Pay Verizon $20/month for the iPhone Hotspot or just Jailbreak your iPhone?

Jan 26, 2011 - 15 Comments

You have probably heard by now that Verizon will charge an additional $20 per month to use the wireless hotspot feature of iOS 4.3 on their iPhone 4. Is this fee worth it? I think that depends, but here’s my opinion on the matter…

Who should pay the Verizon hotspot fee

If you’re too lazy or don’t want to deal with a jailbreak, or if you’re setting this plan up for your grandma, or if you want an absolutely hassle free nontechnical experience to use a wireless access point, just pay the Verizon hotspot fee. It’s another $20 per month and it’ll certainly be simple to use, just realize that what you’re really paying for is the convenience and super easy setup.

Who should jailbreak and get MyWi tethering

If you’re already familiar with jailbreaking or you’re one of the more technically inclined folks out there, I think you should jailbreak your iPhone and pay for a generous data plan instead.

My view is this, you already pay for data usage, why pay more to use it how you want? Let me remind you that anyone can setup an iPhone Wireless hotspot right now, you just need to jailbreak your phone, and then pay a one time fee to purchase the MyWi app from Cydia.

Jailbreaking + MyWi vs Verizon’s Hotspot Data Plan

Let’s do some quick math comparing the two options:

  • Jailbreak your iPhone + buy MyWi once = $20
  • Verizon iPhone Wireless Hotspot Plan * 12 months = $240/year

Is the $220 difference over the course of a year worth the convenience to you? Not to me, but for some it definitely will be.

The only uncertainty here is that we don’t know when a CDMA iPhone jailbreak will be available, but let’s hope it comes quickly, then you’ll be able to use MyWi on the Verizon unlimited data plan (the unlimited plan is a good thing to get if you plan on using the iPhone hotspot).

What about AT&T?

We still don’t know what AT&T will charge for accessing the iOS 4.3 hotspot, or if they’ll even offer it, but hopefully they’ll just decide to include access to the wifi feature for free. Is this likely to happen? I doubt it, but including the hotspot in their standard data plans would be a strong reason to stay with or sign up for AT&T vs Verizon, what other competitive advantage are they going to have? Now, considering AT&T charges $20 a month right now to use your iPhone as a tethered modem, well, the outlook is bleak.

Did I mention that jailbreaking is not illegal? It’s your phone and your data, do what you want with it. For me, that’s MyWi.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone


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  1. Sara says:

    hi! i just jail broke my iphone for the MyWi. What is the process and payment?

    • Matt says:

      You need to contact Verizon or AT&T and setup a tethering plan. It is no longer recommended to use the jailbreak and MyWi method because they will charge you anyway, so you might as well just use iOS 4.3’s built-in HotSpot.

  2. Lou says:

    In the agreement for mywi 4.0 you are agreeing to
    Let your carrier know you are making your phone a wifi
    Hotspot and agree to pay their fee

  3. Bob says:

    Yes, the only charge will be the initial cost of the MyWi application.

    I believe you can use PdaNet for the same purpose without jailbreaking the phone.

  4. […] Personal Hotspot feature to AT&T iPhone 4’s is welcome, but I’m going to reiterate my opinion from the past regarding the Personal Hotspot usage fee. If you missed it, it goes like this: what you’re […]

  5. BamaFan1987 says:

    Let me get this straight… if I use MiWi, I don NOT have to pay for a tethering plan? It uses my unlimited data plan?

    To be clear, if I use MiWi, then I only have to pay for the application, NOT a monthly fee?


  6. joaquin says:

    So, using the MiWi is completely free after the purchase ($20)?? Does it also support up to 5 devices for tethering? Unlimited data like my internet services with my laptop/computers? I am afraid that if I watch a lot of videos or do a lot of downloads from my computer using the iphone tethering through MiWi is going to clean my wallet out for the verizon bill.

    If MiWi is one time payment with unlimited usage… then I might as well cancel my home internet service :P

    Would jailbreaking the verizon iphone affect its functionality or upgrades like a non-jailbroken one? What are their differences?

    • aiXen says:

      It may not appear on your bill as tethering but the issue you will encounter is that your “Unlimited” data plan is not “Unlimited”. Well it never has been and unless something has changed that I am unaware of then it mostly likely never will. The unspoken data limit for an unlimited data plans on Verizon Wireless is 5GB, and God help you if you hit that limit and pay overages. Enough offenses though and you will be offered to pay for the unannounced 10GB “Unlimited” plan at a rate of $80.00 per month. Just a warning before you shut down your connection with your ISP and go all cellular.

      • james moore says:

        ok. well ehres the thing. i tethered used pdanet on my android and and used 15 gbs and they never knew the difference. it just went under my unlimited data for the phone and never got charged extra. i am on verizon just so you now

  7. Khan says:

    Yeah the tethered JB can be a pain however, its better than what it used to be. I can’t tell you how handy it is using my WiFi only iPad in the car tethered to my iPhone. I’m sure the Dev Team will work it out. It’s all a matter of time. However, it would be great if AT&T would counter Verizon and offer the tether for free. Now THAT would be a real kick in then nads :-)

  8. D1veBum says:

    The main reason I even jailbroke my iPhone is to use MyWi. With that said the main counterpoint to this article is that there is not an untethered JB out for even current iOS much less iOS 4.3, and to JB with redsn0w is just a real pain in the arse. So you might have to wait…. and wait…. and wait to even consider using MyWi. Just my .02 worth.

  9. Sebastien says:

    You forgot to mention that if you go the official Verizon Hotspot route, you are limited to only 2GB a month of transfer through WiFi, REGARDLESS of you already paying for unlimited data!

    • Andreas says:

      @Sebastien: how are they going to know the origin of the traffic? How can they distinguish the Wifi traffic originating on a Wifi client from “genuine” Iphone traffic?

      • Sebastien says:

        This I do not know, but presumably when you activate the Hotspot feature it sends some token to the carrier who can then track data transferred until the Hotspot is disabled. The 2GB limit is insulting when you already pay for an unlimited data plan.

        There is no competition in US carrier pricing, they work together to fix prices like a cartel. This is why bills are always going up instead of down, as they should be in the traditional theory of technological advancement and what should be downward price pressure. Wait and see, AT&T will have identical pricing for Hotspot. It is a rip off.

  10. David says:

    My thoughts exactly

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