These days public Wi-Fi hotspots are becoming more common, but from time to time we all still find ourselves needing to get online when we're out of range. Fortunately, it's very easy to use the mobile data connection on your Android smartphone to share your internet connection with other devices.

This is a good alternative to using a mobile Wi-Fi router, which can be pricey and the times you need to call on it may be rather few and far between.

You might want to share your phone's data with your laptop or tablet, or perhaps you're feeling generous and want to help a friend get online. There are benefits here when you're visiting abroad, too, since only one of you will need to pay the roaming charges.

When sharing your phone's internet connection (which is also known as internet tethering) you should pay extra attention to how much data you are using. With mutliple devices connected to one SIM you'll find you gobble through your allowance significantly quicker. (Also see: How to minimise data usage on Android.)

This is possible in the phone's Settings menu. Tap on 'Data usage' to see what you've used between a given period; it makes sense to set this period to match that of your monthly contact.

Share Android's internet connection as a Wi-Fi hotspot

• Open the Settings menu and tap on 'More' under Wireless Networks

• Choose 'Tethering and portable hotspot', then 'Wi-Fi hotspot'

• You'll need to set up the Wi-Fi hotspot for first time use, so select that option

Set up Android Wi-Fi hotspot

• Input (or rename if necessary) the name you want to give the Wi-Fi network, and give it a password you will remember. This must be at least eight characters. Then hit Save

• The Wi-Fi hotspot is now turned on, but in order for others to use it you'll need to toggle on the slider at the top of this page and ensure they know the password. They can then connect to your Wi-Fi hotspot as they would any other wireless network

• Using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot doesn't only increase its data usage, it also places a hefty burden on the battery (see best power banks). To improve energy efficiency you can set the Wi-Fi hotspot to turn off when idle - just tap on the 'Keep Wi-Fi hotspot on' menu to view your options

Internet tethering is possible through all phones. If you're using an iPhone, see our separate guide on how to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot on iPhone.

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