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Verizon is cracking down on those who tether illegally with unofficial apps

Posted: , by John V.

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Verizon is cracking down on those who tether illegally with unofficial apps
Who knows anymore if consumers are in complete control of their data plan, well, that’s because we’ve seen carriers of late really push up the ante when it comes to cracking down on illegal tethering. With smartphones permeating across all lifestyles and landscapes, data consumption has exploded at an alarming rate – thus, giving some carriers plenty of headaches in maintaining their infrastructure.

If you’re one of the people on Verizon that “tether illegally” with the aid of unofficial apps, you might want to know that Big Red might be reigning down on your parade very soon. In fact, they’re doing whatever they can to combat all of this by redirecting users who tether unofficially to a Verizon page that offers you the option to tether legally. But of course, there’s a price to pay for the service – and in this case, it’s a mere $20 more per month added to your account.

Obviously, some people might not be all too keen for paying the tethering cost, especially when some have been tethering unofficially for absolutely zero dollars, but the cost is still much better than the $45 per month that AT&T is asking from its customers. In the past, unofficial tethering didn’t seem to be much of an issue with Big Red, but apparently the tide has turned – so you might find yourself at the crossroad.

So if you happen to find yourself unable to tether anymore, do you plan on making the move and start ponying up the cash for it?

via SlashGear

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posted on 09 Aug 2011, 10:26 6

1. nuhri004 (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Oct 2009)

Keep in mind that $20 tethering plan is not unlimited... your device data may be, but not tethering.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 13:13

35. iankellogg (Posts: 155; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)

Device data isn't unlimited ether. Their "Unlimited" plan is still only 5GB/month.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 18:24

50. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)

actually the new plans are 2gb a month if you stay at $30/mo. the highest plan is 10gb for $80/mo. if your grandfathered in on your unlimited plan, than you still have unlimited.

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 18:45

72. how2troll101 (unregistered)

Yea that's not true. Their now grandfathered unlimited data plan is actually unlimited for smart phone use. The "unlimited" plan they used to offer for 3g bbd cards and mifi's, did have a 5gb limit.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 19:15 2

53. mannyfs (Posts: 67; Member since: 11 Feb 2011)

i called verizon and it actually is unlimited unless they see that you are usin too much then they put a 5gb cap on your plan. btw verizon on 3g, it would take a 2 months to try to LOAD 5gb. i rather not watch my porn

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 15:50

68. urfullofbs (unregistered)

LOL 2MONTHS!!!!! TO USE 5G ON 3G, LOL YOUR FULL OF YOUR OWN STINK!! I Had verizon 3G mifi for almost 2 years , I only used it at work, 5days a week mon to fri, thats 20days in a month and I easily used the 5G close to it, keep your opinions to yourself! ,,, it does NOT take 2 months to use 5GB,

posted on 11 Aug 2011, 09:54

76. mannyfs (Posts: 67; Member since: 11 Feb 2011)

i ment that verizons 3g is so slow in the area where i live that it takes forever to load anything! i have several friends who have the iphone and have the same problem, point being, verizons 3g sucks! maybe not LA i was there and worked ok but in Anahiem/OC it sucks hardcore. Anyway, verizon is really slower than ATT. i shouldve waiting w my att iphone

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 15:51

69. urfullofbs (unregistered)

let met guess, how long does it take you to use 5G of 4G --- 1 month!!! LOL

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 10:34 1

2. holdonthere (unregistered)

wait... how is paying an extra $20 on top of the 30 you already pay with vzw better than paying att? you cant say "the cost is still much better then the 45 per month that att is asking for" when att is actually cheaper in this case actually. just saying

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 10:59 2

7. redleg6 (Posts: 25; Member since: 14 May 2011)

ATT charges $45 on top of it's smartphone data plan. VZW charges $20. Thus, it is much better.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 11:09 4

8. attcallcenter (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Jul 2011)

ATT does not charge $45 on top of its plan. They charge a flat $45 for the 4gb tethering plan.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 11:25

11. Phoneguy007 (Posts: 218; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)

that is correct!!

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:33 1

27. att4life (unregistered)

lol "My names ATTCALLCENTER I know everything, now excuse me while I get off AT&T's d**k".. ;)

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 13:35

40. SavageLucy42 (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)

He is right, though.

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 16:22

70. attcallcenter (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Jul 2011)

Not everything just more than you!

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 18:48

73. how2troll101 (unregistered)


posted on 09 Aug 2011, 10:44 4

3. naginalf (unregistered)

It irks me that the author here uses the word "illegal." It is not ILLEGAL, it is a breach of contract. Why anyone would want to sign such a stupid contract in the first place, and then pay $100+/mo for it is so beyond me. I'm starting to think that Americans like getting their wallets and rights raped by crappy service providers.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:06 1

16. duke594 (Posts: 14; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)

Last time I checked stealing service is Illegal! You say it is just a breach of contract which is correct, but at the same time you are using something that you are suppose to pay for. Therefore it is illegal. Most people who tether don't use a few hundred MB they generally use 20 to 30 GB. I worked for Verizon for 5 years and I could just look at your data usage and tell if you were tethering. This is why Verizon had to go to tiered data prices because a select few decided to take advantage of the system.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:44 1

29. naginalf (unregistered)

Verizon sells data service and a phone that is advertised with certain FEATURES. I could understand your point if someone was stealing Verizon software for tethering, but installing your own software is not illegal and using FEATURES of a phone is not illegal. It is however a breach of contract, which simply means you may be liable to pay for certain fees. Would you want to buy a car that advertises self parking features, but then sign a contract that forces you to pay monthly in order to use it? I sure wouldn't. I'd first look for a car company that wasn't full of money grubbing idiots first, then, since that's seemingly impossible, I'd LEGALLY hack my car and use the FEATURES that the car was advertised with. IT'S CALLED CONSUMER RIGHTS, STOP SCREWING US!!!

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:49 1

31. naginalf (unregistered)

Btw, the day the police start arresting people for "stealing" service that they PAID for and using features of a phone that they PAID for, there will be mass riots. But, that's why I won't buy a smartphone with a plan and a contract. I like to buy my devices outright and honest like the rest of the world does, thank you very much. I'll be setting up my own smartphone (when they make a decent one) with the software that I want, with a provider that doesn't screw me. Guess I'll be waiting a while on that one.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 15:10 1

45. Cheesehead (unregistered)

You are very much misinformed here. You may be buying your phone at a full retail, unsubsidized price and be THINKING that you are not subject to a contract or agreement but you could not possibly be more wrong on the matter. Whether you have a 3 year, 2 year, 1 year contract or are on a prepaid service - whatever the case may be....YOU - as the end-user of the services provided by a SERVICE PROVIDER by virtue of your use of the services provided in exchange for your money have accepted the Terms and Conditions of use and service as set forth by the SERVICE PROVIDER. All of this crap about "consumer rights" is ridiculous! I work in the wireless industry and whiners like you don't get under my skin at all because the company I work for already has you by the balls when you decided to use our service. WE have the control, and no we honestly don't care if you threaten to leave for another provider because there are MILLIONS more behind you that won't leave for various reasons, and even if they did leave my company X for company Y - there are roughly the same amount of idiots who expect everything for free at company Y that will threaten to leave for my company X. Good luck to ya buddy. Pay your bill and stop whining like we owe you something for free. People have this entitlement mentality that is really destroying the good of this world. It used to be that if you wanted something, you paid for it - now people expect the government to take it from one entity and give it to you without you earning it or anything. You get a signal, you should be grateful for that. I'm not being sarcasitc at all - not in the slightest, seriously!

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 19:11 3

52. mannyfs (Posts: 67; Member since: 11 Feb 2011)

well what a douche!
then u are one of those cheap bastards that dont care how much we overpay for retarded internet that we rarely use, come on! its not like you are going to go broke if you let us use the damn tethering for free, internet for home is 30 bucks and way faster than any 3g network(even getting the cheapest plan on earth) and i can connect all the damn devices i want to w/o extra charge, phone companies are already charging those 30 dollars per line! why not let us at least use our internet (which we pay for) for whatever we want, we pay for it, its our right as well! no stealing here, if any youre the one grabbin us by the balls and tighter everytime. I have a 5line family share plan w all smartphones, all together we pay 150 dollars a month of retarded slow-ass internet that we dont even use because we have timewarner cable and use the wifi which is so much faster and less frustrating then your stupid 3g, if you want to have the right to overcharge us on top of overcharges then you should also let us have the right to choose if we want to have your internet or not, for all i care im always on wifi, and yes! its a smartphone, what good is a smartphone w/o internet and my answer to you is: none of your f**kin business, i want a smartphone for texting faster and taking pictures and masturbate if i feel like it, no need for 3g on that. It is true what they say, the US is getting gretty and we just dont know when enough is enough. Im tired of being grabbed by the balls that i rather chopped them off, let you have them and grow new ones. and to you sir with all your respect i say EFF yOU!

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 22:37 2

55. pyckvi (Posts: 48; Member since: 19 Dec 2010)

Fyi buddy tethering was created by the developers not by the carriers. There was tethering apps for android before it was officially released on android 2.2 why isn't anybody paying the developers for creating it? And just like most ppl say here. We already have tierd plans, why does it matter how we use our data? I have 2gb of data, I can use it all on my phone but sometimes I like to tether to the computer because I would like to watch some things on a big screen. My main point is the carriers were not the ones who developed the ability to tether so wtf are they charging for it???

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 23:53

58. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)

your not the sell out the guy above you

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 23:53

57. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)

sell out

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 09:08

63. naginalf (unregistered)

I'm not whining about my current situation. As you so eloquently put it, I don't like being "by the balls" and thank you for perfectly exemplifying the wireless industry you POS. That is EXACTLY why I don't have a cell phone, and when I went to do my research into it, like I do everything I buy (carefully these days because of f*%kwads like you), I found nothing but unscrupulous butt-sex. The only thing I have found that doesn't hurt my butt hole is rooting my own phone and getting page plus. Again, thank you for exemplifying the wireless industry's attitude so perfectly. Have a nice day in hell you f**kers. (yeah I said it, what, you gonna report my comment, great, I just hope he reads it) m!n,

posted on 11 Aug 2011, 00:41

74. WirelessGuy (unregistered)

I used to work for VZW... I know what you mean Cheesehead... the fundamental problem facing the industry as a whole is that in today's technological age, limited services are antiquated... Consumer efforts to subvert established limitations is a byproduct of these gaps. Perfect example: the music industry... prices on the product continued to increase with no value added to the service. As such, people began stealing the product. Then along came iTunes and Amazon. By creating value through convenience, these companies filled gaps in the market. The wireless industry has just created more gaps. Especially with the advent of LTE, unlimited should have been the first practice. It's the direction that the industry needed to go and didn't. For once, Sprint is in the best position to capitalize on this. Ball is in their court now.

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 08:38

62. nofan (unregistered)

You must have missed the article about the man that go arrested for plugging his phone up at different places. He was trying to charge his phone using someone else's electricity. "stealing service" He was arrested.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 13:43 2

41. ChilliCheese (unregistered)

Half of what you say makes sense. Tethering and sucking up 20 or 30 GB of data could be viewed as taking advantage of the system. So the carriers move to a tiered system. Viola! Problem solved! Normal users are generally unaffected, and abusers and heavy data users now have to pay more. So then, if the abuse problem has been addressed, why the need to clamp down on tethering, if other than greed. Stealing service is illegal? What service is being stolen? The essence of my data plan is to get data to and from my phone. That’s the service that carriers provide. NOTHING more. Anything that happens to the data once it arrives at my phone occurs without the additional aid or assistance of my carrier. I.E. there’s no additional service being provided by my carrier to make tethering possible. Paying a tethering fee buys me a wink and a thumbs up from my carrier, but that’s it. My carrier does NOTHING different for the extra money they receive. So again, tell me what service is being stolen.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 21:45

54. Ralston1983 (Posts: 70; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)

Let's look at this way. You have cable tv service. You pay for cable(comcast=vzw data), they give you a converter = cell phone, but the ppv chs are locked. So what do you do, you install a chip into your box (equal 3rd party tethering software) and now you get all the free ppv you want. Is that considered stealing? You can say the ppv chs are there but, it's blocked. Just like the ability to tether is there on a phone, but the carrier wants you to pay for it

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 00:01 2

59. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)

completley different things there. Its like having a tv in your room and a big projector in the same room. and when you want to watch a movie or foot ball game you wirelessly send it to the projector for a theater like expierence and regular tv on the smaller tv. Should i be charged to watch the same signal through another tv in the same room

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 10:14

64. ChilliCheese (unregistered)

That's not the same argument. In your example, PPV channels are locked - the data is encrypted at the source, sent to a cable box the provider owns, which may be unlocked if the provider has provided the decrypting service (code, chip, whatever). Tethered data is just data. It's not encrypted, it looks no different than any other data, and it involves no additional infrastucture put in place to accomodate their pricing model.

Plus, when you start talking about the Cable TV model, there are all sorts of IP agreements and restrictions in place. Movie studios tightly control what stations can show what movies, when they can show them, and what the studios must pay for the priviledge. That's why PPV exists in the first place.

The issue of tethering involves none of that. It's just a question of what your phone does with the data it receives. Getting data from the internet to your phone is a service. Tethering is a not. Carriers do nothing extra to facilitate it. It's a fun tax and nothing more.

posted on 11 Aug 2011, 00:50

75. WirelessGuy (unregistered)

Sorry ChilliCheese... I get what you're trying to say, but your analogy is wrong. In your cable example... there are multiple different products flowing on the same connection; however, with the cell service, the data is the same service sent and received internet data packets... not live tv and internet... not a paid radio service and a paid internet service... an internet service period... they want to charge more, make an app (not unlike VZ NAV - a paid alternative to free Navigation) that is a better product for value added service... it's just a bad analogy, Chillicheese, sorry you're wrong to use it

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 13:15 1

36. stealthd (unregistered)

You sign a contract and get the hardware for free or significantly discounted. There's no mystery.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 13:51 1

43. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)

Not everyone does. I haven't had a contract for years and I buy my phones outright.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 14:26

44. ChilliCheese (unregistered)

Where did you get your phone? When you purchase a phone outright from a carrier, even the no-contract price is probably subsidized to some degree.

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 00:03

60. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)

no there not. There priced higher so you choose the two year contract instead.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 17:43

49. mallkioskguy (Posts: 7; Member since: 09 Aug 2011)

Buying a phone discounted and cancelling after 6 months is usually cheaper than buying the phone outright

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 00:05 1

61. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)

well stealthd thats because they make a crap load of money of of your plan. Tetheting charge is another way to get you to pay more money for what is esentially like being charged twice for the same thing.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 10:46 2

4. ChilliCheese (unregistered)

I can understand that they need to protect their infrastructure against abuse. However, I have a wifi Android tablet, and it can be a whole lot easier to check my mail or Google+ streams on my tablet than on my phone, and when there's no convenient wifi around, I tether. I've checked my data consumption - tethering my tablet has a negligible effect on my data usage - maybe an extra 10 ~ 15 megs on top of the 300 megs I consume with my phone alone.

Shutting down the heave data consumers? I understand that. But unilateral action against all tetherers? That's just silly. Especially in my case. I'm using a phone that my carrier didn't subsidize, and a tablet that my carrier didn't subsidize, tethering with a software solution that my carrier didn't provide. My carrier charging me for thethering would essentially be asking me to pay more for a service that they don't provide.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 10:52 1

6. Rdio1 (unregistered)

A phone that your carrier didnt subsidize? if you paid less than 250$ for your phone than it was subsidized. if you paid less than 650$ for your tablet it was also subsidized. unless it was a crappy one.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 11:37 2

13. ChilliCheese (unregistered)

My phone is a Nexus One. Absolutely zero carrier subsidy.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 11:38 2

14. ChilliCheese (unregistered)

Oh, and the tablet is an Asus Transformer.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 10:48 2

5. Stuntman (Posts: 836; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)

This reminds me of the 80's (or so) where phone companies did not allow you to use an acoustic modem on your telephone line. The courts prevented the phone companies from not allowing this. They ruled that once customers subscribed to a phone line, they can connect whatever device they wanted over those lines.

Now a few decades later, the banning of tethering by phone companies seems like the same thing. You purchase the bandwidth, but the phone companies prevent you from connecting certain devices a certain way to send data over that bandwidth.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 11:16

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

Stuntman, there are too many corporate lobbyists working against the end user to enforce or enact such a law these days.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:08 1

18. duke594 (Posts: 14; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)

It is not illegal for Verizon to charge for tethering. When you purchase a data plan you are purchasing it for the smartphone only. It even states this in your contract. They have every legal right to charge extra for tethering. You are simple buying bandwidth anymore. Also this is the same thing Comcast and Charter does with a cap on your high-speed cable service.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:23 2

20. xmrrushx (Posts: 29; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)

All in all your right, however when you tether your using the same pipe that your smart phone is using, so really the only difference is the amount of data you'd be using on that pipe. It pisses me off that they charge you an extra 20 for a capability the phone already has on-top of the 30 - 80 dollar data plans. Its like this, Imagine your cable modem provided by your ISP at home is your Cell phone. Right now you pay one flat rate (at least on TWC) per month for all the data you want on as many devices as you want. Now imagine you ISP adopted the same stupid ass plan of charging you per device that runs off your modem. You wouldn't like that.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:53

32. RMC (unregistered)

@ xmrrushx

The ISPs wanted to charge you that way. The advent of the cheap routers with NAT prevented them, becuase they couldn't differentiate the computers behind the NAT, it looked like just 1 IP address.

The same goes here. If tethering apps use the same calls as the phone would itself, versus routing it separately as tethered traffic, I think for the 90% of us who tether for small things (when I need another podcast on my iPod and am on the road mainly) and maybe use 50mb a month (something I could theoretically do on my phone, but I haven't found an android app that can play at 2x speed as well as the iPod touch), it would just fall under the radar. The real reason they crack down is that people use 60gb a month or something tethering and running torrents, and end up causing issues.

Personally for us with "unlimited" plans, I could see them beginning to monitor your traffic if your device was >10gb for the month or something, but beyond that, its kind of BS.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 11:17 2

10. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)

Makes me glad i have tmobile and i have free legal tethering all for 73.00 a month
.. nope i have not been capped!!

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 11:28 3

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

GALAXY-S, T-mobile's days are numbered. Enjoy it now. Because you won't be able to enjoy it in the future.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 11:40 1

15. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)

lol yea i def. will enjoy it...

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:07 2

17. Owlet (Posts: 450; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)

It's like if my internet provider would tell me to pay more for each computer, laptop or tablet that I connect to the internet in the house. I pay for internet, I connect whatever I want to it and share it anyway I want. Or tell me there's a charge for each additional phone in my house.
I hope there will be some class action suite against them and it will be overruled...

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:12 2

19. duke594 (Posts: 14; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)

1st. Have you ever heard of DirecTV. They charge you per tv you have connected.
2nd. This is not even close to being the same thing. Verizon can charge you for a service. Once you buy that service (thethering) you can use it with any device you want!
3rd. Really?!?!?!

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:30 1

23. xmrrushx (Posts: 29; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)

Sir are you f'real?

1st sat tv has no comparison to internet traffic. you pay for each receiver because you cant split the signal between two TV's hence the term RECEIVER. one way traffic buddy.

2nd yea it is. the phone/modem already have the ability to support multiple devices built in free of charge. Data is riding off the same pipe.

3rd Yea Really

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:31 3

24. doubleD (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)

Direct TV charges you per reciever, not per TV.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:43 3

28. doubleD (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)

You can split the signal between two TV's, you just have to watch the same thing on each, or only use one at a time.

I don't see any reason why carriers won't let you tether with no additional charge on a limited data plan.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:46 2

30. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)

right, then they would get more revenue when people incurred data over the limit of the plan.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 13:35 2

39. Owlet (Posts: 450; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)

Hey, duke. 1st. I've heard of it. Why? I have 2 receivers at home and 4 TVs. I pay for receivers, as they are provided to me by my company, so I pay for them. However, I do not pay anything to my cable company for any of my FOUR TVs.
2nd. Why are we discussing TVs here? IMO it has nothing to do with the article nor with my example.

posted on 10 Aug 2011, 10:26 1

65. ChilliCheese (unregistered)

The Direct TV argument is weak. Of course they have to charge you per TV connected - that's because they are constrined to do so per agreements with the studios and publishers who strongly control the distribution of their IP.

Tethering, on the other hand, is a NON-SERVICE. Carriers provide NOTHING extra to facilitate it. It neither involves nor requires ANY additional effort on the part of the carrier to facilitate it. How in the world can you, or the carriers for that matter, call this a service?

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:25 1

21. xmrrushx (Posts: 29; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)

i should have scrolled down a hair more...great minds think alike.

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