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Published November 17, 2011, 09:58 PM

Many turning to cell phones for internet connection

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Cell phones and tablets can do pretty much anything these days. But did you know many of them can serve as their very own internet connection? And could this new way of surfing the web save you money?

Cell phones and tablets can do pretty much anything these days. But did you know many of them can serve as their very own internet connection? And could this new way of surfing the web save you money?

Many of us know what Wi-Fi is...wireless internet, the ability to access the entire world through a mobile device. But what many don't know is we can turn some of those tablets and smart phones into a Mobile Hot Spot, Connecting up to eight other devices to the world wide web. But of course, there's always a price, so what does a mobile hot spot cost? And who could benefit the most?

Barry Stall – Manager, Verizon Wireless: “The people who are mobile would be ideal customers, business customers who need the productivity of being out on the road. People who go to the lakes, travel for the winter.”

Mobile Hot Spots are offered by nearly every cell-phone carrier: Sprint, AT&T, Verizon. In the Fargo Moorhead area, Verizon is the only carrier with 4G capabilities; the ability to access the internet from your smart phone at cable-internet like speeds.

By turning the phone into a mobile hot spot - other devices feed off that same internet feed. The hot spot can originate from a smart phone, tablet or MiFi device. But if you want unlimited access for a mobile hot spot plan, forget about it.

Barry Stall: “If you're a very heavy user, online gaming, and you're constantly streaming video, it may not be the best idea to have. We don't offer unlimited plans.”

Plans are based on gigabytes of usage. To use one gigabyte in a month, you could send more than 3,500 emails a day, but you could only watch 6 minutes of video. Plans range anywhere from two gigabytes a month to more than 10. The lower tier plans around $30, with the upper tier usually at least $80 a month.

Barry Stall: “It's like having your cable modem that you are putting in your pocket and taking with you and having that same benefit.”

With broadband internet at home usually running at least $50 a month, smaller plans for people who use the internet only for E-mail and surfing could save hundreds a year. Most data plans will notify you if you are reaching your gigabyte limit, but like minutes, overage charges can add up quickly.

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