooted, with hotspot capability. 
 
Its simple in the usa to do this. I have tmo and a 2gb unlimited "what ever they say" and i wanted to wifi tether and they said i needed a plan for it. With the upgrade to ICS on the galaxy s2 they put in the app list " tethering provisions " so i rooted and removed it along with most ads and put up a data firewall for those pesky push ads in free apps and Bam! I do what I want....
 
App Called FoxFi. Works wonders. Its restricted for sprint customers I believe though.
 
+Jake Weisz But starting at $50 for the first Gig, they'll more than make up the difference on/in the back end!
 
+Rodney Moore the T-Mobile 4G prepaid is only 100mb at 4g speed, after that they jump you back on 2g speed.
 
+Dereck Jones Not really. The new plans more or less average out to being the same as before. Higher data users will pay more, lower data users will pay less. The only reason tech blogs uproar about higher costs is because most tech blog visitors are on the higher end of the spectrum.

For my family, the new pricing is exactly the same, but we had two tethering plans, both of which we no longer need. We actually will save $60/month once we go ahead and move over to Share Everything. (Haven't done it yet, it's on the to-do list.) Other people who have complained about the new pricing, thought it was horrible, till I pointed out they would pay exactly what they're paying now. People putting 15 GB on 4G are going to be paying more, but that's because they shouldn't have been burning 15 GB on 4G in the first place, IMHO.
 
same with the I phone or do you have to pay to use the I phone as a hot spot ??/
 
Why should they be able to charge more for the data if I make it available to a tethering app? It is still the same data they are gonna throttle if I go over 2 gig from the "unlimited" plan they sold me. The do not refund me when I do not use 2 gigs in a month. As they have their largest profits ever with the spectrum we the people lease them. Greed and arrogance.
Seth K
 
Technically it is illegal for them to control how you use your data. That was a stipulation Google and others demanded from the government when they sold off spectrum to the wireless carriers. However, they have been doing it anyway for years and getting away with it because they have more money than you.
 
+Seth K - I'd like to believe this but don't have a reference. Do you?
Jay Tee
 
Hmm.....I disagree.  Whether or not you do is between you and your wallet!!  Leave God outta this.  He/She is innocent!!  LOL
 
Yeah Sprint is fucking everybody updating all android operating systems softwares desabling the hotspot feature on the phones so no other hotspot software you install works
 
In Colombia, if you have Tigo or Comcel then that shit is FREE!!! BEAT THAT!
 
Rather pleased that carriers in NZ don't have this restriction
 
But so far Sprint is the only carrier that has true unlimited data, no slowing down like t mobile or freaking extra charge like at & t or verizon!!!
 
My Galaxy Nexus from the Play Store is being used on T-Mobile, and I've never been charged for tethering. Same with my wife and her G2. Stock Android FTW?
 
We need to start a mobile revolution and stand up to the carriers. We should only have to pay for what we use. We should be able to tether without having to pay more money. We should be able to take our phones to other carriers when we are fed up with our current carrier. The carriers provide a service and they exist to serve us, not their board of directors. Without us, they are nothing. We the consumers put food on their tables and roofs over their heads. It's time they treated us with some respect. No more of this nickle and dime bullshit. The customer is always right.
 
Android has a new OS dew buy January next year the new OS will be 6.0 and will be nicknames cake it will double the speed of Android powed devices and come stock with an app the allows iOS only apps and games to be recoded for Android cake. :) (leaked to me from a member of Android dev team arnd best frends great!) #secrets 
 
So what should i do if another update shows up, should i update out not? fuck tough desition!!!!
 
I use this service without using any third party app all the time and never got charged by my carrier
 
An update should be for an update the word says it all, UP not fucking DOWNDATE
 
I have the gs3 it works for 5 seconds and then i get a message to contact my carrrier for tethering plan.i have us cellular for a carrier..why wont it work?
 
Tethering & wifi hotspots in Australia has always been free, for all phones...
 
WHY WOULD SPRINT DISABLE ALL MY TETHERING ABILITIES ON MY PHONE, THEM FUCKERS WANT $29.99 for that feature, to be enabled on my phone
 
Root your phone and install a WiFi hotspot ap. I would use it at home instead of paying for another plan but 4g is spotty in the area.
 
Won't make the phone carrier happen.
 
Believe i know my phone has the electronic ability to send a transmission over the air that is called hotspot, the phone is not malfunctioning, is sprint that cut the wire for it not to work
 
All the carriers do it, they are all blood sucking greedy vampires.  Soon we will be paying for internet the same way.  Corporate greed at its worst!
 
Just over a year ago i went in to reluctantly buy an iphone. The guy found out i needed this function and that in Canada you had to pay an extra $5/month for tethering iphone. Walked out with the galaxy s with 4g and couldn't be happier with the dicission.
 
Ive installed several good softwares to access the hotspot feature in my phone but,,, no success for example foxfi was good to me til that android ois update!!!
 
Yeah and my unlimited internet slows down to a crawl after an hour I have to rub a 1 gig


Yeah my unlimited internet slows down to AOL speed after you use 1 gig
 
Yes you can see my talk to text him I talk to text
 
When you can see how good my I'm talk to text works


Yep when you can see how good my talk to text works




Talk to text doesn't work worth a crap either
 
Never had a problem with WiFi hot spotting my T-Mo Nexus One on the stock FroYo or Gingerbread or on Evervolv's ICS (which I'm running now). Much love for T-Mobile and N1.
 
Shhhh, keep this quiet; I don't want them blocking it from my phone.
 
The early phones used to let you do this for free. Those days are long gone now.
 
Seriously, I thought EVERYONE did this.  It's like I just read an article that said "You can send something call an e-mail, so it's a letter, but you don't need a pen!"
 
I feel for you guys in the states ive been hotspotting for a long while now and of recently has become much more of a necessity in co with my nexus 7, youre providers need to pull their heads in, you paid for youre data youre entitled to use it as you wish, its like your home isp telling you u can only have wifi connected to one pc at home and charging the rest
 
When can we get a phone from the carriers without it being loaded with all the crapapps, that do nothing but waste space and slow the phone down?
 
My signal (4G) with Sprint is so bad I won't attempt this on my Galaxy II.
 
T-Mobile told me how to unlock my phone for free as well as suggested ways of tethering. This comes in handy for those who travel.
 
It's called getting the Galaxy Nexus straight from Google, my friend. Smoothest experience in my life.
 
I've been sharing my data bandwidth though WiFi from my +Android devices for years, so if you're near me... use away []^_^]
 
You tell me this afterI'm already paying?
 
Tethering is free in canada with all carriers but not allowed on plans under 1 gig for obvious reasons.
 
Wait, you paying for this in USA? Lol
Louis B
 
Uh this feature is available on ios too...
 
Never been restricted in Australia, been doing it for years legally. Always thought it was just a dodgy US restriction
 
On my country company charged me for that.
 
Just downloaded the soon and it works like a charms on the galaxy nexus
 
Carriers are detecting unauthorized tethering and eventually will put a restriction on certain types of your mobile traffic.
 
Lol this have been out since Android 2.2 or 2.3 first launch. some carrier just chose to disable this feature.
 
I have friends who use htc sensation and htc amaze 4g they use there wifi hot spot all the time but i can't use it on samsung galaxy s2(tmobile) without being charged I havent tried it on my galaxy nexus how ever
 
Fuck that we pay an arm n a leg for data any way so should they dictate what we do with it.
 
FoxFi works great on my Samsung Galaxy S with Cyanogen ICS (on AT&T). Love it!
 
Soon google will have GIG internet i can use so i am happy
 
With Share Everything on VZW, tethering is included. 
 
I can do that ?? Didn't know ...!
 
Sprint just locks them all out.  Tried all 3 suggested programs.  I can get a BT DUN or USB connection but no hot spot.  Time to root.
 
This app has been out for over a year.
 
If you have a rooted android, you can go into your system files and disable the data throttle file. This will release you from the hated data limit.
 
Not working on HTC Evo 3D on Sprint
 
+Randy Gardner Jr. Their Share Everything plan is ridiculously expensive. I pay $30 for an older 4gb plan. If I were to convert to their Share Everything it'd raise my bill an additional $40.
 
I think I'm doing this wrong...I have virgin mobile and using HTC evo v 4g and can't seem to make it work but I can get it to turn on etc but no luck....if I want to use the mobile hotspot I guess I have to pay for the service :-(
 
Great, this all trick is now all over the place, its a matter of time now before Verizon comes with a fix.
 
Been doing this since I rooted my first Droid. Unfortunately 3G is sooooo slow it makes me want to punch babies.
 
i like to get wet and skirt on peoples faces
 
Been hard to find a wifi tether that works on a JB ROM... If anyone knows of one that does work properly, send me a dang message! :-P (Verizon, G Nexus)
 
Of course, free hotspot included is why I stick with T-Mobile...
 
I pay for the data survice i should be able to use it how ever i want to. Same goes for my phone, i bought the hardware I should be able to do w.e i want with it.
 
+Ajai Khattri it should be free, its a ripoff when a carrier makes you pay extra for it, 
 
Htc phones suck for this. They make it impossible to use these apps and I have no idea why. If anyone knows how to make this work on a sensation 4g please let me know, and I'm not open to rooting. Thanks, and htc I love you but screw off
 
use foxfi without root on my RAZR max.  a little buggy, but works for the most part
 
Foxfi works great. They even give you work arounds for certain phones. No root required.
 
Just use foxfi it is in the market and free and works perfect to make your phone a hotspot
 
Some carriers have ways of detecting this. In Spain for example most data plans specifically exclude sharing with PCs and VoIP, written in the agreement. They can monitor traffic and know. By checking the user agent on browsers and the protocols if it's VoIP (although VoIP can be tricky if you use certain protocols that are also used for video/audio streaming). So for those data plans, they may be checking the traffic just to slap you on your next bill. I don't see how this is good advice. if your carrier has a separate hotspot/tethering fee, it's most likely because its excluded from your own plan. So you're violating their terms and conditions putting yourself in a not very good position. Some carriers don't mention it or disallow it, so you're good .
 
FoxFi worked on Verizon with a DROID Bionic.
 
Uhh all you have to do is download Foxfi, it creates a wifi hotspot on your phone as well as being free
 
i also like barnacle tether. works well for rooted devices.
 
Well,in my country,Indonesia,we never had any problem activating the wi-fi hotspot feature in Android phones.Guess I just got one more reason to love my country even more..=))
 
Tried to get FoxFi @ the Play Store "not available with your carrier"
 
If anyone should block the wifi you think it would be the cable companys. But i dont have that problem wit my gsm galaxy nexus . Thanks again +google
 
Mobile hotspot isnt the same as your phone using data. Mobile hotspot is far more demanding on the carrier's networks. Most 3g devices can connect 5 others to the internet, and 4g can handle 10... Thats a huge difference. THATS why carriers charge extra. Its like asking why pizza hut charges more for a supreme. Its a lot more product.
 
+Jake Weisz I'm so glad I got in b4 the rape of share everything. I'll quit smartphones b4 I pay that much!
 
I've been using this as my home broadband solution for a while. I have the pleasure of an unlimited data contract which also covers tethering. It does kill the battery though
 
All the fixes mentioned here do not work with 4.1 or 4.1.1
 
android is another player in the movement towards improving the human condition
 
Got to give T-Mobile credit
for at least upping my data to 5gb & only
Charging $5 per line when I added tethering /wireless hot spot.
 
I have been doing it for years now but since I have an unlimited plan that I can't afford to loose I am very careful. I can see why there should be a limit on doing this a specially with 4g and unlimited plans. If people use it to watch Netflix all day long the network will not be able to handle the extra traffic. It was demonstrated by a number of studies that people use more date on their tablets and computers as compared to phones. We need a more robust infrastructure to allow this.
Ed Dich
 
The wifi-hotspot came to my phone since 2.3 Gingerbread and works pretty well. What I hate about this lovely feature of Android is that you can't launch a standalone access point with your phone, you always need mobile data network on! My intention was to use two android devices as a simple babyphone (and I did), but why the hell one needs the uplink for a purely local wifi network? 
 
One issues I see in the USA is the carriers are now watching the data usage and if they catch you you will get charged for it.  
 
u guys r brutally honest...but i respect it in hillary...lol!
 
"Unlimited" is subjective.Clockworkmod no-root tether.
 
Hey, question for everybody. I have an unlocked Nexus 6 that I use with T-Mobile. Because it isn't restricted to T-Mobile do I even need to be paying for it? Or will it work anyways?
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