To Tether or not to Tether Your Smart Phone

There are some strong Pros and Cons to tethering your smart phone to your laptop. With cellular carriers modifying their data plans with different tiers of available data usage, the real question is how you intend to use the data.

If you are unfamiliar with what exactly tethering is, read on and I will briefly explain. Most of you have seen the USB aircards or wireless broadband cards as they are often called. This gives you a data connection while you are not plugged in or using Wi-Fi.

Many people are unaware they can do the same thing with most smart phones. Many times there is an additional fee to tether.My carrier charges an additional $25 a month for this feature.

Here is a link to Verizon’s data pricing. You can see how they have several different options. Here is a link to a data calculator that may be helpful to guesstimate your usage.

What happens when you choose the tethering feature, you will eat away at the designated amount of data whether you are surfing the web from your smart phone or on your computer using your smart phone as a tethered modem.

While connected to your computer, you will use much more data than of you are working from your phone. The reason is, a great number of sites will offer up a mobile view if the site senses you are viewing from a mobile device.

Using your smart phone as a modem:


  • Saves money on your monthly plan versus having a separate aircard.
  • If using your phone as a wireless hotspot, there is no additional parts to forget.
  • Usually the same speed as an aircard.


  • Some devices need extra software to tether (e.g. Blackberry Desktop Manager).
  • You may use more data than you think while on your laptop.

If you tend to use more data than some tethering/data plans allow, you can always look into a stand alone aircard. These will do everything you need, but the main benefit will be you will have a data limit independent from your phone.

I personally choose tethering over having a separate device and larger fee for my data while mobile. I do not tether a lot, so I do not need an entirely separate device.


What are your thoughts on the aircard vs. smart phone tethering choice?


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