How to use a T-Mobile hotspot

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Dec 6, 2020 — 4 min read

A mobile hotspot can be a useful way to connect all your devices when you're away from a Wi-Fi connection.

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  • A hotspot is a great tool if you do not have a Wi-Fi connection and need to do work or stream a movie from another device
  • T-Mobile offers hotspot data with three of its main plans
  • Though hotspots can be helpful in certain situations, they are not necessarily a substitute for internet service at home
  • If you plan on using your hotspot for certain activities, it’s important to learn how much hotspot data you’ll need, and at what speeds

Have you ever been in need of an internet connection from another device but didn’t have a Wi-Fi connection or another internet connection? This is where a hotspot could come in handy. A hotspot is when you can set up your mobile device to serve a physical location where people can connect to the internet, similar to a Wi-Fi router. 

With a hotspot turned on your T-Mobile device, other devices can connect to it. And, it can help you if your Wi-Fi is down and you need to get work done. Currently, there are several deals available at T-Mobile, like on the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 5G for up to $950 off. 

Best T-Mobile hotspot plans

If you want to ensure you have a wireless plan with a hotspot for times when you might need it, then you’re in good hands with T-Mobile. That’s because the three main T-Mobile phone plans come with hotspot capability:

Essentials: This plan is $26/mo. per line and is one of the cheapest mobile hotspots. It has great features like unlimited talk, text and smartphone data, unlimited texting abroad and 5G access at no extra cost. It offers 3G mobile hotspot data, which offers tethering at max 3G speeds. This would be a good plan if you want to save money and don’t really plan on using a hotspot, but would like to know it’s there just in case.

Magenta: This plan is $35/mo. per line and includes features like data and texting abroad, Netflix and free texting and one–hour in-flight Wi-Fi. For hotspot data, Magenta offers 3GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot data. This plan is great at a middle-tier price point, where you’ll get a reliable hotspot connection whenever you’ll need it. This is good for people who need to do work on the road or watch a video while traveling.

Magenta Plus: This plan is $43/mo. per line and offers 20GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot data. This would be ideal for someone who frequently uses a hotspot and can’t afford to be in a situation where their hotspot accessibility runs out. It could also be great for travelers or even someone who wants to use their phone as their main point of internet access (assuming you don’t need it all the time).

Can a T-Mobile hotspot plan replace your home internet?

If you’re wondering whether a hotspot plan could replace your home internet, perhaps to save on another bill, know that it’s not the most ideal situation. If you connect to the internet a lot to watch videos, work online, etc., your hotspot data can run out quickly. And, before that happens, your phone’s on-device usage will take priority over the hotspot, it will start to get very slow. That’s not considering that the Essentials Plan at 3G speeds won’t necessarily be that fast. 

However, if you don’t need internet access that much for work and only use it occasionally, then it could be worth it to do this with T-Mobile’s Magenta Plus plan. Ideally, 20G will last about 240 hours, so keep that in mind if you do decide to go this route.

Alternatively, T-Mobile does sell separate hotspot devices, which might be a better option than a cellphone, depending on your needs.

How to set up your T-Mobile Mobile hotspot

Want to turn on your T-Mobile mobile hotspot? You’ll just need to follow a few steps and, remember, it may look a little different depending on which type of phone you have (i.e. Apple or Android).

To set up T-Mobile’s Mobile Internet for HotSpots:

  1. Verify Wi-Fi and Smartphone Mobile Hotspot are turned off.
  2. From any home screen, tap Apps > Settings.
  3. Under “WIRELESS & NETWORKS,” tap More to expand the menu.
  4. Tap Mobile hotspot and tethering > Wi-Fi Hotspot.
  5. When the “Set up mobile hotspot” screen appears, enter your password.
  6. Tap the Wi-Fi HotSpot slider to turn on.
  7. When the “Mobile hotspot is activated” message appears, tap YES to learn more or tap SKIP.

After you set up your hotspot, anytime you need it, just use the slider or the button to turn it on or off. Be sure to turn it off when you are not using it, as to not waste any of the data. 

The bottom line

Hotspots are a great feature on any device and cellphone plan. They can give you access to the internet when you do not have a Wi-Fi connection, allowing you to send that email, do some research, stream a video or lend the internet to a friend who needs to check something on their device.  

Although T-Mobile has some great phone plans with hotspot data, it’s not necessarily a substitution for an internet setup at home, unless you use the internet infrequently. Either way, hotspots are super helpful when you need them, and as all the main T-Mobile plans offer a hotspot, it’s worth considering taking out a phone plan with them or switching to T-Mobile from another carrier.

By Hana LaRock

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