If you are fortunate enough to have a third generation iPad with Wi-Fi plus Cellular, you have the potential to provide Internet to your arsenal of devices using the cellular data connection on your tablet. This can be very helpful when you happen to be somewhere without a reliable public Wi-Fi connection or for those moments you are in motion (like as the passenger in a moving automobile).
Many of us have been taking advantage of this feature on our post 3GS iPhone but for those unfamiliar there are a few things to consider. Unfortunately, details aren’t always easy to find and tend to be even more difficult to understand.
If you subscribe to AT&T for your iPad cellular data connection, you are finally in luck! AT&T just announced a new data sharing plan available on August 23 that includes using your iPad as a mobile hotspot. Unfortunately, this feature requires a subscription to their upper-end 5GB data plan, but chances are good you may need it anyway if you have multiple devices taking advantage of it. The other catch with this new plan is that to subscribe, you have to have an activated smartphone on it as well.
The good news for those using Verizon, is it is already an option. In fact, you can share the data allowance from your Verizon 4G LTE network connection with up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices and not incur any additional charges (beyond your current subscription fees).
For those without the mobile hotspot option (or those on AT&T and not wanting to pay for it), jailbreaking could do the trick. Numerous software options exist, but none with flawless reviews so your mileage may vary. The best solution may just be patience if you carrier is not yet on board with the option.
With many of the iPhone data plans already including tethering, some may ask why a person would want to use this feature on their iPad instead (or as well). The key reason is battery life; the iPad lasts a lot longer than the iPhone and most people need their phones to keep running for as long as possible between charges. Of course, this mobile hotspot feature is also common among friends and family members that want to share a single cellular plan across multiple Wi-Fi enabled devices.