We often mention "phone tethering" here, which is the practice of connecting and using a 3G phone as a high speed, wireless modem. Carriers frown upon solutions that bypass their own offerings because that cuts into their potential revenues. Sprint, which appears to be floundering of late when compared to the other major U.S. carriers, has decided to make their phone tethering plan a little more appealing to consumers. The PAM or Phone-As-Modem add-on cost is now $15 a month, instead of the prior $50. You’ll need to add the PAM option to an existing data plan of course.
$15 a month is a much more tolerable expense, especially for someone that doesn’t want the additional expense of a dedicated 3G card for EV-DO or HSDPA service. Typically, those types of solutions run $60 a month and overlap from a hardware perspective: do you really need multiple 3G devices? Some, like myself, do… I have an EV-DO modem with Verizon at $60 month, and I’ve previously owned 3G handsets at the same time. For a while, I tethered my phone for modem use over both Bluetooth and USB to save that $60 a month, but that ties up the phone for incoming calls. HSDPA solutions don’t have that limitation, but some prefer the simplicity of just using a phone as a phone and a modem as a modem. Regardless of preference, I think it’s a great move on Sprint’s part to drop the PAM price. Customers that balked at a $50 monthly bill in the past are much more apt to tack on this service for $15 a month. If you go this route, be sure to check your Terms Of Service as the total bandwidth allowable in a given month is 5 GB.