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Consumer advocates attack Verizon for limiting third-party tethering

Posted: , by Ken N.

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Consumer advocates attack Verizon for limiting third-party tethering
Recently, many Android users on the Verizon network received notices, encouraging them to use Verizon's own tethering plan, which costs $20 for 2GB of data. This was an effort to dissuade customers from using third-party tethering apps like Wireless Tether, which end up taxing Verizon's network, without appropriate compensation.

Now, the Free Press, a consumer advocacy group, has filed a formal complaint with the FCC. When Verizon bought the 700 MHz spectrum in 2008, they agreed to certain open access provisions. And the Free Press claims that Verizon's crackdown on wireless tethering is in direct violation of those spectrum purchase provisions:

"Because users download tethering applications for the express purpose of connecting additional devices to their data connections, Verizon’s actions also limit and restrict the ability of users to connect the devices of their choice to the LTE network."

GigaOM appropriately pointed out the real joke here: Google, who is complicit in restricting access to third-party apps, was the very company that demanded the open access restrictions in the first place. At the time, Google was also bidding for the spectrum, so there was obviously more at play than Google's supposed mission of openness. But the transition might also be indicative of Google's serious ideological shift over time, i.e. Android's growing restrictions.

source: Free Press via GigaOM

19 Comments
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posted on 06 Jun 2011, 14:06 3

1. Knicknevin (Posts: 138; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)


I want to use my 'Unlimited' (5GB) however I want to use it!

posted on 07 Jun 2011, 00:32

18. tuminatr (Posts: 693; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


verizon does not have a limit to the browsing of the phone, tethering if you pay for it has 2gb for $20

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 14:19 1

2. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


But VZW doesn't want you to use your unlimited data plan however you want to use it. In their mind, the 'unlimited' portion of your data plan was for using the handset which you purchased to use the plan.... And, since they control access to their network, if you don't play by their rules, they can say no thank you to your business.

Think things are bad now? Just wait until AT&T-Mobile merge. Then you will have one less alternative when VZW and AT&T-Mobile decide to rape you.

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 14:45

5. bluechrism (unregistered)


Agreed, but data is data. If there is 5GB data available to me and i whittle it away by hooking my laptop to my phone and watch a netflix move, download a full linux distribution and do a spot of realtime gaming, then i should be allowed to, knowing that for the rest of the month I won't be able to do a thing. And as it all goes through my phone that should be fine, even if the phone isn't the ultimate thing that's consuming the data.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is Verizon has a data network for peoples houses for PC's and laptops to use and they don't want you to think you could ever just pay them for one pot of data and use it for all you devices. Many countries cell networks allow tethering, but then again, do those networks have what would be seen as competing technologies like landline or internet services.

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 17:30

9. remixfa (Posts: 14163; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


easy answer..

Root it and use Googles on free Wifi Tether..

Carriers can only control UNrooted devices.

posted on 07 Jun 2011, 10:46

27. Muttley (unregistered)


....or DON'T root & just install the PdaNet app & tether wired or wireless until your blue in the face.

http://junefabrics.com/android/index.php

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 14:27

3. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)


Advocacy through lawsuits or passing new laws is the only way to destroy tethering restrictions.

We should make it happen state by state.

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 14:38 1

4. trin (Posts: 88; Member since: 11 May 2010)


The consumer will lose when it's all said and done. Companies will either lift the restriction and charge more or switch to an any device, tiered data usage model which will result in us paying more.

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 23:41

17. Gawain (Posts: 375; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


On top of that, VZW's "promise" of open access meant nothing about "free services". Bunch of moronic arguments were sure to follow. The intention was to allow more open standards of the systems running on the devices and the apps they may use. Apps that bypass intended service offerings are never going to get a green light. VZW owns the network. If you want to play on it, you got to pay. No one is forcing anyone to use their service. There are a bazillion options besides VZW, up to, and still including payphones...

This will force more "creative" ideas and the consumer will get the pinch again...courtesy of some "advocacy group" supposedly out to "protect" consumers...bunch of horse sh*t...

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 14:46 2

6. B (unregistered)


I hope the little carriers, boost, virgin, pcs really start to take up market share and force the big guys to loosen up (like my gf ;-) ) They have really good pricing plans but just sucky access area for now.

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 14:58 4

7. jbash (Posts: 342; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)


2 of the 3 you named are owned by sprint the third largest network

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 15:56

8. ATTCallCenter (unregistered)


Haha, excited about your first girlfriend? I remember when I was in forth grade

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 18:12

11. FORTHgradeGirlfriend (unregistered)


you never called !! also its "Fourth"...maybe you should think about heading back...

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 18:22

12. iami (unregistered)


this is what i like to see. verizon apperantly aggreed to have open access and now there charging extra for it. Hopefully these people have good lawyers and win this thing so we get free teethering. Ofcourse that will prob result in tierd data so wed be paying a lot more. In that case and by that time i hope virgin mobile gets better coverage and everyone just leaves vzw and att who charge more then double for same thing. sickning

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 18:32

13. iami (unregistered)


ps anyone know how to root a droid x with gingerbread. I updated to gingerbread everyone kept raving bout better batery i keep gettin battery over heating now and no more wifi lol

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 21:11 1

14. droidlova (unregistered)


Damn people are morons. Think a little. Why do you think ATT went to tiered pricing for their iphones?????? It wasnt because they wanted to loose customer to verizon. It was because they couldnt take the pounding of all those rooted iphones. A dude at a game was bragging about its rooted iphone and its 35 gig of data running slingbox amongst other apps. I did verify it by the way. It clearly states in the data agreements you may NOT use tethering. This aint the commercial about getting your lottery payments in one lump sum, "its my data, and I want it now".
Why do all-you-can-eat banned you if you eat too much?
Thats what sucks, that a few feel that cheating its ok as long as you dont get caught?
If I own verizon, I damn well would block those apps too.
Finally most people forget that sorry ass sprint was forced to become the cheaper carrier. You think they really want to have an unl data. They became the worst company 10 years ago and thats why they went to hell. They are still losing money and they cant keep doing this for long. I doubt they are too big to fail.

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 21:53

15. codymws (Posts: 237; Member since: 17 Jun 2010)


I love Verizon, but I think I should be able to use my data however I want.

posted on 07 Jun 2011, 08:51

26. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Unlimited on a phone is way different than on a pc. You can use way more data on a pc so you shouldn't get to use your phones unlimited plan for free tethering.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 16:18

28. PIsSeD "off" H@cKeR! (unregistered)


VerizonWireless assholes... you have f**ked me over for the last time! It's on muh-fukas! I WILL NOT backdown I will NOT pay $ 500.00+ for 3rd party tethering on my "UNLIMITED" service plan that I once paid for... and I will NOT rest until YOur network is shut the f**k down! I hope s**tting on your customers was worth it...f**k you, f**k your company and f**k your $...your $ cant stop me. ha ha Bye bye douchbags. :)

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