The Pros & Cons of Tethering Your Phone

Written by kimberly turtenwald
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The Pros & Cons of Tethering Your Phone
Your cell phone can attach to your computer to serve as a modem. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

While some people use cell phones simply as phones, others use their phones for far more, such as browsing the Internet. However, some of these people would prefer to have a bigger screen to browse with. Some cell phones can be tethered to a computer, serving as a modem and giving your computer access to the Internet through your cell phone provider.

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Convenience

Being able to use one device for multiple purposes is convenient. Even if you still need a computer or laptop for tethering, it eliminates the need for purchasing another broadband connection and possibly some hardware associated with that service. Some cell phones may even be able to be tethered to a router, allowing more members of your household to use the connection. Using your phone as a modem also allows you to connect to the Internet anywhere that you have a signal on your phone.

Cost

Some companies allow you to tether your phone to other devices for free. Other companies charge a small fee for the service. This is because of the increased cost of the data transfers that are likely to occur because of the tethering. However, the costs that some phone companies charge is less than you would pay if you were to sign up for another broadband service, such as DSL or cable. Other broadband services also typically charge for wireless, which would add to the cost.

Damage

If you do not tether your phone properly to your computer or other device, you run the risk of severely damaging your phone. Some companies will not cover your phone under warranty if it has been damaged due to improper tethering. The damage to your phone will not likely cause you to lose the ability to use your phone, but it may damage the ability of the phone to receive updates sent by the phone company.

Compatibility

Not all phones will have compatibility with the type of computer that you have. If your computer is not compatible with your computer, you would need to spend the money on a new computer, which would likely be more expensive than paying for another broadband service. The best option is to do your research and find a phone that will work with your computer if it is available. If one is not available, it may be best to skip the tethering.

Service

The Internet capabilities of your phone while it is tethered to your computer may not be as strong as they would be by just using the phone's browser, especially if you are using it through a router. In addition, you must keep in mind that some phone plans have a limit on data usage. Using your phone as an Internet source for your computer is more likely to rack up the data usage and possibly cause overage charges if you have a smaller data plan.

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