Verizon's Mobile Broadband webpage entices you to "unleash your phone's power" to use it as a portable modem to access the Internet on your notebook. Your mobile phone, they explain, already acts like a modem and pulls in a mobile broadband signal that your laptop can use. With a "Mobile Broadband Connect"-capable device (select smartphones or BlackBerry), a USB cable, and the VZAccess Manager software on your laptop, you can go online using your phone as a modem.
Verizon Pricing and Options
Sounds great. The only downside is that in addition to requiring a data plan for your smartphone (starting at $29.99), as with AT&T you also need to have a separate plan (from $15-30/month) for your laptop to be tethered ... and the data on this additional plan is metered (up to 5 GB of data usage allowed per month; after that, data is charged on a per MB basis). Verizon does have a $50/month plan for tethering data-capable cell phones (not smartphones) that only have voice service, though.
Another option is to use Verizon's mobile broadband hotspot service available on certain phones like the Palm Pre Plus or Pixi Plus. The service allows you to use the phone's data plan with up to 5 other devices -- for free. You'll still need a data plan for the Palm phone, but you won't have to pay extra for the other devices to use it.
What You Need To Tether a Verizon Cell Phone
To get started using your Verizon cell phone as a modem for your laptop:
- Check if your cell phone is in the list of Mobile Broadband Connect compatible devices.
- Make sure you have a qualifying data and/or calling plan for your handset and add the Mobile Broadband Connect feature.
- Connect your cell phone to your laptop via USB. You may need a special adapter or Mobile Office Kit from Verizon, depending on your phone.
- Finally, install VZAccess Manager on your laptop; the software works with both Windows and Mac.
Use the VZAccess Manager software to go online from your laptop using your cell phone as a modem. As with all metered services, though, be aware of the data cap to make sure you don't go over it.