Tethering, where your mobile’s internet connection is shared with your computer, often comes with an extra charge from your network. But this can’t be right, when you’ve already paid for your data allowance. Can it?
One of my biggest bug bears is when a company won’t let you use the gadget you paid for in the way you want to use it – often because it doesn’t fit in with their business strategy.
Whether it’s exploiting certain functions or installing third party software, this is how I see it – if I’ve paid for something, I should be able to use it in the way I want (law permitting).
Not being able to do this is normally a problem associated with manufacturers (I’m looking at you Apple), but the mobile networks – not wanting to be out-done when it comes to antagonising their customers – occasionally get involved.
We investigate tethering charges
This time I’m talking about tethering, where you let another device, such as a laptop, access the internet through your mobile phone’s data connection.
Since the surge of smartphones, more and more people are tethering, especially as many models can now use their wi-fi connectivity to act as a hotspot. But the mobile networks just haven’t kept up.
When Which? investigated what the networks charge for tethering, we were surprised to see that, despite having data allowances in place, customers were being charged extra.
Only two networks (3 and O2) didn’t apply extra charges. The others claimed that their tethering packages provided extra data, not just the right to tether. But this still feels very unfair to me – you might not want or even need to buy this extra data.
Where’s the logic?
It’s like an energy company charging you for a set amount of gas to heat your house and then, despite you having a gas surplus, charging you extra just to use gas with your cooker.
If we’ve already paid for it, shouldn’t we be able to use it in the way that we want to?
And if that wasn’t enough, we then discovered that Orange only lets iPhone customers tether their devices. So, if I buy a new Android smartphone with a healthy data allowance, I won’t even be able to use one of its features even if I was prepared to pay extra! This whole tethering business needs to change. Agree?