With the release of iOS4.3 from Apple came the Personal Hotspot capability – allowing you to use the iPhone or iPad as a WiFi HotSpot and share out your 3G connection with other devices. This is a feature that’s been available for a while on Android, but now its iPhone-tastic too…
Except it isn’t, on Android you can simply turn it on and off it at will, no problem, no setting up, but on the iPhone it has to be enabled by your carrier first. And on most of the UK networks this costs money and requires a separate data allowance. How much? Read on…
Vodafone – to enable iPhone Personal Hotspot on Vodafone you have to buy a Tethering Pack which costs£15/month giving you a separate 2GB of data allowance. You also need to stipulate if you want to use VOIP as that’s a different (still £15?) package.
Orange – you are required to add a tethering bundle in addition to the data included with your iPhone plan. These bundles are available at £5.10 for 500MB, £10.21 for 1.5GB, £15.32 for 3GB and £25.54 for 10GB. More information here.
T-Mobile – Prior to the iOS4.3 update T-Mobile customers could use regular USB/Bluetooth tethering for free if they added the Mobile Broadband (Web ‘n’ Walk) Plus (£12.50/month) or Mobile Broadband (Web ‘n’ Walk) Max (£22.50/month) add-ons. After upgrading, some customers found this no longer worked under WiFi Tethering, however a T-Mobile spokesperson was quoted as saying this was a system error and Mobile Broadband Plus and Max add-ons do allow the Personal hotspot feature to operate. (We’re still trying to get something to link to that confirms this.)
O2 – The recent exception to the rule – there is now no additional cost to enable the Personal Hotspot feature on O2. Having recently changed their policy, you can now add your data bolt-on of choice (100MB at £3/month, 500MB at £6/month and 1000MB (1GB) at £10/month) and have the Personal Hotspot feature enabled for free. Your tethered usage comes out of your main allowance, but 1Gb is fine for all but heavy users.
Note: The information above is as accurate as can be established at the time of writing. Some information is not published on the carriers websites and has been ascertained by talking to Customer Service reps.