Best / Most Cost Effective Tethering Solutions for me (UK)?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Chairman.Jobbie, May 3, 2012.

  1. Chairman.Jobbie, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012

    Chairman.Jobbie macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2011
    I have a Wi-Fi only new iPad - which is what i wanted - and i was wondering if anyone is turning on personal hotspot / tethering in the UK to an iPhone or another device when not in Wi-Fi range in a low cost or free way?

    I have an iPhone on a pay as you go tariff with T-Mobile and a 6 month Internet Booster (£20 - which just expired) - and im pretty sure i could turn on the personal hotspot and tether my iPad or Macbook Air, but it cost me X amount per day or megabytes (cant remember). Im currently double checking to see if it's included free but i doubt it. Before i buy another 6 month internet booster i wanted to see what other ways or offers are available.

    I think with the extra cost of the hardware being £100 and the data cost for a year on 6 month T-Mobile Internet Booster x 2 being £40 = £140, it's probably much cheaper to tether when you absolutely need data access on the iPad at £2.50 per day or whatever the cost is. Something for other forum dwellers to consider also?

    How are people tethering their iPads in the UK?
    How much is the cost with different providers?

    Im doing research now but if anyone can throw me some ideas that would be good. Thanks.
  2. Zcott macrumors 68020

    Oct 18, 2009
    Belfast, Ireland
    Three offer free tethering on all their contracts, which is worth considering if you're serious about tethering. No charges and also properly unlimited data.

    If you don't want to go down the route of changing contract provider, have a look at a mifi. You can pick up a sim loaded with 1gb from Three (or probably any other provider) on eBay for only a few quid, and second hand mifis are pretty cheap too.
  3. MacAttacka macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2012

    Dont even think about any other option.

    3 let you tether and use data to your hearts desire. No extra charges, no restrictions. I pay £20/month for my phone contract and my iPad is tethered to is 24/7.

    Also 3 are ramping up their network speeds so depending where you live you should be able to get high speed 3G too
  4. nin7474 macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2009
    What about in the US, Wifi only iPad and i have the ATT UNL iPhone plan?
  5. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    I've got a 4S and iPad 3 Wifi, I'm on Three UK and for £15pm I get the usual mins and texts(which no one uses anymore) and 3GB data, which you can use to tether. I'm on a sim only 30 day rolling contract.
  6. pazz macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    London, England
    I've just spoken to Three UK about "all you can eat" (unlimited) data and they have told me it does not permit you using your phone as a modem. Hotspot = modem.

    How they know you are using it as a modem I'm not sure.
  7. Chairman.Jobbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2011
    The thing is my average spend on voice calls + texts is probably under £25 per year ie. I top up £5 when necessary. But, I spend £40 pa on two 6 month Internet boosters - so my total yearly spend for my iPhone is £65. The voice + text aspect of my iPhone is a necessary but secondary function.

    So to move to a £15pm contract (£180pa) does not add up. I might as well buy a 3G iPad for 100 extra and add internet booster like i was doing with my iPad1.

    I don't want contracts etc, prefer to stay 'free' and pay as I go because it fits my needs - so just internet boosters and pay for adhoc tether when i absolutely need it.
  8. Chairman.Jobbie, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012

    Chairman.Jobbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2011
    I turned on my cellular data (without currently having a internet booster, so £1 pd max i think) and also turned on my personal hotspot and connected my iPad. Suprisingly it connected and it let me surf without any paywall asking me to buy access.

    This happened before when i hooked up my MacBook Air via iPhone in the past (with internet booster active) - a few times i got access but then sometimes i get the paywall. I tried access through my brothers iphone (who has web & walk) and got the paywall - this is what i wanted to see so i have a cost to compare with when looking at other options. Starts at £2 per day.

    If i only use tethering via my iphone 5 times per year then it's only £10, compared to £100 (hardware) + £20 (internet booster) upfront. It could even be free if i somehow don't get the web page above.

    I don't understand why it comes up sometimes and not others. :confused: That's T-Mobile for you!
  9. Chairman.Jobbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2011
    It doesnt seem like there is a better/cheaper option for my low usage needs than what im currently doing = Personal Hotspot Tethering to iPad or MBA via iPhone when needed for free or £2 per day depending upon luck.

    All the mobile providers I've checked and the suggestions here involve more cost and/or committment in one way or another.
  10. yegon macrumors 68020

    Oct 20, 2007
    You can get a Three 3gb data sim off Amazon for £10 lasts for 3 months. You'll need a mifi though if you've a wifi iPad.
  11. Chairman.Jobbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2011
    The data sims sound good / decent value but the mifi unit costs, and its another device to carry around. It doesn't beat just carrying the iPhone (which im always carrying) & tethering.
  12. BFizzzle macrumors 68020


    May 31, 2010
    Austin TX
  13. pazz macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    London, England
    From your current description of your requirements it sounds like you should have gone for the 3G iPad. The resale is also better don't forget so you are not loosing out on any cash in the long run over a WiFi only.

    Tethering via an iPhone isnt a one-stop solution for a WiFi only iPad because of the battery limitations of iPhones. My 4S only lasts a day if im careful and thats using tether for about an hour max on my train journey in/out of the city.
  14. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    £25 sim only one plan one 3 30 day rolling contract gives u unlimited data with tethering
  15. yegon macrumors 68020

    Oct 20, 2007
    True, it was just a suggestion. I'm on the One plan from Three these days, very pleased with it, coverage is good and the speeds are absolutely blistering compared with o2 who I was with previously.
  16. Chairman.Jobbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2011
    Thanks for all feedback so far - appreciated.

    To clarify, buying a 16gb Wi-Fi was a considered decision based on previous iPad ownership. It fits my needs 98% of the time (and it's a net saving of between £100-140).

    This thread is to check if my tethering solution was the most appropriate for my potential usage patterns ie. very low. I want tethering available at the lowest cost & least friction if needed on an adhoc basis. And so battery consideration isnt a problem.

    I will probably need or want to tether 0-4 times this year with my travel & usage patterns, so costing £0-£8. And my iPhone will always be with me with 3g data on as a stand alone device - so it makes sense to piggy back that when data is needed on the iPad.
  17. ansalmo macrumors regular

    May 23, 2005
    It certainly is permitted on their One Plan, but you need to buy an add-on for other tariffs.

    The One Plan doesn't seem suitable for the OP though, whereas a MiFi and PAYG SIM does.
  18. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    For occasional use of an iPad away from wifi the maths for the 3G version didn't work for me. I am on sim only iPhone tariff with O2 for £16.50 a month which includes personal hotspot. I've only used it twice so far but it got the job done, and was surprisingly quite fast on 3G. It's only 512MB per month which might be a problem for some people but I don't normally get anywhere near that.
  19. Stevespalding macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2012
    I woudn't touch three with a barge-pole. They can't be trusted to abide by their own terms and conditions they care nothing for their customers - just short term profit. I'd avoid them like the plague as they're cheap and nasty.
  20. Smithey1981 macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012
    In the uk three are gonna be your best option, their all you can eat includes tethering as been using it for last year and tbf three have always been fair to me and prob best coverage across the uk, personal experience
  21. Zcott macrumors 68020

    Oct 18, 2009
    Belfast, Ireland
    Sounds like someone had a bad experience a long time ago, or hasn't used them. I've been a happy Three customer for a few years ago, and have friends who moved back to Three after bad experiences a long time ago. They've changed.
  22. Primus84 macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2005
    Sorry, but I've tried Three on a few occasions over the years and on each occasion I've ended up spending hours on the phone fixing basic problems and their CS is still shockingly bad.

    A lot of choices on carrier come down to where you live, other than O2 who have very little 3G anywhere!
  23. yellowbunny macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2010
    I'm on Three: £12 per month with 1 gig data and tether when ever I need to and it works absolutely fine (even though your not supposed to tether with this plan). Had it for over a year and never been charged extra.
  24. Terrified, Aug 13, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012

    Terrified macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2010
    Late response, so not sure how useful this is.

    I've just re-joined 3 this week on their Ultimate 100 plan. Previously tethering was limited to The One Plan, and attempts to use the "Personal Hotspot" feature on any lesser plans would just bring up the "Please contact your network provider to enable this feature" dialogue.

    This week, I've picked up an iPhone 4S on £30 a month contract that includes unlimited data, and have tried tethering - lo and behold, it works fine.

    Presuming they've changed their T&Cs, and if you're interested, that could be a really cheap way of doing it - you get a great handset, unlimited data to tether with, good speeds (in my area I'm pulling down 5Mbps+), and no need for any additional payment.

    Ordered here (top plan):,84957,All,tt1,ct1


    Edited to clarify - no up front cost for the handset.

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