Have you seen a rise in your monthly cell bill? If you have, it is only right to wonder if Bluetooth costs money or other features on your phone are causing the rise. Bluetooth is a convenient wireless technology that allows you to connect two devices.
You can use Bluetooth to share files from one device to another or to play music through a Bluetooth speaker. The technology uses radio waves to compress files and send them as signals. Could that be driving up your monthly bills?
Does Bluetooth Cost Money?
No. Bluetooth does not cost any money and will not drive up your cell bill. The technology doesn’t use cellular data, so no matter how much you use Bluetooth in a month, it will have no impact on the bill you pay at the end of that month.
The only way wireless technology will cost you money is when you use more electricity to charge your mobile device. However, the amount it will cost is insignificant compared to what other devices in your home will consume. In short, Bluetooth will not cost you a thing to use.
Read on to learn more about Bluetooth and how it works.
What is Bluetooth and How Does It Connect Devices?
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to connect two devices. It can only connect devices at a short range, allowing these devices to share data. The technology draws its name from King Harald Bluetooth from 10th century Denmark.
The king is remembered for uniting Scandinavia. The name Bluetooth, therefore, means uniting two devices. It is a brand name and that is why it starts with a capital letter.
The 2.4 GHz radio waves used by Bluetooth are the same that WiFi uses. However, while WiFi connects devices to the same network, Bluetooth connects devices directly. Bluetooth works for devices that have an adapter in them and these devices have to pair.
The two devices will be visible to each other, but they can only transmit data once pairing occurs. During pairing, one device generates a number and the number has to be entered into the other device to pair. Communication only occurs between the two synchronized devices.
There are several Bluetooth classes, depending on the strength of the signal and the range. Devices with Bluetooth have radio antennas that allow them to send and receive signals. If a transmitter is powerful, Bluetooth connects devices over a long range.
Class 1 Bluetooth devices are the most powerful, and they can operate at a range of up to 100 meters. Class 2 devices are the most common, and they connect devices up to 10 meters apart, or 33 feet apart. Class 3 transmitters have the lowest power and can only connect devices up to 3.3 ft. or 1m apart.
How Does Bluetooth Differ From WiFi in Terms of Cost?
Unlike WiFi, Bluetooth doesn’t rely on a central device such as a router. This means that you do not have to incur the cost of installing other parts in your home. All Bluetooth devices come with a built-in adapter that is ready to use.
WiFi doesn’t require pairing, but you have to connect devices to the network. The two technologies use the same bandwidth, but they rarely interfere with each other’s communication. If you turn off WiFi and cellular data, Bluetooth devices will still communicate and transmit data.
You can try disconnecting your device from WiFi and turning off cellular data then playing some music. If you have music saved on your phone, you will hear it over a Bluetooth speaker without the need for any cellular data.
You will pay every month to keep your WiFi on and keep accessing the internet. This makes WiFi costly to sustain in the long run, but Bluetooth doesn’t need any data and no monthly bills.
WiFi is faster and transmits higher quality audio. If you do not have a problem with the cost, you can go for WiFi.
Does Bluetooth Connect Multiple Devices?
Although Bluetooth does not create a network such as WiFi, it still allows you to connect eight devices at the same time. These devices can connect and disconnect automatically. When that happens, the connected devices form a network known as piconet.
The piconet is controlled by one of the connected devices, known as a master, while the other devices (the slaves) follow the instructions from the master. All the connected devices use different channels in the 79 channels available in the 2.4 GHz radio frequency, ensuring there is no interference.
Two devices that need to connect will pick a channel at random. If that channel is in use, they will pick another channel. If there is interference from other appliances during the connection, the devices keep switching/hopping from one channel to the next. Hopping ensures there is no interference in the connection between two devices, and it also ensures the connection is secure.
Two or more piconets can connect and transmit information between them. Such a network is known as a scatternet. All these connections do not need WiFi or cellular data, making Bluetooth an affordable wireless technology option.
Does Bluetooth Connection Use Cellular Data?
No. Bluetooth does not use your cellular data and does not require WiFi to connect two devices. Granted, Bluetooth doesn’t affect your monthly bill.
The data transmission over Bluetooth is only seen by two devices and is not visible to the cellular or WiFi networks. Both WiFi and Bluetooth are standard in most laptops, tablets, and smartphones. These two wireless technologies can be active at the same time without interfering with each other’s functionality.
When you transmit data over Bluetooth, your cellular network does not record data usage. However, when you use WiFi, your ISP will record data usage and will charge you at the end of the month.
If you use WiFi to stream music online, you will pay for data used at the end of the month. If you use the Bluetooth to transmit the streaming to a speaker, you will not require extra data. You will only pay for the use of WiFi and not for the use Bluetooth.
Does Bluetooth Cost Money Indirectly?
No. If you have a Bluetooth speaker, you might be tempted to stream more music from Pandora, Spotify, or YouTube. However, if you love music, you will still stream the same way through wired speakers.
Bluetooth gives you the convenience of listening to your music without wires. If you listen to music more because you have a Bluetooth speaker, you will pay more every month in cell bill. However, Bluetooth has nothing to do with you streaming more.
You’d probably still stream more if you had wired connections. You will pay for the data you transmit from the service such as Pandora, not for the transmission of the data to a speaker over Bluetooth.
If you have several apps that connect to Bluetooth and these apps use data, Bluetooth will have nothing to do with your increasing monthly bills.
Does Tethering Cause Bluetooth to Use Data?
Tethering allows you to send internet to your laptop or PC from your smartphone. If you are out of the home and your smartphone access internet and your laptop doesn’t, you can tether the two and send internet to your laptop.
However, in this case too, Bluetooth doesn’t use data. Before tethering, Bluetooth doesn’t transmit any data that your internet service provider will record. The network will view your smartphone as the point of connection and will charge the data transmitted through that connection point.
Do you need to connect to the internet to use Bluetooth?
No. Each Bluetooth-enabled device has a built in adapter that doesn’t need the internet to operate. When you have a Bluetooth speaker, for instance, the sound comes from your phone to the speaker.
The sound doesn’t go to the internet first and then to the speaker. The internet does not play any part in Bluetooth connections.
If you have huge monthly bills, and you think Bluetooth might be part of the problem, you are wrong. You can check how your phone uses data to see the apps that are raising your cell bills.
For iPhone smartphones, open Settings >> Cellular and you will see the list of apps that are using cellular data and how much they use. For Android devices, open Settings >> Network and Internet >> Data Usage >> Mobile/App Data. You will see a list of apps that use your data and Bluetooth will not be on the list.
There are a number of things you can do to minimize data usage on your phone. You can switch to an unlimited data plan so that you never have surprises any month. You ca also use a billing period to monitor how you spend your data.
When you monitor your data usage, you know when you are almost getting to the target data amount so that you can plan and act accordingly. You can also limit how apps use data, turn off data roaming, and switch to low power mode.
Except for the additional battery power that Bluetooth takes from your phone, there are no other costs that you have to worry about.