Ask LH: Can I Just Use My Phone For Internet Access?

Hey Lifehacker, I am a single user of both phone and internet. I am thinking it makes sense for me to get rid of my landline and broadband internet and perhaps just buy a smartphone that does everything. I use the Internet mostly for emails, web browsing, Skype, YouTube, Facebook and share trading activities. I also have a smart TV that I thought might be useful to hook up to internet. What’s the best way for me to go about this? Thanks, Overwhelmed

Viewing picture from Shutterstock

Dear Overwhelmed,

We can understand the temptation here — if your mobile phone already has a good 4G connection, then why pay for a separate service for a home internet connection? Unfortunately, for the scenario you describe, it’s almost certainly not going to be economically viable.

As we’ve noted in a couple of recent Ask Lifehacker queries, the problem with trying to use mobile broadband as your sole internet connection is that the data allowances are much less generous. It’s almost impossible to get more than 15GB a month without spending a fortune — far more than paying for a home internet connection.

What really makes this an unlikely scenario is wanting to watch streaming shows on your smart TV. Doing that will require a considerable amount of data — you can easily go through 1GB or more watching a movie. Add in some extra YouTube watching and Skype chats and you’re likely to exceed your data allowance all the time.

Mobile broadband is a really handy option, but it doesn’t yet offer a cost/volume ratio that’s remotely competitive with having an ADSL line. That might change in the distant future, but for now, in the circumstances you describe, a naked ADSL deal is going to serve you much better — and cost you less — than just trying to rely on your phone.


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