Mar 08 AT 8:36 PM Edgar Cervantes 39 Comments

Why do Verizon tablet users get free mobile hotspot while smartphone users don’t?


Verizon has just announced the new iPad data packages, boasting the fact that they include hotspot services at no additional cost. Big Red offers the same feature for tablets with other operating systems. The hotspot may be a great incentive to buy a tablet, but seems rather unfair for smartphone owners.

Verizon’s tablet data plans are the following:

  • 1 GB for $20 (iPad only)
  • 2 GB for $30
  • 5 GB for $50
  • 10 GB for $80

Never mind the fact that iPads get an extra package to choose from, smartphone owners are paying identical prices for their data, while Verizon requests that they pay an extra $20 fee for tethering (mobile hotspot). Granted, mobile hotspot users get an extra 2 GB of data, though the extra data doesn’t quite make this a fair deal. The fact remains that smartphone users have to pay more for what is essentially the same service.

If given mobile hotspot at no cost, smartphone subscribers would be using the same bandwidth as those tablets. Meaning maintenance costs would probably amount to the same.

On the bright side, tablet users will be much happier about this change, and could be the reason why Verizon has set data plans in this manner. Asking a customer to sign a 2-year contract for a tablet is not easy, as such devices are also much more expensive and usually considered luxury items. Customers are less likely to purchase a tablet at full price.

But people don’t mind signing up for a smartphone, with some considering it to be a necessity. It could be argued that customers would not want to buy a data-connected tablet if they offered free tethering for smartphones. Users would just get a WiFi device, instead, or simply go without.

Regardless, such tactics are unjust currently, though those shared family data plans might make everything much better. Users will be able to share data among a plethora of devices without spending much more.

For now, though, we would really appreciate some equality among different platforms and devices. If there is no need to charge tablet users for hotspot services, there should be no reason for smartphone users to pay up. Give it some thought and let us know what you think. Do you believe it is ok for Verizon treat tablets and smartphones differently?

Via: The Verge

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • Dave Clary

    I’m with ya! I’m paying $50 for 6MB with hotspot when I could have had 10MB without it. I would have taken the 4MB option if it included hotspots.

    • AsakuraZero

      6MB how you can live with that? i smoke that in 10 secs or so, kidding

      but man its hard over there, i have free hotspot but meh my speed in this country sucks (4g an i just get 2.5MBits MAX download =(.

      verizon shoudl soften a bit on the rates

      • briant-man

        simple answer all tablet plans have had a gb limit, some people have unlimited smartphone data. Verizon is watching out for a Lawsuit

        • msgnyc

          i know quite a few people with unlimited data plans on their ipads. locked it when it first released.

          • msgnyc

            i think those were the original ipads on att before they dropped their unlimited plans. nvm

      • Dave Clary

        LOL! I stream music and talk radio several hours a day at work and only up to 3G with four days to go on this cycle. I’m wanted more data to be ready for a future Slingbox purchase! :-)
        BTW, I didn’t mean to infer that VZW SHOULD be giving me free hotspot on the phone–just wishful thinking.

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  • Ps3y3Ops

    That’s just not right. Point. Blank. Period.

  • thel0nerang3r

    I think that most people that buy a tablet with VZW also have a smart phone with VZW, thus already paying an additional data fee. Related to family share plan, I doubt that you will be able to just add a device to it without paying extra. I think that it will be $10 per every device that wants to share the data.

  • Vance

    I completely disagree with you. The question shouldn’t be is it fair for Verizon to offer free mobile hotspot on tablets but not phones, the question should be does it make good business sense for Verizon NOT to offer free mobile hotspot like on their phones, period.
    Tablets and phones serve very different purposes and there is nothing to say a carrier should be bound by some arbitrary rule to mirror their plans. It sounds like they are viewing tablet data plans more like they would a broadband card data plan which, of course, by definition, is a mobile hotspot.
    Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that phone data plans should include free mobile hotspot, but I disagree with the premise of this article. Like you said, why would anyone with free mobile hotspot on their phone ever pay for a tablet data plan?

    • Angel

      Well stated. I disagree with the premise of this article also. Bottom line; a cell phone is not a tablet and vice versa. If they were the same they would be called the same. Just because they use the same cell tower is inconsequential. That’s like saying a blender should be treated the same as a widescreen TV just because they both use the same 120 volt outlet. They’re two different products. Should smartphones be allowed to hotspot, of course, but the cell phone company makes all the rules, and since no one is calling them and complaining about their unfairness, why should they do anything about it on their own? It’s just business. As 82sunrise states below “people are more likely to abuse tethering on a smartphone than they are on a tablet”. The cell phone companies know this and price accordingly.

      • drksilenc

        why should they be considered any different. i can make calls on my 7″ galaxy tab just because it looks stupid doesnt make it not a phone. all a tablet is is an oversized cellphone. they use the EXACT same equipment. just because the screen is bigger means nothing. my phone can do the same things that my tablet does. just because the size is different should have no bearing because of the screen size.

      • msgnyc

        Im not saying I agree or disagree with this article or Verizon. Just pointing out that Im sorry to tell you, but your analogy is flawed.

        A blender (lets say iphone) and a big screen tv (say ipad) are NOT treated as different devices by the electtic company (Verizon?). The electric company (Verizon?) doesnt care whats using their electricity (data) They only care how much you use, so to the electric company, that tv and blender are the same device for all they care.

        • Joseph

          Your analogy is itself flawed, the electric company provides power to the residence, that is the equivalent to the tablet or the phone. The big screen TV and the blender are equivalent to angry birds and your bank app. The question is, does it make sense from a business aspect for VZW to offer separate plans? If you don’t agree, take your custom to another carrier.

  • spazby

    Can’t wait to see the pricing structure for shared data but I am not holding my breath…

  • Angel

    Why? It’s pretty simple really. For the most part everyone who comes into their store to sign a contract for a tablet ALREADY has a contract for their smartphone. This means they need to give you an incentive to ADD that extra tablet onto your account. In other words, they know that getting the phone contract is pretty much guaranteed, so they don’t have to offer you much to get you to sign, but they DO have to sweeten up the deal if they ALSO want you to add a contract for a tablet. Remember a tablet is not a phone. You almost have to have a phone, and they know that. The only way they are going to give you the same deal for the phone alone is if enough people complain about it. This is how cell phone companies think and it’s one reason why more and more people are NOT signing a contract, and instead are switching to using pre-paid cell service that many times have more freedom and features.

  • sunrise

    Verizon is just smart, that’s all.

    Verizon does not allow smartphones on their network without a data plan. If you have a smartphone, even one that you paid full retail for and are off contract, they still require a data plan at all times. Someone with a smartphone and a data plan is more likely to tether that data to a tablet.

    However, the reverse isn’t true. Someone with a tablet isn’t going to tether that data to a smartphone, because a Verizon smartphone requires a data plan of it’s own to begin with.

    Basically, people are more likely to abuse tethering on a smartphone than they are on a tablet. Buy a smartphone with data, then a WiFi tablet, and tether the data off the phone to the tablet. That is a likely scenario, but the opposite isn’t. Most people probably won’t even use and or abuse the hotspot feature of the tablet, where as on the phone they would.

    Make sense? It did to me. :)

    • thel0nerang3r

      If you are paying for 2GB of data, I don’t see how you can abuse it with tethering. If you go over, be it by your phone/tablet/pc, they will charge you for overages. So, I’m failing to see where the abuse comes in. I understand for unlimited plans. However, with capped data I see it as ordering a pizza for delivery. However, when it arrives the delivery person saying that only I can eat it, if I share, I need to pay extra… for the same one pizza.

  • Max.Steel

    It’s Verizon. Nothing more needs to be said…

  • SED

    Because they know they’ll never sell tablets without it. Everyone would just use their phone and buy the wifi version of the tablet.

  • realmathbehindthatexpertsagreewithus

    I think many of you are forgetting an unlimited plan once existed for phones, but never for tablets. if you are priced on how much data you use, why wouldn’t they want you to use more. i think the reason it hasn’t come to phones yet is because of grandfathered unlimited data plans on phones. they are already losing revenue on people who root their phones and tether for their home interent. hell my Galaxy Nexus LTE gets insane speeds where I live, I could easily use up one or two of their 10GB $80 data plans in a day. and with people using more and more bandwidth these days as they are streaming higher and richer content everyday… if they don’t price by the GB very well they are retarded. i don’t see free tether for plans on unlimited phones coming anytime soon (at least for the next few years).

    Also, keep saying Verizon tablet users probably have Verizon cell phones. I think you forgot about the iPad 2 3g… Unless you are sure that everyone who bought an iPad 2 3g had cellular service through either of AT&T or Verizon… T-Mobile or Sprint users were shunned when they tried to buy their iPads! No iPad for you! haha

    Fuuu, Let me hit this bong again.

    • delinear

      Surely grandfathered, unlimited data on phones is a reason to give smartphone users free WiFi. I’m sure whatever the WiFi deal is, it’s got to be a cheaper way for the Telcos to deliver content to phones than saturating their limited 4G network. Anything they can do to encourage users to connect via a WiFi access point plugged into a physical cable has got to be in their interests if there are so many unlimited contracts still out there.

  • Billy

    I have a huge problem with any carrier telling me how I can use the data on my phone, especially for tiered data plans. I also believe that if ever challenged in court the carriers would lose.

    I pay for 2gb of monthly data and whether I tether or use data on my phone is not the carriers concern. Their concern should be whether I go over my 2gb or not.

    This is a very simple concept and I am surprised they continue to get away with charging consumers twice for the same service.

    • Billy

      I am really talking about tiered or capped plans. I think a solid argument to charge for tethering can be made on unlimited plans … even if I personally don’t agree.

  • guardianali

    It has nothing to do with equality when more to do with money. It’s much easier and quicker to use data on tablets…more so if your hot spoting. Every gig over is another 10 bucks.

  • MoSDeeb

    I’m paying for unlimited data with the add on unlimited hotspot. not fun paying for it as data is data, but until some change comes along to pull the rug from under carriers we will have to deal with these shenanigans

    • Tojen

      I’m hoping that will be white space broadband. maybe within the next 18-24 months.

  • http://Note Uncemister

    Svtp hotspot. Works on both Verizon phones and tablets.

  • DroidSamurai

    May be tablet users tend to use more data and this is a strategy to lure people into using more data than their plan allowed. At the end, Verizon can charge them for the extra data.

  • pekosROB

    Probably just an incentive to get people to pay for another mobile data connection. I mean it makes it more worthwhile if you can tether/hotspot for free since it’s like having a hotspot device AND a tablet, and not just a data connection.

    • delinear

      I wonder how the Padphone will fit into these kinds of schemes…

  • deg24

    Along the same lines, why is the retail price for an 16GB iPhone 4s $649 while the retail price for a 16GB 3G iPad $529? Are you telling me it costs more to make an iPhone than an iPad? It’s all a big scam, but it’s not like we can do anything about it.

    • honourbound68

      smaller space to work in requires more precision work. yes, the price of the iphone should be more than an ipad. don’t forget iphone also has a cell radio that ipads may or may not have.

      • honourbound68

        also forgot to mention smaller components are more expensive. swimsuits/sleepwear seem to follow this rule too hahaha… tiny string bikinis and victoria’s (what you got aint a) secret lingerie are more expensive than regular bathing suits and pajamas :D

  • spazby

    i will keep using my phone’s hotspot…

  • agrosze

    I just bought a Pantech element tablet on the ATT netork and it failed miserably at being a wi-fi hotspot; I bought it specifically as a hotspot; none of the apps worked even though they said they would; even a samsung tablet though you see comments and apps to make it a hotspot, they are all wrong; if the devices can be made to be a hotspot, you can bet the normal technical person cannot figure it out; they tablets out today and the hotspot apps out today are not working!

  • Marilynn

    Although hardly anyone has them, the Palm Pre on VZW does have hotspot with unlimited data usage, and it works quite well. Our home is cable-less, so hotspot is our only means of connecting. Hate the phone but will stick with it because of the free hotspot.

    • Michael

      We bought the Palm Pre Plus phones over 2 years ago when Verizon had the 2 free phones, unlimited data and free hotspot promotion going. We use the hotspot as our home internet connection. It’s a great deal and it’s what got us to switch to smart phones, but now there is no way to upgrade to new phones without paying a lot more for the same service we have now. Verizon has done away with free phone upgrades, $30 unlimited data plans and free hotspots. The trend is clearly less service for more money. How many existing or potential customers is Verizon losing by the direction they are taking? We’d happily sign on for another two years if we could get a deal like we did last time but instead we’ll just wait until the market corrects or another carrier offers a better deal.