Apr 24, 2022
Is there a hotspot app that would let me use regular data? My AT&T "unlimited" plan only provides 10GB of hotspot data but I have to wonder if the AT&T hotspot function is what flags that data as hotspot data. Would a standalone app use plan data anonymously without flagging it to AT&T as hotspot usage?

Samsung Galaxy a32
Android 12
Doubtful, as your phone is communicating under it's own IP where any device tethered will be computing under its own IP, so AT&T will see that going through their servers and be able to tell.
By definition your phone's hotspot has to use mobile data. That's what how any hotspot functions, there has to be some kind of online access in order for your phone to put out a WiFi signal that's connected to the Internet. Or in other words, when you have hotspot enabled -- input is the over-the-air cellular signal that's provided by your carrier and output is a WiFi signal from your phone. Your phone cannot just make up Internet access by itself.
FoxFi worked well on my older Straight Talk Verizon Android phone and enabled its software-only hotspot when even the Verizon hotspot app refused to launch because my plan didn't provide hotspot support. As far as network devices' IP addresses giving the game away, networked devices' IP and MAC addresses aren't exposed to the internet at all, and will all share the modem's IP address on the internet. I went ahead and loaded some recommended apps (including FoxFi) and they all either complained that my device hardware didn't support hotspot usage at all or once enabled, my devices would never connect to the hotspot. Bummer.
This is something that get's me, and it often comes up on AF. Why is that US carriers seem to charge extra for tethering or hotspot usage? Data should be data, whether just the phone is using it or a tethered laptop or something,

I have a data allowance of 60GB a month with Nihao Mobile, and they don't care how I use that data, whether it be tethered or not. I've never got anywhere near using 60GB in one month.