Least expensive laptop internet connection/tethering solutions

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What are the least expensive laptop internet connection/tethering service solutions so that whenever I need my Windows 10 laptop to access the internet (and don't have a Wi-Fi connection) I will be able to access the internet using my tethering solution?
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Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Check discount cell providers near you, like Cricket or drop round your nearest Best Buy + ask someone at the cell phone service desk.

The cheapest solution will be highly dependent on you exact area, down to your zip code.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
The least expensive is normally your cell phone. Turn it into a hotspot and use your data plan. Since you already have a phone data plan, adding some MB incrementally to your existing plan is the cheapest way to go most times.

I have done this while roaming as well.
You may want to look at devices like https://yourkarma.com/wifi/pricing/

My understanding, they are not great but they are cheap. Again - depends on where you are.
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IT GuyNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
Does YourKarma.com have a coverage map I can look at?

Do you know what their coverage is like in the San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose Bay Area in California?
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
San Francisco bay area excellent
https://yourkarma.com/coverage
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software Engineer

Commented:
Drive to the nearest public library, Office Depot or Walmart, park in the parking lot, use the free Wifi.  Practical if you don't live in a cold climate, there is not much data to be moved, and there does in fact exist free WiFi near you.
Ron MalmsteadInformation Services Manager

Commented:
I have Metro PCS....45 bucks a month...8 gigs worth of tethering included...on my cheap android LG.  I tether my win10 laptop daily...
Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant

Commented:
How much monthly data do you need?
IT GuyNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
Ron Malmstead,

Can you provide me with a URL that shows Metro PCS' data coverage map?

Gary,

I only need around 1 GB of data per month. This is for when I am interviewing at customer locations where I am unable to connect to their Wi-Fi. I am especially interested in plans that will allow me to carry over unused data each month.

If I am in my car I am usually able to drive a few extra miles if necessary to a known Wi-Fi hotspot location but while I am onsite at customer locations I don't have that option.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
Commented:
Hot spot your phone. I used to carry around a MiFi hot spot that would allow me to "tether" up to 5 devices at any given time.

That's no longer necessary as the phone based hot spot is not extra data charged anymore.

The only caveat I find with the hot spot is that the "tether" can sometimes drop if there is an incoming call.

But, it is worth it as we dropped the extra cost of the MiFi.
Ron MalmsteadInformation Services Manager
Commented:
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
My phone plan (not expensive) gives me 3 GB of data, so this would easily work for you if your plan is similar.

For your use (as you describe it), using your existing phone and plan will likely be the cheapest way to go. And if your phone service is good, your internet will be good.
Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant
Commented:
I just use my major-carrier phone for tethering, but I have a large data plan, since I travel frequently and use a lot of mobile data.

Check with your carrier, and see what the additional cost is.  Often that is the cheapest option.

If you don't mind switching carriers, or if you want to turn a spare phone into a mobile hotspot (or buy a dedicated hotspot device, but that's probably overkill for your situation), and especially of you may nonly need it for a short time ,look at a pay-as-you-go SIM.  When I travel out of the US, I often buy a pay-as-you-go local SIM card to get cheap local data rates for the duration of the trip.  Here is an article that might be useful regarding low cost data plans in the US:

https://www.androidcentral.com/these-are-cheapest-data-plans-you-can-buy-us

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