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How to Get Verizon Wireless’ 4G $30 Unlimited Use Hotspot Feature Added to Your Account

Phillip Dampier July 12, 2011 Broadband Speed, Consumer News, Internet Overcharging, Verizon, Wireless Broadband 47 Comments

We have received dozens of e-mails from readers trying to add Verizon Wireless’ coveted 4G $30 unlimited-use Mobile Hotspot feature to their accounts, with varying results.  We’ve compiled, with the help of our readers, a guide to assist you in scoring the only good thing to come from Verizon’s recent changes in data pricing.  If you follow these steps, you should be good to go.

Q&A

1. What is a Mobile Hotspot and What Is Verizon offering? — Verizon Wireless offers customers a service to turn their 3G or 4G phones into a Wi-Fi provider, letting you connect your other portable devices, like a tablet or laptop, to your Verizon Wireless data connection to access the Internet over Wi-Fi.  Technically, this feature is built-in to most smartphones, but cell phone companies monetize it by charging you an extra monthly fee to use the service.  Traditionally, Verizon charges $20 extra a month (on top of your data plan) to enable this feature, and has limited it to 2GB of use per month.  Each additional gigabyte will cost you $10.  But when Verizon introduced its new 4G LTE network, early adopters to 4G phones got access to this feature for free, for a limited time.  On 7/7, Verizon’s new limited-use data plans took effect, and Verizon expired the free 4G Mobile Hotspot feature.  To placate 4G owners, it offered them the chance to continue getting unlimited use of this feature, for an extra $30 a month.

That’s a stiff price to pay on top of your monthly data plan, but because Verizon’s LTE network is currently fast enough to serve as a home broadband backup (we consistently get speeds of 11/3Mbps on LTE from our headquarters), $60 total for unlimited wireless Internet isn’t completely outrageous at those speeds.  Yes, it’s ridiculous Verizon disabled a feature built in and functional on phones in other countries, but it is the same story with other carriers as well.  We even agree with the proposition you should be able to use your unlimited data plan for anything you want, but that’s just not a reality at the moment.

2. Who exactly qualifies for the $30 unlimited Mobile Hotspot? — We have been able to confirm for sure that anyone who activated or at least ordered a 4G phone before midnight on 7/7 is qualified to upgrade to this plan.  You cannot, however, activate the plan on a 3G phone.  Only 4G models qualify.  Where things get murky is whether or not customers who currently have 3G phones can still upgrade to a 4G model after 7/7 and get this plan.  Droid Life believes the answer to this question may be “yes” based on two tweets sent from Verizon Support:

We are more skeptical, however, based on the accumulated responses we’ve collected from Verizon Wireless from our readers, which admittedly are all over the map.  Verizon reps have not been offering consistent information about the Mobile Hotspot plan since it was first announced more than a week ago.  The company is preoccupied with reassuring existing customers they were not at risk of imminently losing their unlimited data plans, an entirely different subject.

I would not upgrade to a 4G phone today in hopes of scoring this Mobile Hotspot plan unless you have the name of an employee you can use if you complete the order, try to activate the feature, and encounter resistance.  In truth, Verizon can do anything they want for any customer, new or otherwise.  The trick is finding an employee with the authority to make things happen.  Be prepared to escalate or call back if you encounter a roadblock.

3. What happens if I have a 4G phone and start a Hotspot session with a 3G signal, is it still unlimited? — Yes.  Any Mobile Hotspot session originated on this plan on a 4G phone is unlimited regardless of what network conditions you encounter, as long as you are on Verizon’s network.

4. Does this apply to mobile broadband, provided by a dongle or a MiFi device?  — No.  Only 4G smartphones qualify for this plan.

5. How many people can share my Mobile Hotspot connection at the same time? — Verizon traditionally says five, but my phone (Samsung Charge) supports up to 10 concurrent Hotspot connections.  That’s a lot, so if everyone piles on, expect some slowdowns from the shared connection.

6. Can you add and drop the featured plan and get it back later? — Verizon has not said.  The company has not responded to questions about the longevity of this plan, whether it could be withdrawn, or whether customers can add and drop it (and add it back) at will.  We see that as evidence this is a promotional add-on that is likely to be withdrawn for new customers at some point in the future.  Verizon traditionally grandfathers customers already on a plan indefinitely, which means if you have it, you can keep it.  If this feature is important to you, we recommend you add it and keep it active.  When it’s gone for new sign-ups, it’s gone.

7. I do not see the plan under Verizon’s My Services on their website.  Should I be concerned? — No.  The plan was being offered to customers initiating new Mobile Hotspot sessions on their 4G phones, but not to all.  We never found it on Verizon’s website.  The only indication it is active on your account is finding this: “4G SMARTPHONE HOTSPOT” listed on this page (to access, you must first login to your Verizon Wireless account and select the line on which the feature was ordered.)

Ordering Advice

We have found multiple methods of securing this plan, and with the thanks of Stop the Cap! reader DJ, we have even located the all-important plan number, which you can reference when contacting Verizon.  If you run into a roadblock calling Verizon customer service, or can’t get the plan added while visiting a Verizon Wireless corporate store, we have some other suggestions.

1. Customers who already had a 4G phone before 7/7 can call Verizon Wireless from your phone at 611 or 1-800-922-0204 Monday-Sunday 6am-11pm ET.  Tell them you wish to add plan code #76153 — $30 Unlimited 4G Mobile Hotspot.

2. If you activated a new 4G phone after 7/7, call VZW’s Orders & Activations Hotline at 1-877-807-4646.  Work through the prompts.  You may be prompted to accept a customer agreement and get “trapped” in a menu asking you to press “1” or “2” after accepting the customer agreement.  Press “0” and wait to be transferred to a live agent.  Tell them you wish to add plan code #76153 — $30 Unlimited 4G Mobile Hotspot.

3. If rebuffed by either, try calling 1-316-681-9940, the number to a Verizon store in Kansas that has employees active in several phone forums helping people trying to get on this plan.  They should be able to add the plan to any 4G phone account, whether you are in Kansas or not.  Again, reference plan code #76153 — $30 Unlimited 4G Mobile Hotspot.

Let us know if you still have any problems in our comments section!

Currently there are 47 comments on this Article:

  1. K says:

    If you have a smartphone on a tiered data plan activated after 7/7, and successfully add this feature, will it stay on permanently, or will it eventually get shut down? Any long term experience?

  2. D says:

    ,Had Droid with unlimited 3g, and just upgraded to Galaxy Nexus and was able to get unlimited 4g and hotspot. Said that # above is outdated, but were able to give the unlimited hotspot without knowing the #. Just do it in a store, because then you can bug them as long as you want, and they have no choice but to try to get you what you want.

  3. Ming says:

    Tried option 3, calling the store in Kansas. The 76153 code no longer works and he is unable to help. Scratch that off the list.

  4. Ted says:

    Hey,
    Most of those comments reference this very article. Has anyone had success with this recently?
    Thanks.

    • D says:

      Yes, I have recently done this for the Galaxy Nexus

      —————-quote—————–

      ,Had Droid with unlimited 3g, and just upgraded to Galaxy Nexus and was able to get unlimited 4g and hotspot. Said that # above is , but were able to give the unlimited hotspot without knowing the #. Just do it in a store, because then you can just keep on bothering them and bugging them as long as you want, and they have no choice but to try to get you what you want.

      ——————————————

  5. Bill says:

    Does anyone know if this still works or have they killed it or can I call the store in Kansas and have them do it???

  6. Mike says:

    This no longer works, I recently tried this about a week ago. was told promotion ended on 1/15/12. If anyone has gotten it after that please let me/us know how….

    • Daniel says:

      I called Verizon last week at their standard *611. I simply said to the rep that I wanted to get the unlimited 4g hotspot plan. The rep sounded surprised and asked me how I heard about it… through a rep on the phone or in the store. I just told her that I read about it on the internet and wanted to order it. She then asked me what exactly the plan was and I told her it was the $30/month Unlimited Hotspot plan and I gave her the plan #76153 . She put me on hold for about 5 minutes and when she came back online she told me she was adding it to my account. And that was it. I just went to my account to see the current service features. This is what it says:

      4G Mobile Hotspot
      Mobile Broadband Connect

      Use your Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone as a modem to get instant online access on your computer.

      Mobile Hotspot

      Using your 4G LTE Smartphone, share your data allowance with multiple Wi-Fi-enable devices. No additional drivers or software necessary.

      Requires an unlimited data package / plan subscription of $29.99 or higher.

      Additional Terms & Conditions apply.

      …. So I’m assuming that you need to have the unlimted 4g on my phone, which I already had previous.

      My only question is…. If anyone already has this, what hardware are you using to get internet in your home to your wired devices, through the 4g hotspot on your phone.

      • Daniel says:

        I’m looking for a Wireless Access Point for my 4G wireless Hotspot from my phone… Anyone know of something that worked for them?

        • David says:

          Hi Daniel,

          Just spoke with a supervisor at Verizon. Apparently, you can you use your 4G smart phone at the access point. He walked me through the system, requires you to go to home, settings, wireless, tethering and mobile hotspot, then check the mobile hotspot and note or put in a password-cause you are going to use that as the key for your wireless computer connection. (also need to change the name of the mobile hotspot if you are using Windows XP) So now, instead of the 4G MIFI at $50/month, my phone becomes the data point. $30/month unlimited-allowing my backup system to function (I hope). I also plan to get rid of my home phone and switch number to my wireless saving another $20/month!
          Thanks for your input.
          Cheers

          • Daniel says:

            Thanks for the reply Dave. I was should have been more specific… I was referring to a wireless access point for my wired devices (ie; desktop pc, xbox,tv). Literally, within minutes of ordering my hotspot feature i was able to connect my laptop to it. I’d like to get a WAP to pick up the internet from my phone and hook those devices from the WAP through ethernet. Also, a WAP will transmit a strong signal throughout my home, whereas I’ve found my Bionics’s hotspot to be fairly weak.

  7. David says:

    Confirmed working on 2/8/2012.

    • David says:

      Daniel,
      That is what I set up via my bionic droid smartphone. A WAP2 that acts as the hotspot for my computer. Currently running 8 mb/s on download and 3 mb/s on upload. Its not connected to computer, as the wireless hotspot is supposed to be faster than hard wire.
      cheers
      david

  8. LISA OVERSTREET says:

    I DO NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE $30 UNLIMITED MOBILE HOTSPOT . I JUST ORDERED A 4G PHONE FROM VERIZON. TO HOOK UP TO MY LAPTOP. BECAUSE I HAVE DIAL UP . I HAD TO ORDER $39.99 PHONE PLAN AND $30.00 FOR 4GB DATA PLAN AND IT IS GOING TO COST $20.00 TO TETHER PHONE TO LAPTOP. HOW CAN THE $30.00 UNLIMITED MOBILE HOTSPOT SAVE ME MONEY. WOULD I STILL PAY FOR TETHERING WITH THIS PLAN. IF I COULD GET IT. SORRY TO BE SO STUPID. BUT I AM JUST LEARNING.

    • D says:

      First, you do not qualify for this plan unless you have had a plan long enough to have unlimited data, which it does not seem you have. Secondly, what this plan is is IF you have an unlimited data plan, you can also buy the ability to make a wifi hotspot (tethering included)that gives unlimited data. Your tethering would only be up to 2 gigabytes I believe, according to what you said about the amount of data you purchased, just because you have tethering does not mean that that too is not limited by the 2gb you bought, so for both the phone and your computer you have a Max of 2gb total.

  9. David says:

    LIsa, you are not being stupid-Verizon is. They sold you more than you need. If you are still within 14 days of purchase, I would talk to a supervisor at Verizon, keep the smart phone (provided it comes with Hotspot, teathering), and send back the other options. Your 4G phone will act as a hotspot for your internet, and you can get rid of the other “land” line. There’s a lot of different answers at Verizon. Keep calling until you find a supervisor that is willing to make the unlimited data plan. Plan on 5 hours. Good luck….

  10. billiam says:

    This worked for me on 3/1/12

    Took about 11 calls lmao

    after like 9 a lady finally gave me the plan, at first it showed unlimited, but then it changed to 6gb data plan and 2gb hotspot, so then i called and the guy told me she wasnt supposed to do that and put me on hold to figure it out, he told me he could put the same code in and it would change it to unlimited but then it would just revert to the 6gb/2gb plan automatically again so i said okay just remove the hotspot and give me my 2g for 30$ back, so then i called one last time with shattered hoped and dreams (lol) and this time when i called and it asked where i wanted to be directed to i said billing. I got a man on the phone and told him that i had tried to get this 30 dollar unlimited plan and it was supposed to give me unlimited data for hotspot and regular use but it got changed and then i had to have it removed blah blah and that i wanted the plan i was told i would be given so he put me on hold came back two mins later and said it was done i checked and sure enough, and this time its not changing he said he made sure it was secured.

    • landon says:

      I have had unlimited data for years now. I just got a DROID RAZR MAXX and would like to have the unlimited hotspot. So I just need to keep calling customer service until someone gives me the $30 month unlimited hotspot?

    • patrick.mileski says:

      I never had unlimited data before or anything. I tried this with a 3g phone that I borrowed from a friend, and TWO reps said that I need a 4g phone. So I went to the store and bought a 4g lte phone with the special 4gb for 29.99.

      Now I can’t get anyone from Verizon to add the unlimited 4g mobile hotspot feature to my phone. I’ve called like 8 times already.

      Any suggestions?

  11. David says:

    I logged into VZW website this morning, selected Change Features, and I was given the option to add tis $30 unlimited plan. It took all of 30 seconds and never had to call the CRS. I bought a Bionic on eBay last week, and activities it late Wednesday night.

  12. David says:

    OMG! You are brilliant. Thanks for sharing. This, as you can see by reading the thread, will save much frustration.
    cheers

  13. Greg says:

    Tis true. I upgraded to a Droid Razr Maxx from a Droid X last night, and was given the option for the unlimited hotspot under ‘features’ during the upgrade process. They are actually offering it for 20% off, so $24/month, and says it is normally $30/month. Not sure how long that will be going on. I feel lucky. Also, I didn’t have to talk to or beg anyone for the unlimited tethering/hotspot. Awesome!

    • patrick.mileski says:

      did you have unlimited data before though? no one is offering this plan to me. i never had unlimited data.

    • patrick.mileski says:

      Also…Did you do your upgrade in the STORE or ONLINE?

      Please help me someone.

      • Greg says:

        Yes, I did previously have the $29.99 unlimited data. I upgraded online. I don’t believe the unlimited hotspot is available to tiered data plan customers.

        • Does anyone know if Verizon will still allow a third party to assume control of a “family plan” line grandfathered with unlimited data and launch a new standalone account from it?

          I have a still-active account for my father’s phone (he passed away in December) that remains under contract and has unlimited data. If this is a possible pathway to help someone get unlimited mobile hotspot, I’d be more than willing to explore transitioning the line away to someone else (and avoid ETFs) if it actually can be done.

  14. bill says:

    Keep calling and yes the unlimited hotspot is avilable to anyone who ALREADY has unlimited data grandfathered. Lo

  15. bill says:

    No, I had a 2gb 30$ plan thats it. I removed the hotspot too, and still have unlimited

  16. Bryce says:

    Does anyone think this is still going on? I’m going to try it I think. I can remove the mobile hotspot correct because I’m tight on money right now and can’t afford the extra $30 and not having to worry about going over my usage every month would be really nice.

  17. Bryce says:

    Just called them and they told me I needed to have an unlimited plan and they had 6gb for $50, etc. Should I just flat out tell them the plan code #76153?

  18. Bryce says:

    3 times, no luck adding it =/.

  19. Joel says:

    I called in today and after like my 4th call, u got a guy to give me a 12GB plan that bundled my data and hotspot for 40$ more. so I’m paying 70$ right But I don’t have unlimited.
    I called in again right after and I asked the lady what could I do to get the unlimited and she said there was no way that she or a supervisor could so it because “it was not in the system” , so even if she wanted to change it to unlimited, she said she could simply because it was “not in the system”.
    so that I all I could do, get 12GB with mobile hotspot.

    can someone help me! is there something I can do or say to get the “unlimited” mobile data AND hotspot for Only $60 .

    please, someone.

  20. I think it appears increasingly true you had to be grandfathered on unlimited data in order to get unlimited mobile hotspot service. I think this has been consistent since the original story was written with a few aberrations here and there.

    Remember, you can upgrade your device under grandfathered unlimited data and still keep unlimited data. It’s a customer retention tool that will lock a lot of people into place with their existing carrier. AT&T is throttling those using over 3GB a month, however.

  21. Adan says:

    I am user of USB Modem LG600. Its does use 4G LTE. I just called and asked for unlimited data plan and they resisted. Yet I noticed this thread is limited to mobile tethering only which I do not have. Plan to switch over to Verizon for my cellphone. Right now just Mobile 4G USB modem.

    Any tips to get that unlimited plan for USB modem?

  22. Kristen says:

    I have called Verizon 3 times. The $29.99 plan was on my account LAST March, 2011. They said they cannot put me back on that plan as it is no longer offered. They said the code is not there to add it in. I have talked to the loyalty department, a rep and a supervisor. Can anyone please help?

  23. KRS says:

    I just upgraded my 3G smartphone to a 4G phone and added the 4G mobile hotspot and unlimited data usage when using as a hotspot. I have been with Verizon for 15 years and had an unlimited data plan on my phone prior to July 2011.

    After talking with Tech support they confirmed that as long as you had an unlimited data plan on your previous smart phone you can add the 4G hotspot with unlimited data usage for $30. It does not matter if your in a 3G or 4G area as long as you using a 4G device. I also had two call center reps tell me the samething (one was the lady who placed my order from the Seattle call center and they showed on my new order this promo was added.

    However, my local store told me this was not possible but when I spoke to the regional manager as the store manager was rude and misinformed she confirmed it can be added. She said it was promoted a year ago but not so much anymore but still an option if you ask for it. If your store is not in a 4G area, they tend to be clueless about it has been my experience. A 4G area store can add this feature also and you don’t need to call.

    NOTE: As others have posted and which I can confirm that if you did not have an unlimited data plan on your phone prior to July 2011 you can NOT add the 4G hotspot unlimited for $30. You can only add the 2G for $20. The call center rep read what you can and can’t do directly from her computer.

    I have a few great contacts if your having problems getting this added and had an unlimited data plan on your phone prior to 2011. If needed, let me know or or post a follow up.

    • GraphicDemon says:

      I’d really could use this feature I got a kid n another on way b really nice not to worry soo much…

  24. Joe says:

    Anyone try or will try to get this for the galaxy s3? Pre-ordered on the 6th and coming from a 3g phone with grandfathered data plan. I’m thinking if the new tiers come out before delivery, it may be a lost cause. Adding it to a phone that isn’t active yet may be the same.

  25. david says:

    In January 2011, I was successful at switching my 4 gbyte to an unlimited data plan, which I never had before. It required a few calls to supervisors, threats to quit, and some tears, but I got it. Dont give up!

  26. Brittany says:

    @Joe I plan on doing just that. I’m going from the Droid X to the S3. It seems like a bit of a lost cause though. Will most likely email the higher ups and see if anything comes of it.

  27. For those who successfully added unlimited 4G mobile hotspot service to their account, Verizon has (temporarily?) reduced the monthly price 20%, from $30 to $24.

  28. gboy says:

    Can i get that with a metro pcs samsugm glaxy 4G lol just asking

  29. Rick says:

    Does this still work?

    • Panda says:

      If you still have the grandfathered unlimited data plan you can add mobile hotspot from your my verizon app @ an extra cost of $30 a month. Just activated it two months ago and have been enjoying the features.

  30. I need an usb internet service no contract unlimited do u guys haven’t

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