Why doesn't my hotspotting work?

Episode 1436

Joe from West Palm Beach, FL
ZTE Z988

Joe is having trouble with his ZTE Z988 phone and hotspotting. He keeps turning it on and after a minute, it drops. Leo says to call T-Mobile and let them know his hotspot feature isn't working, because it sounds like they haven't activated it. But it's also possible that it's not available with that phone and his new carrier. There can be some hardware limitations too. But if he's getting data anyway, then that's not it. It probably just needs activation.

How can I get hotspotting with Verizon?

Vic from Yorba Linda, CA

Episode 1272

Vic's Verizon Mi-Fi is broken. He's replaced it and it still doesn't work. Leo says that Vic could use his mobile phone as a hotspot and bypass the MiFi altogether. It'll cost about $20 a month to be able to do it. Leo also suggests a mobile hotspot called Karma Go. It's pay as you go through Sprint and Leo loves it. $15 a GB, or $10 GB in a package. It's a great option.

Do I need to tether my phone and pay for more data?

Dan from Whittier, CA

Episode 1190

Dan just got a new iPhone and he and his son has shared data. How does that affect when he uses his phone as a personal hotspot? Leo says that when he uses a personal hotspot, it brings no more to the party, he's just paying more for the priviledge of hotspotting. Dan can use a free service like FreedomPop, but it's for a very limited amount of data. Then he'd start paying. Wi-Fi hotspots, though, will cost him nothing. So if he's at a Starbucks, he can connect to that and it won't count against his data at all.

What happened to tethering in Android?

Frank from Vancouver, WA

Episode 1039

Frank has a Google Nexus 7 and has been using tethering. He updated the OS to KitKat and the tethering option has disappeared. When he takes the SIM card out, it reappears, but when he puts it back, and it disappears again. Leo says that it's likely AT&T doing that. They want to charge him for hotspotting and tethering. If he doesn't pay for it, they're not going to let him do it. It's also happened to T-Mobile users. Some solutions will require him to root his tablet, which is certainly possible.

Why did my Galaxy Tab stop working as a hotspot for my computer?

Pete from Florida

Episode 976

Pete bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab with 4g and uses the hotspot to connect his computer. But after a few months, the tablet started dropping him from the hotspot signal. Leo says that a MiFi would've been a better option. And if he's replaced it a few times, there's clearly an ongoing design issue here. A guest in the studio says that the tablet may have a bad phone number. Go to Verizon and ask them to change it.