Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:17 AM
I've never done it as a paid plan (their mistake). But I assume shared data means you can use your phone as an access point without needing a cable (you can use it as an access point with a cable whether you have shared data or not). I have done that, but it didn't cost me more because they inadvertently left the option wide open on the phone I had.Chances are you can't use it without a usb cable unless you pay extra for it, which I think is where "shared" comes in.
But you can do the same thing for free with a usb cable and something like EasyTether (in the app store). As far as I know that's true of all Android phones, but you might want to test it before relying on that assumption. It's a bit unwieldy unless you can keep the usb cable coming out the back of the computer (I use netbooks; all usb connections are on the side). It's also not a speed demon unless you have a good 4G connection. But it works.
I prefer to use a hotspot now. I can set it aside separately and connect more than one thing to it (up to 8 on this one). I've only been testing the current one for about a month, but I'm mostly satisfied with it. It's 4G only.
I tried one from Virgin Mobile and didn't like it. It was 3G/4G, the data on 3G was limited, it spent more time on 3G than 4G, it would drop connections completely and take up to a minute to reconnect, and several other things. Some of that was probably due more to being connected to Sprint than anything else, but Sprint gave coverage in one place I have to travel every year, so I used it for that. The one I have now (Clear) stays connected most of the time, and sudden dropouts are few. Now I'm even testing it with mobile MagicJack to see if I can use my tablet as my phone as well (so far so good, and only $20 a year). The only downside so far is the coverage isn't as good. But if I need a separate phone for a week, I can buy a cheap throwaway Tracfone.