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A simple guide to tethering

Whether you want to get your laptop online when there’s no Wi-Fi hotspot or want to share one data allowance between your phone and a tablet, O2 tethering is the answer

What is tethering?

Tethering simply means sharing your phone’s internet connection with other gadgets. It’s especially handy for getting your laptop or tablets online when they don’t have a 3G or 4G connection of their own. It also means you can do away with a USB dongle.

How does it work?

When you tether your phone, it doubles up as a modem that lets other devices hop online. You connect your tablet or laptop to the phone using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB cable. In turn, your phone shares its 3G or 4G connection.

The benefit of using a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection is that you can tether multiple devices to a single phone. Your friends can share your internet connection with their laptops, for example. Connecting with a USB cable charges your phone at the same time, sucking power from your laptop to avoid draining its own battery.

For an iPhone

Enabling O2 tethering on an iPhone is easy.

  1. Simply tap into Settings
  2. Select Personal Hotspot
  3. Flick it to the ‘on’ position and you’re set

The iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature works via Wi-Fi or USB by default, but when turned on, a pop-up message will ask if you want to enable Bluetooth too. You can share your iPhone’s internet connection with up to five devices simultaneously using Wi-Fi, so it’s the best option for multiple gadgets. If you have any problems, just give O2 customer services a call for free by dialling 2302 from your mobile.

For Android

Google introduced a personal hotspot feature with Android 2.2 Froyo. If your phone is running Android 2.2 or above, you’re ready to go. Setting it up is simple:

  1. Just tap into Settings
  2. Press Wireless And Network
  3. Select Tethering And Portable Hotspot
  4. Tick the Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot option and your other wireless gadgets will be able to connect immediately


To be completely secure, we recommend protecting your Android Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot using encryption. It’s easy to add from the settings menu using an 8-character password. You can set up tethering connections on Android via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB, although both Bluetooth and USB are secure already, so don’t need additional passwords. If you have any problems, just give O2 customer services a call for free by dialling 202 from your mobile.

For BlackBerry

With a 3G or 4G-capable BlackBerry and the latest version of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager, setting up O2 tethering for a laptop is easy.

  1. Connect your BlackBerry to the computer with a USB cable and load the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software.
  2. Select the IP Modem option, and follow the onscreen instructions to connect your BlackBerry as a tethered modem.

There are also several good apps for setting up Wi-Fi tethering on your BlackBerry. Tether for BlackBerry is one of the most popular ones. If you have any problems, just give O2 customer services a call for free by dialling 202 from your mobile.

For Symbian

To use your Nokia phone as a PC modem, you need to have the Ovi Suite installed on your computer. You can connect via USB or Bluetooth. If you opt for USB, make sure your phone is in Nokia Ovi Suite mode (check that by heading to Settings > Connectivity > USB) when plugging it in.

  1. Once your phone is connected, head to the Tools menu in the Ovi Suite PC software
  2. Select Connect to Internet
  3. When you’re finished, go to Tools and Disconnect

There are also plenty of Symbian apps for tethering your phone via Wi-Fi. One of the most popular is JoikuSpot which is available in free and paid versions. The paid version costs £4.46 and includes more options to secure your connection. If you have any problems, give O2 customer services a call for free by dialing 202 from your mobile.

See more insights, products and services from O2 Business here.

Articles are written by independent journalists and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of O2.



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