One of the best features of the modern smartphone is their ability to work as a mobile Internet hotspot when necessary. Essentially, you are able to easily create your own private wireless network, which comes in handy when traveling or if your regular ISP goes offline for whatever reason.

mobile hotspot data usage

When using a smartphone as a hotspot, be sure to pay close attention to your personal hotspot data usage. If everyone connected to your hotspot streams video content simultaneously, expect your monthly data allowance to disappear quickly! With that caveat in mind, let’s take a closer look at using a smartphone as a hotspot.

Make Sure Hotspot Capability is part of your Wireless Contract

Before using a phone as a hotspot, you need to ensure that capability is part of the contract with your wireless carrier. When signing a new two-year deal, make sure that mobile hotspot is one of the features. It normally is included with most smartphone contracts, but some companies tack it on as an extra, with a monthly price around $10.

If your carrier doesn’t include a mobile hotspot feature as part of your contract, it is a good idea to add that capability on a temporary basis when going on vacation. If you work from home, you may have to add it in an emergency should your regular Internet service suffer any downtime.

Turning on Mobile Hotspot Capability is Easy

Setting a mobile hotspot is easy. On an Android smartphone, simply click on “Settings.” Under the “Wireless and Networks” section, click on “More…” You’ll then see “Mobile Hotspot” listed as one of the choices. When turning the hotspot on, it prompts you to turn off access to any WiFi networks to which your smartphone is connected.

If you get a message saying that mobile hotspot capability isn’t part of your current plan, that may be the case. However, that same message appears if you’ve forgotten to turn on your phone’s mobile data connection. This is typical if you generally access your home’s regular Internet connection on your smartphone.

Always Monitor Your Personal Hotspot Data Usage

When your mobile hotspot is active, make sure to use a strong password, and keep an eye on the number of connected devices. You don’t want any surreptitious access by strangers, so beware when in a public space. As mentioned earlier, using a smartphone as a hotspot is a great way to use up your monthly data allowance so always pay close attention to your personal hotspot data usage.