Many people do not realize that you can use your data phone and even some regular phones as a modem to access the Internet on your laptop or even desktop computer.  This is referred to in the industry as “tethering” and is a great way to get access to the Internet when you do not have a wifi or other connection available.  However, the process can be a little complicated and it requires a somewhat advanced knowledge of the phone settings as well as downloading certain programs to your computer to make a successful connection.

T-Mobile has traditionally not charged extra for this ability and allowed their customers to tether using only the data feature that gives the phone itself to access the Internet.  The trade off was that T-Mobile did not support the ability.  That is, you could not call in to receive instructions or troubleshoot the connection between your device and computer.  Instead, you were given an address for an online forum.  You were pretty much left to your own devices and relied on other customers forum posts to help you tether properly.

Last week, T-Mobile announced that tethering your device will no longer be included in your data phone feature.  Anyone that is tethering will receive a message on their device stating that they must add an additional $19.99/month feature to continue using their phone as a modem.  This means also that T-Mobile now supports the ability and will help you set up your device if you need it.  So, if you use your T-Mobile phone regularly as a modem, be prepared to add an additional twenty bucks to your bill.

Additionally, T-Mobile, like many other providers, now reduces the speed of your Internet connection after you reach 5GB of usage.  If you reach this point on a data device, your speed will be slowed to no more than 50kbps.  If you are using a “Webconnect” stick on your laptop, the speed will be reduced to no more than 100kbps.  You will receive a text message in both cases when you reach or exceed the 5GB limit.

If you are wondering if these changes violate your contract, you can find the information in paragraph 10 and 17 of the Terms and Conditions.

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