When tethering is a bad idea

I’m going to see how long it takes for someone to add a comment stating, “You should’ve know, you plonker”, but give me a minute to explain this one.

I’ve been using a Three SIM Zero card for quite some time. They don’t do this particular plan any longer, but you get 2GB of browsing for £5 per month. I pop it in a second mobile and tend to use it to stream internet radio in the car (remember this story?) Recently though I decided to use it for tethering. I’d used it before and never had a problem.


…I thought..

“This is going to cost a fortune! I’m sure it’s an additional charge for tethering now!”

..so I turned it off and decided to use the free WiFi in McDonalds. I was sitting outside the restaurant so I did a bit of browsing on an iPad and watched the world go by.

Trouble is, I hadn’t actually turned off the WiFi Hotspot on my mobile, and I was still connected to my phone. The worst part? As I was working it was on silent and all of the warning messages all flooded through within three or four minutes. The time from the first warning to the final “you’ve busted your credit limit” message was exactly five minutes, so despite my best attempts I was unable to turn off the hotspot quick enough.

When tethering is a bad idea

Sadly I’ve been in touch with Three, Three support and their social media team. They all basically told me that it’s tough luck and I have to pay. Even for me it was pretty shocking how quickly the charge increased, and even worse when I had a message saying, “You’ve spent £5” and then several more with rapidly increasing figures within such a short space of time.

So, next time you decide to tether, have a read of those Terms and Conditions, because you could quickly find yourself in the same boat, and your network won’t help you…

When tethering is a bad idea

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  • Martin

    Holy s… What sort of browsing were you doing to use that much up? Or do they charge a pound per k?

    • Anonymous

      They sent me the terms and conditions, I believe it’s 33p per MB

  • Kevin Gilmartin

    Ouch! When I worked for O2 we had a bill shock policy for first-time offenders who ran up stinking amounts of data charges. That was about 4 years ago, though.

  • It’s not just tethering that’s the issue – you managed to burn through 152mb of data in 5 minutes (internet radio, or YouTube?) on 3G.
    But if you’d been on 4G, how much could you have burnt through in 5 mins? If we take EE’s own claims, in theory that would have averaged 4 times the amount. So you could clock up £200 in 5 minutes!!
    And THAT is why the stupidly low data allowances on EE are such a bad idea.

  • weirdstuff

    Rookie error. ;-)

    Seriously though, gutted for you, little things easy to overlook sometimes…

  • Aniello Del Sorbo

    This simply shows how much similar to thieves (legalized) these companies are.
    There is NO justification for charging that much money for data. NOTHING at all.

  • Wagner

    Well, I won’t say “you fool”. I’ll say thanks for the heads up.

    Harsh way to find out about a silly mistake.

    As others said before, there are no justification for the charges other than greed.

  • weirdstuff

    Keep one of these in your pocket as a back-up, I’ve got two and so far it’s all gravy:


    Can’t get a better price than free…

  • Aidan Bree

    The issue is that you contract has been setup with a credit facility. Phone them up and get them to remove it. That way you will not be able to go above your 5 quid a month and you will just have no data when you reach 2GB

  • How can they tell you tethered?