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- Verizon mobile hotspots let you connect other devices to the internet via your smartphone or a Jetpack standalone modem
- Watch out — there’s a limit on data used by tethered devices, and it can go quickly
- You may be able to use a hotspot to get internet service in your home, a good idea for those with limited connectivity otherwise
A mobile hotspot allows you to use your smartphone as a kind of Wi-Fi connection that you can carry anywhere, and wherever you have a signal, there’s internet connectivity for other devices – your laptop, tablet or gaming console. It’s sometimes known as “tethering.” The connection can also be made with a standalone hotspot device, which Verizon calls a Jetpack. Either way, a hotspot provides extra flexibility by sharing your Verizon mobile data, and with the speed of 5G, where available.
Best Verizon mobile hotspot plans
Plans for new unlimited accounts include:
- Verizon Start Unlimited: 10GB hotspot data/mo.
- Verizon Do More Unlimited: 15GB hotspot data/mo.
- Verizon Play More Unlimited: 15GB hotspot data/mo.
- Verizon Get More Unlimited: 30GB hotspot data/mo.
If you exceed these data caps, Verizon slows the speeds considerably, to 600 Kbps, for the rest of the billing cycle, and asks you if you would like to purchase a “data boost,” which is 5GB more, for $15 with Shared Data plans, $35 for Unlimited Plans or 50GB for Unlimited with 5G Ultra Wideband Hotspot Data (for the 5G Jetpack).
It also offers options for those who want to use the Jetpack standalone device. The Jetpack MiFi 8800L will run you $8.33/mo. for 24 months or $199.99 up front.
If you have an Unlimited phone plan, you can add it for $20/mo., and if you have a shared data plan there’s a $10 monthly line access fee.
Those prices are in addition to the price to buy the actual Jetpack device.
If you don’t have a phone with Verizon, you can use the Jetpack by itself with these options:
- Sign up for a single device plan. That’s $10 for 1 GB/mo. with autopay and paperless billing or $15 without.
- Choose a data-only plan. Plans start as low as $20 for 2 GB/month and have data amounts that go up to 100 GB. The monthly line access fee is $20.
- Choose Standalone and pay $75/mo. with autopay and paperless billing or $80/mo. without for Unlimited.
Can a Verizon mobile hotspot plan replace your home internet?
Maybe. Many consumers who live in rural areas may find this an attractive idea if they have limited access to internet connectivity.
Two factors come into play: how much do you want to do online and how fast do you want to do it? If you use your internet for light-to-medium applications, like reading emails, streaming music and watching a few YouTube videos, then a mobile hotspot plan could be for you. If you use it for heavy-duty work, such as videoconferencing or streaming 4K or HD movies, it won’t be enough to replace your home internet.
When Verizon calls a plan “unlimited,” they aren’t referring to hotspot data use. The unlimited plans have a data cap, and after you reach it, you’ll either find the connection speed seriously slowed, or you’ll have to buy more data in blocks.
If your wireless phone signal at home is weak or unreliable, you may not be satisfied with a hotspot’s performance — they use the same signal.
How to set up your Verizon Mobile hotspot
On an Apple iPhone:
1. From the Home screen, press Settings
2. Press Cellular
3. Press Set Up Personal Hotspot
On an Android phone:
1. Press Settings
2. Press Network & Internet
3. Press Hotspot & Tethering
4. Select Wi-Fi Hotspot
5. Move the slider to Bluetooth Tethering
From here, you set up your devices just as if they were on any other Wi-Fi network.
A Verizon hotspot can be very useful, whether it allows you to access the internet remotely with a laptop while away from home, or makes internet service smoother in a home with limited service through the usual means, such as cable, DSL or satellite.
The only caveats are that data plans are quickly drained by the demands of streaming HD or 4K video, and that the costs to operate a Verizon mobile hotspot can add up, making it less economical than it first seems.
Note: You may see some references online to Verizon’s offer of 15GB of extra data at no cost during the earlier days of the COVID-19 outbreak, but that offer has now expired.
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