One of the most significant features of Apple iOS 4.3 is the Personal Hotpot function, that lets you share your phone's 3G connection with up to five other devices.
To get started open your settings app and select 'Personal Hotspot'. Then just activate it by tapping the on/off slider button. If your Bluetooth connectivity is off you will be prompted to turn it on or you can tether your device via USB to a laptop or other compatible device.
However, it isn't as simple as that, because how much you pay for it - or whether the option is even available to you - depends very much on your network operator. So, with a tip of the hat to Electricpig, Macworld UK explains your options for using the feature on your iPhone 4.
On The One Plan Three gives customers 'all-you-can-eat' data, which includes allowing them to use their phone as a modem for tethering, so customers on The One Plan are free to use the Personal Hotspot feature as they like without incurring any additional charges.
Customers on other tariffs or on PAYG will have the data use from the Personal Hotspot feature deducted from their allowance as they would any other data use. The best value option in this case is to buy a mobile internet add-on, Three told Macworld.
Customers need to have a tethering option on their account to use the Personal Hotspot feature, Orange told Macworld. Tethering bundles are available for £5 per month for 500MB data and customers must be on an iPhone-specific tariff for this. It is a monthly bundle that can be cancelled at any time, subject to 30 days notice.
Pay Monthly T-Mobile customers who wish to take advantage of iPhone 4's Personal Hotspot functionality can add a Mobile Broadband Booster to their monthly tariff. This will cost £5.10 per month for those who already have Internet on Your Phone included in their monthly tariff (which will account for the vast majority of iPhone users, T-Mobile told Macworld), or £10.21 for those who do not. This will entitle the customer to a Fair Usage Policy Amount of 1GB per month.
Pay as you go customers, and Pay Monthly customers who do not subscribe to a Mobile Broadband Booster, will be charged at our normal pay as you go rates for mobile broadband usage. These are: £2/day (Fair Usage Policy Amount: 250 MB); £7/week (Fair Usage Policy Amount: 500 MB); and £15/month (Fair Usage Policy Amount: 1 GB). Pay as you go customers will be charged for this using their existing credit, whilst Pay Monthly users will have the charge added to their monthly bill.
Vodafone hasn't changed its existing tethering policy to reflect the launch of iOS 4.3, but told Electric Pig that Vodafone customers can use the Personal Hotspot feature. "Occasional users pay £5 per 500MB for 30 days. Regular users can add an Access tethering bundle to their price plan at £10 a month for 1.5GB or £15 a month 3GB. iPhone customers who are already using our tethering price plans can use the new functionality at no extra charge," a Vodafone spokesperson said.
O2 also hasn't updated its tethering policy for a while, but to use the Personal Hotspot function in iOS 4.3 you will need to get the internet tethering bolt-on, which costs £7.50 per month. Only Pay Monthly customers can get this bolt-on, which has a data limit of 500MB.