How to Use Your Mobile Hotspot

A mobile hotspot, which is also referred to as “tethering,” is used to share your phone’s internet with other devices, such as a laptop, tablet, or another phone. Tethering is a great way to get internet access when WiFi isn’t available. The great news is that all Canada plans are unrestricted and allow you to use your data as a mobile hotspot.

How do I set up a mobile hotspot on my phone?

Most smartphones have the hotspot feature built into the software. Here’s a breakdown of how to tether on iPhones and Android devices. You may not be aware that there are several different ways to use your mobile hotspot. You can tether your device using Bluetooth, WiFi, or a USB. Each method has its pros and cons, but overall WiFi and USB will provide the fastest connections. WiFi is the most common type of tethering method you probably think of when you hear “mobile hotspot.”

Bluetooth vs. WiFi vs. USB
BluetoothLess impact on your battery life Slower speeds, complicated to set up, can only connect one device at a time
WiFiSimple, fast speedsDrains your phone battery
USBOffers the fastest speedsDevice needs USB port

How to use your mobile hotspot on your iPhone

Tethering with your iPhone is simple and easy. Here’s how to set it up:

1. Tap the “Settings” app on your iPhone.
2. Select “Cellular and Settings.”
3. Tap “Personal Hotspot.”
4. Activate the “Personal Hotspot” switch at the top of the page.
5. Tap “Wi-Fi Password.”
6. Enter a secure password for other devices to use the tethering connection.

How to utilize your mobile hotspot on your Android phone

If you have an Android phone, here’s a simple how-to on getting your mobile hotspot set up:

1. On your Android phone, tap “Settings.”
2. Select “Network & Internet.”
3. Choose “Hotspot & Tethering.”
4. Select “Wi-Fi Hotspot.”
5. Activate the “Wi-Fi hotspot” switch at the top of the page.
6. Set your hotspot name and hotspot password.
Once you set up your hotspot, then you connect your device the same way you would connect it to other WiFi networks. Select the name of your mobile hotspot then enter the password when prompted. And voila, you’re ready to go.

Best mobile hotspot plans in Canada

One great thing about Canada phone plans is that every single plan is hotspot-capable, meaning you can use your monthly data to provide internet access to other devices, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Whether you go with a major carrier, such as Rogers, Bell, or TELUS, or a smaller carrier, like Fido, Virgin Mobile, Koodo, or Freedom Mobile, you’ll be able to use mobile hotspot. Just keep in mind, however, that your hotspot is not unlimited—you can use it up to your plan’s high-speed data allowance. For example, if your plan includes 20GB of data, then you can in theory use up to 20GB of mobile hotspot, although you probably won’t want to do that since you’ll likely use your data for other online activities.

What’s the difference between WiFi and a public hotspot?

Although WiFi and public hotspots are similar in that they both refer to ways to gain internet access, there are some key differences between the two. WiFi is commonly used in the home with a router and is generally password-protected. WiFi uses wireless network technology via radio frequency waves to connect mobile devices to the internet without cables. On the other hand, hotspots are a physical location where multiple users and devices can access WiFi. If you’ve ever connected to the free internet at an airport, restaurant, coffee shop, or library, you were using a public hotspot. Hotspots are usually open and not password-protected, meaning multiple people can hop on and use the signal. That said, many cell phone carriers that offer public hotspot locations take safety precautions, such as requiring a password and online registration with the network.

Which carriers in Canada offer public hotspots?

Many different phone carriers in Canada offer free public hotspots all over the country. Most of the carriers have maps on their websites so you can find one near you. Some popular carriers with public hotspots include:

  • Bell: Over 4,000 free hotspots nationwide, including in McDonalds and Tim Hortons
  • TELUS: 20,000 free public hotspots
  • Freedom Mobile: Over 300,000 public hotspots across Western Canada
  • Fido: Offers paid public hotspots in cafes, restaurants, hotels, airports, and more

This is by no means an exhaustive list, so you’ll want to check with your carrier if you’re wondering about public hotspot availability.

What are some issues to consider when using your mobile hotspot?

It’s worth noting that unlike plans in the US, all Canadian plans allow you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot, hooray! But remember that tethering can dramatically drain battery power from your phone. If you aren’t careful, you run the risk of using up all your battery power in one sitting, so make sure you’re connected to power or have a backup charger on the road.

Another item to consider is data usage. Using your mobile hotspot will use your monthly data allowance, so you’ll want to be cognizant of that. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you can track your data usage on your phone.

Track your data usage on your iPhone:

  • Tap “Settings” then “Cellular.”
  • Scroll down to “Cellular Data.”
  • Next to “Current Period” you will see your current month’s data usage.

Monitor your data use on your Android phone:

  • Open your device’s “Settings” app.
  • Select “Network & internet,” then click “Data usage.”
  • Click “Mobile.”
  • You will see how much total data you’ve used.
  • To select a time period (such as current month), click the “Down” arrow.

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