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Thread: Please explain hotspots

  1. #1
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    Please explain hotspots

    Hated to post this and show how little I know but you guys have been gentle in the past, so here goes. Is a hotspot a Starbucks coffee location? There I have internet access, can search the web and use Google Voice. Does operating in a hotspot mean, if you are Verizon, you don't use minutes or texts? What does TF doesn't allow hopspots mean?

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    Some places (Starbucks, Walmarts, libraries, hospitals, clinics...) have "Free WiFi" for use by customers, patrons, patients. Some people think of them as "hotspots".

    When peole in the forum refer to "hotspot", it means using your phone to act as a "hotspot" (Wifi source) for your other devices like your laptop, Wifi-tablet when you're at a location without WiFi. Your phone will use Data to provide hotspot service to your other devices. When your other devices search for WiFi sources, it'll see your phone (often the phone model is used as Source ID) as a WiFi source.

    When your phone is used as a hotspot, it can use a lot of Data (depending on the number of devices connect to it, and/or the types of devices). TF doesn't allow that because some carriers see it as a "Premium" feature reserved for their postpaid customers and don't allow TF customers to use it.

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    Hotspots are offered at Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King and many other locations nationwide. They provide free internet access to cell phones, tablets, laptop computers typically at no cost and decent internet speeds. Some prepaid/MVNOs may restrict your access by locking out some features/applications that are required to use the hotspot as they prefer to have more control that require users to use a cellular connection that they can bill you for access.
    Just another day in paradise.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlippy View Post
    Hated to post this and show how little I know but you guys have been gentle in the past, so here goes. Is a hotspot a Starbucks coffee location? There I have internet access, can search the web and use Google Voice. Does operating in a hotspot mean, if you are Verizon, you don't use minutes or texts? What does TF doesn't allow hopspots mean?
    A hotspot is a WiFi wireless access point that provides internet access. Many businesses and public buildings provide such access. It is like using your home WiFi (although probably not as secure) and does not use your data. What Tracfone does not allow is using your phone to provide that WiFi access to other devices. It is called a Mobile Hotspot. If you were to use your phone as a Hotspot, it would use your TF data bucket.

    Looks like I don't type fast enough.

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    Mobile hotspot is using your own phone for internet for computers and/or devices.

    Before this, tethering was a big thing do the same thing, but some devices would not work with tethering unless you had the drivers for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlippy View Post
    Hated to post this and show how little I know but you guys have been gentle in the past, so here goes. Is a hotspot a Starbucks coffee location? There I have internet access, can search the web and use Google Voice. Does operating in a hotspot mean, if you are Verizon, you don't use minutes or texts? What does TF doesn't allow hopspots mean?
    A Wifi hotspot is any device or place that provides Wifi access to a network, typically The Internet, but it could be a private network.

    Cellphones have the ability to create a Wifi hotspot from the phone using the phone's mobile data service. The hotspot function has been built in to Android for years. My first smartphone in 2013 had it. Running a hotspot on a phone uses only mobile data.

    Tracfone, by the terms of service, hotspotting is not allowed. In Android phones from the past few years they are able to block it from being turned on even for unauthorized use.

    This, of course, does not make any sense for Tracfone. They should want to sell as much data as they can to make money. It is believed that it is condition in their service agreements with the facility based carriers. It is probably a holdover from years ago when hotspotting was considered to be s super premium service that was only available on top postpaid carrier plans. This is no longer the case. Many low priced MVNO plans have hotspotting to some degree.

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    WOW !!! Thanks guys. Your advice is much easier to understand than the explanations provided by a Google search.

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    Yeah, I agree that the ability to not hotspot makes very little sense with TracFone since there are no unlimited data plans and you pay for all data. Probably just a matter of them not being able to update their infrastructure to support it (some of their other MVNOs have the option, though)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pitflyer View Post
    Yeah, I agree that the ability to not hotspot makes very little sense with TracFone since there are no unlimited data plans and you pay for all data. Probably just a matter of them not being able to update their infrastructure to support it (some of their other MVNOs have the option, though)
    TF is a reseller and doesn't own/maintain any network infrastructure. I agree with bobdevnul that their "no hotspot" policy is likely mandated by the carriers which want to reserve data capacity for their postpaid customers.

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    Yes, there is some confusion about what Hotspot actually does. Mobile hotspot devices receive a cellular data signal, which the device can then transmit to another device as a WiFi signal. Fixed hotspot in a single location only provides a WiFi signal to a receiving device.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    TF is a reseller and doesn't own/maintain any network infrastructure. I agree with bobdevnul that their "no hotspot" policy is likely mandated by the carriers which want to reserve data capacity for their postpaid customers.
    Right, but several of their other brands include mobile hotspot capabilities. So they could definitely negotiate if they wanted to, but TracFone does what it wants, or potentially sees that as a value-add for their other brands so you choose them over TracFone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pitflyer View Post
    Right, but several of their other brands include mobile hotspot capabilities. So they could definitely negotiate if they wanted to, but TracFone does what it wants, or potentially sees that as a value-add for their other brands so you choose them over TracFone.
    Being on PagePlus I could say they should have the type of PayGo PP has too.
    Just one TF company that has all the plans would be nice and if/when Verizon acquires TF that's what we'll likely have, but with allot less choices.

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    If you really want a good hotspot, Simple Mobile has the Moxee one for $49.99 and then you can get 40gb of data for $50 , a very attractive deal and better than Straight Talk and Net 10.

    Simple Mobile was off to a rocky start offering their hotspot offerings and it was not clear on their plans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBear916 View Post
    If you really want a good hotspot, Simple Mobile has the Moxee one for $49.99 and then you can get 40gb of data for $50 , a very attractive deal and better than Straight Talk and Net 10.

    Simple Mobile was off to a rocky start offering their hotspot offerings and it was not clear on their plans.
    Simple Mobile means T-Mobile service is your only choice.
    Can you power the Moxee in your car? Does it come with a car adapter?

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    The Moxee is micro USB so any car adapter of that type will work (but it has a battery for shorter trips)

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