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Does using a hotspot come with additional costs?

Well, it depends.

· 3 min read

The use of mobile hotspots has become increasingly prevalent, offering users the convenience of accessing the internet on-the-go. Mobile hotspots allow users to create a portable WiFi hotspot using the data on their phones. However, a common concern among users is whether using a hotspot incurs additional costs. In this blog, we will explore the dynamics of hotspot usage and delve into whether it translates to higher expenses for users.


What is a hotspot?

A hotspot is essentially a virtual network that provides internet access to devices using Wi-Fi. Mobile hotspots, in particular, leverage cellular data networks to create a portable internet connection that can be shared among multiple devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

Mobile hotspots allow data allowance to be shared across multiple devices. One of the most common use cases would be for those who need to use their laptops while moving between places, or at locations without WiFi access. The ability to create a mobile hotspot could also come in handy when you are traveling in a group, and you want to share your data allowance with your friends to save costs.

How to use your phone as a hotspot?

You can easily use your phone as a hotspot as long as you have a data plan available in your phone.

  1. Navigate to your phone settings, select the option for "Mobile hotspot", and turn it on.
  2. From your phone settings, you will be able to see your network name of your hotspot (which you can change) along with the password.
  3. Connect your second device to this hotspot as you would to a WiFi. Find the network on your device, select the correct network, enter the password, and you will be connected!

Does using a hotspot use more data?

When you connect a device to your mobile hotspot, that connected device is essentially consuming data from the data pack of your mobile hotspot.

For many people, it may seem like the use of hotspot results in a much higher data consumption.

However, that isn't actually the case. The amount of data consumed does not differ whether you are connected to a hotspot or if you are connected directly to a cellular data network. How much data you use on your hotspot ultimately depends on what you are doing with the device that is connected to the hotspot.

There are two main reasons why it might seem like data consumption is much higher and faster you are connected to a hotspot:

  • Hotspots are most commonly used to provide connectivity for a laptop.
  • Desktop sites typically consume more data than mobile sites as more information is being displayed and loaded.

The combination of both factors above could make it seem like connecting to a hotspot results in higher data consumption than usual. But, this is largely due to the activities (and platform) that you are using the hotspot for, rather than the fact that you are using a hotspot.

Are there additional costs associated with using a hotspot?

It depends.

Some service providers may impose tethering fees specifically for using your device as a hotspot. This is an additional charge on top of your regular data plan and is important to consider when evaluating the overall cost of hotspot usage.

But, if your service provider allows tethering, then there should not be any additional costs associated with using a hotspot, as long as you are consuming within your data allowance.

Most mobile service providers offer data plans with specific data allowances. When you use your hotspot, the data consumption is deducted from this allowance. Going over your data limit can result in additional charges.

If I have multiple (e)SIMs, which e(SIM) would the data be consumed from?

The data will be consumed from the (e)SIM that you have selected for data connectivity.

Let's assume you have two eSIMs, one of them being a travel eSIM with data allowance while you are overseas, and the other being your primary line. If you have set your travel eSIM to be the eSIM to use for data and connectivity, then that will be the eSIM that you will consume data from when you turn your phone into a hotspot.

That also means that as long as you have configured your device to use the correct eSIM for your data needs, you don't have to worry about possibly incurring data roaming charges from your primary line even if you are a using a hotspot.

Get a Nomad travel eSIM with hotspot capabilities

If you are looking for a travel eSIM with hotspot capaibilities to help you stay connected on your next trip, look no further!

Nomad's travel eSIMs support hotspot and tethering, and you can share your data allowance with multiple devices, helping you stay connected on the move. Nomad's plans are also prepaid, and you will not need to worry about accidentally incurring additional data costs without your knowledge!

Of course, in the event that you run out of data from your plan, you can always purchase an add-on and continue to stay connected. This way, instead of being blindsided by high international roaming costs, you will always be aware of how much you are actually spending on data costs!

Nomad offers data plans in over 170 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.50/GB.