So basically all I want to know is will I receive a huge bill from verizon if I tether? We pay for unlimited data, but still...
under 5GB a month is reasonable to Verizon. For the casual use I get with tethering (ipod touch with slingbox usually) I've never gone over 5GB. I have a user here that has a VZW aircard and he streams some video all day long at work (financial stuff like cnbc) and we got a nice message from Verizon saying they are close to reaching the "limit" on the unlimited plan. You can check your data and txt usage by dialing #3282 send from your phone. A free text is sent back to you with your usage in Kilobytes.
Give you a quick example. I was traveling last mont in California and was using my droid tethered to my laptop. I was web browsing, slinging, and using Skype. That week alone I used about 2.5GB of data. I do Gmail direct push and use Good Mobile Messaging for corporate email so that's a bit of data just in that.
Bottom line, as said above by Zargon just keep it reasonable. If you stream Youtube 24 hours a day you will get bit.
The practical answer and the theory answer are different. The theory answer is that if you tether at all and Verizon catches you, they can bill you for every megabyte. The practical answer is that they *probably* will not do this unless you use more than 5GB but there are *no guarantees*.
What is going on here is simply VZW's efforts to (a) deal with potential network overload as the number of highly capable smart phones proliferate and (b) derive revenue from heavy network users.
The assumption is simply that if one is downloading many gigabytes of data to one's phone in a particular month it is highly likely that you are using that data on some device other than your phone. And if you're doing that Verizon has a broadband data plan for you to the tune of $60 per month.
Trouble is that even that plan doesn't deal with potential network overload and the extremely heavy use some people may engage in. So they limit that plan to 5 gigs max per month.
All of this is simply a bunch of stopgap measures in the face of uncertainty. There is a real risk that 3G networks will be overloaded as devices like the Droid proliferate. (The problem is especially significant for android devices since android devices (and iPhones) use far more bandwidth than, for example, BlackBerry's.)
Part of the long-term solution is building out LTE and/or 4g networks that can move data more quickly (at a premium price, I'm betting.) But trying to plan for the future in the midst of a competitive environment is difficult. So VZW simply threatens and warns users not to "overuse" their network.