Remember: Your Android 2.2+ Device Can Be Used As A Hotspot

Remember: Your Android 2.2+ Device Can Be Used As A Hotspot
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One of the handy features of phones and tablets running Android 2.2 and later is that you can share their Internet connection with other devices (a process often known as tethering). However, it seems that not everyone selling those devices is aware of that.

Lifehacker reader Jason contacted us to say that he’d been told by Telstra sales staff that the new Motorola Xoom he’d purchased had the hotspot capability permanently disabled. That sounded unlikely to us, and Telstra confirmed that while the hotspot feature is switched off by default (a sensible move), it can be enabled by any user (under Settings –> Wireless and networks –> Mobile hotspot). Jason subsequently got back in touch to say he’d independently realised this was the case, and that the salesperson he talked to was, to put it bluntly, full of BS.

The moral of the story? I suspect that some sales staff have been confused by earlier issues surrounding tethering on the iPhone, and restrictions applied by some carriers in the US to both Android and iPhone devices. However, that generally hasn’t been the situation in Australia.

Optus is the only company that tried routinely charging for iPhone tethering down under, a practice it quickly abandoned. Vodafone tried banning tethering on its Infinite plans, but also backed down after a customer outcry.

So whatever popular mobile you have, chances are you can use it as a hotspot (though that doesn’t apply to the iPad; only iPhones can be used for tethering, though iPads can be tethered to them). And remember: just because the support staff say you can’t do something doesn’t absolutely make it so. Always double-check.


  • Precisely the reason I ordered the Wifi-only version of my tablet~ if I want to use internet on-the-go, I can just tether my 3G connection on my phone wirelessly to my tablet… much more preferable than paying an extra 3G bill per month.

    Same goes for people who prefer iOS~ make a hotspot with your iPhone’s 3G and save money and get a wifi-only iPad.

    The only downside really is that it’s a bit “fidgety” to go through the menus to find the “turn on wireless hotspot” button on your phone.

  • Being a devout Samsung Galaxy S user (& still love it!!), it saddens me to report wireless tethering is the only thing my Samsung Galaxy TAB is good for!!

  • When I got my Samsung Galaxy S through Optus, they bundled in a 3G broadband dongle that shared the data allowance of my phone plan. I suspect they were unaware of it being completely superfluous.

  • Makes the Amaysim $40 plan even more attractive. 4GB of data (which of course can be shared out to other devices if you have an Android 2.2 handset) on top of unlimited landline and Aussie mobile calls.

  • Yeah, this is true for any sales assistant in nearly any shop of any type.

    Unless you’re in a specialist shop, take everything someone says with a grain of salt. Most people who work these jobs care little about what they’re selling and it always pays to do your own research first.

  • So glad to see this is the first story to pop up, as I am currently online tethering through my phone down the pub….Awesome…..Awesome and Anti-social. 😉

  • !!Good to remember!!

    – Your provider gives you free access to social sites so DO NOT waste your quota by using hotspot and accessing them through another device (laptop).

    – If you can ‘manage’ to use the sites on your mobile device then refrain from visiting them through the hooked device as this downloads a lot of unwanted content (ads, pop-ups, pics).


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