Mobile broadband providers in the US may offer unlimited data plans for phones, but they’re usually a lot more stingy when it comes to 3G access for laptops or other devices. Typically you have to pay $60 per month for a USB 3G modem or a MiFi device that lets you share a 3G connection with multiple devices over WiFi. And while you can technically connect a laptop to almost any smartphone to share its data connection, you’re typically prohibited from doing so unless you pony up more cash.
But it looks like Verizon has had a change of heart — at least when it comes to the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. Because Verizon just removed the fee for using the 3G Mobile Hotspot feature on these two smartphones.
Basically, the Mobile Hotspot feature lets you share your 3G connection with any nearby computer over a WiFi signal — almost exactly the way you would with a MiFi. Verizon used to charge $50 per month on top of your regular phone bill for this feature. But now you can add 3G Mobile Hotspot to your cart for free. Existing customers will find that they’re simply no longer billed for this feature.
As jkOnTheRun points out, this doesn’t mean you get unlimited data for free. While the phone plan is still unlimited, you can only transfer up to 5GB per month using the 3G Mobile Hotspot software.
In other words, if you’re in the market for a new phone and you were thinking of picking up a MiFi and a smartphone, Verizon just decided to save you a lot of money.