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How to tether on your Android smartphone without paying for a monthly subscription

Posted: , by John V.

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How to tether on your Android smartphone without paying for a monthly subscription
Back when Android 2.2 Froyo first came to light oh so long ago, it made the process of tethering simple, seamless, and most importantly, downright easy. Essentially, all you really need to do was go under the wireless section in the Android options menu and enable tethering – whether it be the usual wired USB connection or the much more flexible mobile hotspot option. However, as we’ve come to see, carriers aren’t quite as accepting of this out-of-the-box tethering method, which didn’t require handset owners to add on carrier plans to gain the feature.

Although there are still some Android smartphones that allow owners to tether without having the carrier intervention, others aren’t quite as fortunate since the feature is locked out – well, that’s unless you add the appropriate add-on feature to your account. Even with that, we’re still left having to watch out how much we chomp day, especially when unlimited data plans are a thing of the past. Rather, tiered plans are now being offered instead, and at the same time, they make us realize that we need to watch out how much data we use per month.

Well folks, if data isn’t a problem seeing you’re still on a grandfathered unlimited plan or simply have a huge data allotment with your plan, we’ve got a quick and easy solution to get tethering on your Android powered smartphone. Above all, the best part is that the process of getting tethering without some kind of monthly subscription can be obtained with two free apps on Google Play. Furthermore, you don’t need to go through the hassle of rooting your smartphone before gaining this highly prized feature. Honestly, we check out plenty of smartphones around the office, and for some of us, tethering is a crucial element in making us mobile. On top of that, peace of mind is at hand when we tether – as opposed to hitching a ride on some kind of open Wi-Fi hotspot at the local café or something else.

With that people, here are 2 easy steps to get free tethering on your Android smartphone:


Easy enough, right? For real people, those all the steps needed in getting tethering on your device without forking over monthly fees to your carrier. First and foremost, we have June Fabric’s ever-popular PDAnet app, which has been around for ages – even as far back as the good old Windows Mobile days. In fact, they provide tethering to a variety of platforms beside Android, like BlackBerry, Palm OS, and iOS (this one requires you to jailbreak your iPhone).

How to tether on your Android smartphone without paying for a monthly subscription
As long as you’re getting data on your Android smartphone, PDAnet enables you to share that connection with your computer via USB or Bluetooth connections. On your PC though, you’ll need to install the appropriate driver for your specific phone, but the installation process normally gets it done for you – so yeah, it’s yet another painless process. Of course, you can surf the web, but just know that you won’t be able to access any secured web sites, such as checking Gmail. In order to surf all web sites, you’re required to make a one-time purchase to buy the full version of PDAnet, which isn’t that bad at $15.95. For some smartphones, PDAnet also offers the wireless option of tethering via Bluetooth.

So there you have it folks, that’s one way to get tethering up and running without your carrier getting involved, but it’s not the only option out there. Whereas PDAnet is wonderful with wired tethering, there is another one that might prove to be more flexible for people. Naturally, we like PDAnet for the fact that it’s a direct connection being used by a single device, but the app Fox-Fi delivers tethering via mobile hotspot functionality – something that has its own set of benefits.

How to tether on your Android smartphone without paying for a monthly subscription
Again, the process is simple with this one, seeing that all you need to do is download and install the app. However, it’s worth noting that not all Android smartphones are supported by the app, but the ones that are, there’s no rooting required whatsoever in getting wireless tethering to work. We’ve used an LG Viper 4G LTE for Sprint to test it out, and just like that, we managed to get wireless tethering to work ASAP. Aside from assigning a specific SSID for our network, the only other thing we modified with the app’s setting is the WPA2 password. Once those items are squared away, we’re able to use our laptop and leech off the Viper’s 3G connection.

There you have it folks, these are two free downloadable apps that bring tethering without the need to pay monthly fees through your carrier. Yes, there’s a $16 cost to gain PDAnet’s full functionality of surfing secured sites, but still, that’s only a one-time cost to you. Moreover, Fox-Fi might not be supported by many Android smartphones, but for the ones that are, it’s sweet just being able to share your data connect via mobile hotspot functionality.

47 Comments
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posted on 15 Jun 2012, 15:10 3

1. Synack (Posts: 665; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)


Just use WiFi tether.........

http://code.google.com/p/android-wifi-tether/

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 10:24

29. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


yep....that is all I use all the time.....works great.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 15:16 3

2. cj100570 (Posts: 204; Member since: 12 May 2009)


Wi-Fi Tether only works on "rooted" phones and your phone has to have an iptables kernel. The above options Sony require root or special kernels.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 15:32 2

3. torr310 (Posts: 366; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


FoxFi seems to be a nice solution but it only supports HTC phones not on ICS to run on Bluetooth mode.

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 01:57

27. sleepyjohnny (Posts: 151; Member since: 16 Dec 2009)


the lg viper is not HTC-made though and it worked fine.

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 12:27

35. iami67 (Posts: 318; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


htc is the problem not the app this app works perfect for every phone i have tried ics or ginger it tells you on the app page that htc has special kernels that stop it

posted on 18 Jun 2012, 01:58

44. jogutier (Posts: 324; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


Works on my Bionic. ;)

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 15:52 1

4. titoandres (Posts: 7; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)


i don't have to huse this in spain :D

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 15:56 2

5. BattleBrat (Posts: 1067; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


What! No Easy Tether!? Why!?!

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 15:59 1

6. CommentBoxEnforcer (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)


After this post I'm pretty sure the carriers will put a stop to that

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 16:08 1

7. pathmarkpolice (Posts: 102; Member since: 05 Feb 2009)


They will just release newer tethering apps, once you root a phone or jailbreak it tethering is pretty much an eventuality.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 16:21 1

9. exo2u (Posts: 24; Member since: 10 May 2012)


Highly doubt that bud. Read the article. PDAs been around since windows mobile days and besides that its also been on pretty much every popular os

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 16:45 1

12. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


PDAnet is the OG Tether software. And it has the USB drivers for pretty much any android device stuffed into its desktop part of the app. Many root users use PDAnet to properly install drivers automatically. Works great. :)

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 16:29 2

10. CommentBoxEnforcer (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)


I hope your right cause I'm not rooted and I love foxfi

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 16:33 1

11. exo2u (Posts: 24; Member since: 10 May 2012)


I don't intend to root my nexus till I'm off contract so I hope so too. Do you use that extra app add on they supply?

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 17:12 1

13. CommentBoxEnforcer (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)


Didn't know they had a add on

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 15:08

38. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 167; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


Using tether apps will be pretty much pointless on Verizon once the new Share Everything plans are released this month.

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 15:15

39. CommentBoxEnforcer (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)


So even if I don't purchase a new phone Verizon is going to force a new plan on me?

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 17:09

40. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


Sprint damn sure tried to kill FoxFi. They had it taken off of Google Play Apps for Sprint users and the Amazon marketplace version wouldn't work either. I eventually had to download the APK from the FoxFi website, and that ended up working excellently.
I'm going on a road trip on July 4, now I'll have a tethered internet connection for my Pad Infinity once it comes out the end of June! :D

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 16:20 4

8. bigdawg23 (Posts: 362; Member since: 25 May 2011)


I am fortunate that this is no longer necessary. My work provided a VZW Jetpack MiFi, while my phone HTC Vivid doesn't need to tether. A few months back I would have been tethering. Generally tethering isn't necessary for me.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 17:20 4

14. sun0066 (Posts: 74; Member since: 12 Feb 2011)


so who care if you needed or not , this a general topic not a personal

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 17:10

41. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


Well, that was an unfriendly comment.
Kyle, get the sand out of your vagina.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 17:38 2

15. kcombs (Posts: 245; Member since: 15 Dec 2010)


love FoxFi it works good, and you don't have to root your phone.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 18:13 4

16. theBankRobber (Posts: 647; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


1-click tether works great with no root. Using it with my Moto Photon and my PS Vita. 4g powered haha :P

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 18:20 1

17. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)


T-Mobile blocked my 3rd party apps tethering Hotspot and asked me to subscribe T-Mobile Hotspot cost $20/month. Now no more free mobile Hotspot for me after 2 years of using it.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 19:59

21. skymitch89 (Posts: 1053; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)


That's one reason why they posted this article. Also, it doesn't matter if T-Mo blocked the apps in the Play Store, you can always side-load it (download it from the developers website and install it).

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 20:39

22. sprockkets (Posts: 1159; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


They don't block tethering on the device, they block it on the device tethered. You try to browse on it and it directs you to a tmob page.

The latest ROMs for say the HTC sensation got around this by modifying some of the stuff. I can't remember where or how they bypassed it.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 18:40 1

18. Jimstar (Posts: 259; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


How about we stop posting this so the friggen carriers don't catch on and start blocking them?!
Course they'll be replaced by new apps but I'd rather not have to hunt around for a new one every 2 weeks...

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 19:19

19. CommentBoxEnforcer (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)


That's basically what I said on my post...foxfi is my most used app...I'm at 30+ gigs used right now(will take a screenshot) and if Verizon found out....BOOM GOES THE DYNOMITE

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 10:26

31. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


they are not able to block it, and they try, we will just find another way.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 19:46 1

20. skymitch89 (Posts: 1053; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)


You should've included Easy Tether. It's similar to PDAnet, but it only costs $10 for the license. I've been using it for over a year and the only problem I've had is the fact that I have to use a USB cable.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 20:40 1

23. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


This type of s**t happens only in the US

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 22:31

24. scotty0717 (Posts: 10; Member since: 11 Aug 2011)


Awesome...downloading now.

posted on 15 Jun 2012, 22:33

25. scotty0717 (Posts: 10; Member since: 11 Aug 2011)


Awesome...downloading now.

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 00:11

26. CellieCell (Posts: 84; Member since: 14 Apr 2010)


Excellent article, thanks for the tip.

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 09:11

28. nandito01 (Posts: 7; Member since: 01 May 2012)


PDA-net have been in the market for a loooong time i would say more than a year or more not sure yet

works great for me i have used in many phones from samsung to HTC :D

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 10:25

30. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


just use wifi tether, and/or use sqlite editor to change permissions and use the app that came with the rom:
http://droidrazrroot.com/droid-razr-wifi-tether/how-to-get-free-4g-lte-wifi-tethermobile-hotspot-on-rooted-droid-razr/

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 10:42

32. adi4u4882 (Posts: 135; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


In India,
Nearly all phones are unlocked.
So no problem with Tethering.
I actually used a unlimited plane just for Rs.99 for a month!
But the speed is very low, like 30-40 Kbps.
Which is more than enough for Browsing.
Now changed to a Broadband Connection.

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 11:50

33. sterba.brian (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Jun 2012)


you can always just get the apk if it isn't offered in the google play store. just google foxfi apk download

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 12:08

34. letgomyeggroll (Posts: 137; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)


I have PDAnet for years, and works fine. I currently have theSprint EVO, it also let me text message from my PC. The apps are not available on Android APP store. You have to download directly from the website via PC than install it. After that connect your phone to have the app install on ur phone

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 12:31

36. iami67 (Posts: 318; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


as of june 28 you wont need this anymore verizon is letting you do free hotspot from your phone as long as you switch to the new plan.

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 13:12

37. iami67 (Posts: 318; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


My question if anyone reads this is. Is there any kind of apk or something so that when i use my foxfi it blocks the amount of data being used so they cant charge me overages lol that would be a great app lol

posted on 16 Jun 2012, 18:05

42. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


no...2 char

posted on 18 Jun 2012, 10:21

46. iami67 (Posts: 318; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Whats no 2 char?

posted on 17 Jun 2012, 00:00

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


Verizon's new shared data plans include free tethering so there won't be any need for this soon if you're with VZW.

posted on 18 Jun 2012, 10:20

45. iami67 (Posts: 318; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Except the average persons bill is going to go up a lot. especially if you want enough data to use as a hotspot. My bill if I switch will go up 85 a month and i avg 6 gigs

posted on 18 Jun 2012, 14:39

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


Most people will actually save money. It must be hard for you to sell with your lack of comprehension.

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