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Customers will be able to legally use their smartphones as a tethered modem or Wi-Fi hotspot to share their Internet connection with the Tethering and Wi-Fi Sharing Add-On if they have a 3G or HSPA+ capable device, according to the website Boy Genius Report. The tethering feature will allow customers of the nation's fourth-largest carrier to connect any Wi-Fi-capable device to the T-Mobile network, including gaming devices, tablets, and music players. With a USB cable, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi sharing, customers can use their phone like a modem.
In addition to having a 3G or HSPA+ device, customers must have an unlimited web plan with a monthly recurring charge of $19.95 or more, as well as either post-paid or FlexPay plan, in order to use the Tethering and Wi-Fi Sharing Add-On. In order for the tethering add-on feature to work, FlexPay customers will have to change their Unlimited Web feature, Boy Genius reported.
"T-Mobile hasn't made this announcement and doesn't comment on rumor/speculation,'' a T-Mobile spokesperson said in an email.
Customers may want the tethering/Wi-Fi feature if they occasionally need to connect a PC or other device to the web, need to connect to the web wherever T-Mobile has coverage, and prefer not to pay for full mobile broadband coverage with plans including T-Mobile's WebConnect.
However, customers who need frequent access to the web via a laptop or use a large amount of data are more suited for the WebConnect plan. In addition, customers who are planning to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Tab will have a better experience with a plan like WebConnect, Boy Genius reported.
Other caveats customers should be aware of are that setup will be different for every manufacturer and is determined by the type of device they are using. Also, T-Mobile customers have a 5GB data speed reduction threshold and the data gathered while tethering will be applied to that limit. Customers who have configured their devices for tethering in the past will receive a message notifying them that the new feature needs to be added to their device in order for them to continue using it as a modem.