There seems to be a common trend to purchase 3G modems for laptops so that internet connectivity can be obtained anywhere that has a mobile signal.

What most people overlook is that they already have this connectivity available to them.

Connect to the Internet via a Mobile Phone

A standard mobile phone (as sold in the UK) comes with 3G internet connectivity. This connectivity can be used by your laptop, via bluetooth or a direct cable, to connect to the internet.

The Costs

Most mobile phone companies will charge you for any data you use. These charges can be quite expensive if you don’t monitor them. One month I was hit with a GBP150 bill for data usage when I needed to connect to the internet.

Most mobile providers will add unlimited internet onto a mobile tariff for a small fee, or suggest you upgrade to a new tariff which includes unlimited data.

Many providers now put a cap on the maximum they can charge you for data access even if you are not on a data tariff.

The cost of upgrading an existing mobile phone tariff is normally cheaper than getting a new 3G contract, and you also don’t need to carry around another device.

Blackberry Users

Almost all blackberry devices have 3G connectivity, bluetooth and most of them are already connected on a mobile data tariff due to the way they send and receive emails.

Most companies however switch off the bluetooth on these devices which stops employees using them as 3G modems. This does not make good financial sense not to allow these to be used as internet gateways.

It always brings a wry smile to my face to hear of people who carry around a Blackberry, a mobile phone, a laptop and a 3G modem.

What about battery life?

Most mobile phones are able to charge themselves via a USB charger, so while you are using your laptop, your phone won’t be losing charge. You can also find very small retractable chargers for most mobile phones which are very small and light.

If you are worried that battery life of your laptop will be depleted by plugging in a phone, then you should be aware that there is little difference between powering a 3G modem plugged into your laptop than a mobile phone.

How do I connect?

This is the complicated bit. Essentially you need to set your mobile phone up as a modem. If you connect you phone to your laptop via bluetooth, then your laptop will normally detect that it has modem capabilities.

To tell the modem it needs to connect to the internet, you enter *99# where the phone number is entered.

For more information on how to connect, then a quick google search should provide you with tutorials and answers.

This is my site Written by Tim Jolley on April 16, 2009 – 11:19 am