Can I Tether My MetroPCS Cell Phone to My Laptop?
By James T Wood
MetroPCS is a wireless phone company serving the Eastern United States in key metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Georgia and Orlando, Florida. Tethering refers to connecting a data enabled phone to a laptop and using the mobile phone as a modem to get the laptop online.
Known for lower cost phone service that doesn't require a contract, MetroPCS is the fifth largest mobile provider in the US as of February 2011. They provide fourth generation (4G) data coverage through the use of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology upgrading the existing cellular network.
Cellular data sends more information through the wireless provider's radio towers than simple voice calls. Most mobile phones use a mobile browser that accesses Web pages formatted for portable devices and requires that less data be sent over the network. Since each cell tower has a limited number of connections it can make, limiting the mobile data requests prevents the network from being overloaded. Similar to when the cell networks get jammed after a major event where most people are trying to make phone calls, if too much data is sent over the network at a time it will result in network slowdowns and users being unable to access the mobile data network.
Tethering is the process of attaching a mobile phone to a laptop or other portable device as a modem to connect it to the Internet. Tethering allows the laptop to access the Internet through the mobile phone's data connection, but it also accesses the full Internet rather than the scaled down mobile version used by most phone Web browsers. The result is that tethered phones consume much more data, on average, than a standard Web enabled phone that is using a mobile Web browser.
According to the MetroPCS website (as of February 2011): "At this time, tethering your MetroPCS phone to other devices to create a data connection via your MetroPCS phone is not allowed." This is due in part to the extra strain that tethered phones put on the data network.
James T Wood is a teacher, blogger and author. Since 2009 he has published two books and numerous articles, both online and in print. His work experience has spanned the computer world, from sales and support to training and repair. He is also an accomplished public speaker and PowerPoint presenter.