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I have never used a hotspot before, but anticipate using one for homework or business purposes once my laptop is delivered. So in being proactive, what should I know about the ease or headache in using a hotspot (McDonalds, Starbucks, Libraries etc). Do they cost, do I need passwords, etc...

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Last Post by bstylez
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It all depends on the hotspot. Completely open hotspots (which seem to be the majority of them out there) tend to be relatively trouble-free, although you still might experience some connectivity issues if you're trying to connect from some distance away. Some are free, some are not. And strangely, some hotspots are more difficult to connect to with different operating systems. My success has varied, but most of the hotspots I use tend to have regular dropouts -- which is fine for web browsing, but impossible to use for any kind of downloading or real-time chats.

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Some are not free, elaborate. How much are we talking, and do you pay once, or every time you connect using that "spot" ?

I went to starbucks the other day, and I noticed on the window "T-mobile hotspot". Does that mean T-mobile customers get it free, & everyone else pays, or is that just an advertisement saying t-mobile provided the hotspot?

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Some are not free, elaborate. How much are we talking, and do you pay once, or every time you connect using that "spot" ?

I can't remember any specifics, but it's typical for hotspots to charge several dollars per hour of internet usage. And it's usually per-hour or per-day kind of spending, I've rarely seen a one-time signup fee.

I went to starbucks the other day, and I noticed on the window "T-mobile hotspot". Does that mean T-mobile customers get it free, & everyone else pays, or is that just an advertisement saying t-mobile provided the hotspot?

Yup, T-Mobile charges for their hotspots. I don't know if existing T-Mobile users get it free, although it wouldn't surprise me. In any case, you can't get free wireless internet at Starbucks. (At least, not without paying for some other stuff first...)

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T-Mobile hotspot means that a person with the "Hotspots" service included in their T-Mobile plan may come to Starbucks in order to access the web there. It does not mean you're going to be charged. But you DO have to have that certain service enabled on your T-Mobile wireless plan.

AT&T and T-Mobile have entered into a contract starting this Spring in Starbucks locations nation-wide that allow AT&T customers to roam onto the T-Mobile Starbucks hotspots free of charge. This is expected to last the five-year length of the contract entered into between T-Mobile and AT&T. This ONLY applies at Starbucks :D

Generally, hotspots are free, but the word hotspot can mean a variety of different things. For example, traveling last winter, I went to a Holiday Inn, where they don't charge for their hotspot. At my workplace, we have numerous hotspots, all which only require you to press connect on the waiver page that pops up prior to connecting. I'm sure that you will learn quickly after trying to connect whether you're going to be able to for free!

Hope this helps!

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Thanks! 2 bad I'm with Verizon, lol. I just left U.S Cellular (not a national carrier) to go with Verizon. Fortunately I have a PDA that allows tethering, so worst case, although the speed might not be the best, I can use my phones network to connect.

Thanks for the AT&T/T-Mobile update....

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