It appears Verizon is going to make good on their offer of giving all Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus owners free 5 GB of Mobile Hotspot usage per month, despite charging upcoming Droid X a 2 GB-for-$20 for the exact same service.
The Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus were the first phones in America to offer Mobile Hotspot service officially, after seven years of PhoneNews.com telling folks how to do that for free already. After sales of the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus stagnated, Verizon gave the service away for free… effectively nullifying the need to ever own a mobile broadband card.
However, AT&T charging a minimum of $70 for iPhone tethering data plans, appears to have prompted Verizon to reverse plans. One problem; they promised Palm buyers the service for free. So, they’re grandfathered (at least for the life of their contracts).
And, you can be grandfathered too.
All you need to do is buy a Pre Plus or Pixi Plus and keep it in the tote bag of your choice. When you want a mobile hotspot, dial *228 and chose the hidden Option 3 to do a device swap in-the-field. That will swap you from Droid X (or any phone for that matter) over to the phone you’re calling in from. In this case, that’s a Pre/Pixi Plus.
Once you’ve done that, fire up Mobile Hotspot and enjoy. When finished, you simply call *228 from your main phone, and swap back. You can even fire up Wi-Fi on your Droid (X) and surf on it as well.
Now, we know this may not be practical for everyone. But, for casual Mobile Hotspot users and bandwidth hogs alike, this could save you hundreds of dollars per year… even factoring in the cost of the $150 Pixi Plus (we’re going by eBay prices on that one).
Doing the math, 5 GB of data costs $60 extra (three $20, 2 GB tethering charges). That’s $720 per year for those that use 4-5 GB of tethering per month.
If you’re a casual user, you can save just as much, that $20/month tethering fee is going to wind up costing you $480 over the course of a two year contract. More interested in carrying around a Palm as a spare phone? We thought so.
Disclaimer: We aren’t Verizon. Verizon may not like we wrote this (not that we care). Verizon may decide it’s cheaper to let all the Palm folk out of their contracts and yank the free 5 GB of tethering. Or, they may implement some unfair you-swap-phones-and-lose-the-free-hotspot rule change. We don’t know. Again, we’re not Verizon.