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How to save money by tethering your BlackBerry to laptop November 1, 2009

Posted by willhlaw in BlackBerry, Laptop, Mobile, Productivity, Verizon.
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I recently purchased the BlackBerry Tour from Verizon. The promotion at the time allowed me to get a subsidized Gateway netbook that is essentially free because of the rebates. However, you need to sign up for a 2-year contract for Verizon’s 3G plan. They only have two plans: $39.99/month for 250MB or $59.99/month for 5GB. I chose the $39.99/mo plan. And I ate up 236MB in the first 20 days. Not good. Note to self, do not watch YouTube videos or any videos with progressive loading while on 3G. It also did not help that I was surfing and blogging like a mad man during the biggest Sharepoint Conference of the year at Los Vegas (see all my posts at https://willhlaw.wordpress.com/category/sharepoint/spc09/). The thing is, I only watched one video and it was 9 minutes. I have been scared of going over (well, not that scared since it’s only $.10/MB once you go over), so I have turned it off. In the meantime, I have wanted to hook up my BlackBerry to the netbook. Using your mobile phone to act like a modem for your laptop, is called Tethering.

So, while watching football today, I decided to try it. From what all the forums were saying and from a previous foray into tethering with Verizon, it seemed that the only official way to tether is to pay Verizon $15/month. I think you can surf tethered as long as you want if you have the unlimited data plan with your phone plan. Comment #15 by blackberryontherun led me to http://tetherberry.com. These are the features they advertise on their website.

With Tetherberry, you can use your BlackBerry has a modem and not have to pay Verizon’s $15/month tethering fees. The Tetherberry product is a one time cost of $49.99, they have a free trial which is nice. I was able to install it on my pc quickly, send the link to the tetherberry.jad file to my mobile, and install it on the BlackBerry in less than 5 minutes. I turned off the WiFi on my netbook and saw magic happen. Below are screen captures of speed tests taken while tethering with the BlackBerry on Verizon’s network, while using Verizon’s 3G built-in modem, and while connected to WIFi wireless router on Verizon FIOS.

A) Speedtest with netbook tethered with the BlackBerry on Verizon’s network


B) Speedtest with netbook connected using Verizon’s 3G built-in adapter


C) Speedtest with netbook connected to wireless router on Verizon FIOS using speakeasy.com/speedtest


The tests were using http://speakeasy.net/speedtest. Tethering was decent at around 1Mb/second. I could watch this YouTube video Introducing the jQuery Sharepoint project, jPoint, without a problem. The 3G plan with Verizon was about 50% faster. The wireless router on Verizon FIOS was 15-20X faster, but that was expected. The purpose of the latter speed test is to give a baseline for some of the readers who may not have an idea on what 1249 kbps means. It means 15-20X slower than your network at home if you have Verizon FIOS or high-speed broadband internet through your cable provider.





BB Tethering w/ Verizon



Mobile data plan & VZAccess Manager

BB Tethering w/ TetherBerry



Mobile data plan & Tetherberry app

3G w/ Verizon (250MB)



3G modem built-into laptop or USB

3G w/ Verizon (5MB)



3G modem built-into laptop or USB

WiFi w/ Verizon FIOS

(Used for speed comparison)


Be within 100 ft. of wireless router


In conclusion, I am going to save a lot of money by going with a specific application like Tetherberry in order to surf on my netbook from anywhere within Verizon’s network (shown below).