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Wireless carriers on the hunt for tethering applications; banning them from Android Market

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Wireless carriers on the hunt for tethering applications; banning them from Android Market
The only way to share your smartphone's internet connection with another device, a laptop for example, is to sign up for a tethering service with your carrier and get the feature enabled. Or is it? Some of you may be aware that applications, which allow internet sharing without opting in for an additional subscription, do exist and can spare you from that extra fee. Needless to say, carriers are not too happy about that and have now taken measures against unauthorized tethering.

It seems like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have started blocking wireless tethering applications from the Android Market in an effort to prevent users from sharing their internet wirelessly without paying for that. There is no word whether Sprint will follow their steps soon or not, but it wouldn't be surprising if the carrier springs into action as well. The very existence of such apps is nothing out of the ordinary since subscribers can be charged anything from $10 to $45 monthly for the premium service. On the other hand, some third-party tethering applications come for free and their only major drawback is that they require a rooted device in order to run.

So, what do you think about carriers implying restrictions on unauthorized wireless tethering? Don't you think that when subscribers pay for data, they should be able to use it in any way they please? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

source: Operation Android via Gearlog

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posted on 03 May 2011, 09:52 12

1. nb2six (Posts: 298; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)


Yes. I feel like you should be able to tether to a certain extent say (5gb) without any extra charge then slowly be throttled after that amount has been hit. It's ridiculous how the carriers continue to try and nickel and dime their customers for service. I understand that they fear it will slow their network down as far as data speeds are concerned, but in reality when you are already paying $30 for unlimited data (VZW) i believe you should be able to use that data however you please whether it be on the phone or using the phone to tether.

posted on 03 May 2011, 10:26 3

5. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4015; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Yes I agree, it's gross that the carriers want to charge more money for wireless tether. If I have an unlimited plan then it should be unlimited, that includes wireless tether. If wireless tether slows the network down then why offer it? The networks need to step up & fix this issue. It's horrible that they want more money so I can use my unlimited data in a wireless tether.

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:06 2

13. Gcombs (unregistered)


I also agree. Unlimited data plan should be able to tether without any additional fees.

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:30 8

17. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


It's bullshit. On today's smartphones, data is data. Back in the day, I could see charging more because surfing the web on a phone used significantly less data than on a computer because there was no HTML browsing. Nowadays, phones are pretty much small computers. On Android, you have flash...head over to FOX.com and watch a full episode of Hell's Kitchen. So why pay more for tethering? Either way it's data and can be the same amount of tethering.

What's worse is that AT&T wants to change the extra $20 for it. For fucking what? If I have 2GB plan then let me tether for free. If I go over then I go over and you get paid for every gig. But don't change me simply to have the function. That's the part that's bullshit.

And what happened to Android being an open market? AT&T should have no control over the market at all. They provide me the service, they shouldn't control what programs I load on my phone. If you want to make tethering without a plan illegal, by all means, but you need to catch me doing it. How about you work on getting 3G in as many places as Verizon...

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:39 1

18. celljrod (Posts: 82; Member since: 07 Apr 2011)


Agreed, no one should be able to tell me how I use data that I PAY for. If I should choose to use it to tether then that is my choice

posted on 03 May 2011, 12:07

20. ThePhoneGuru (unregistered)


Honestly,
Who cares about this? Bottom line, if you can't afford it, then why have a phone? Cell phone companies are always going to change pricing and restrictions. It is the natural way of life, and business. Go live in a third world country and see how life really is, then come back and bitch about the small stuff!

posted on 03 May 2011, 12:55 2

23. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


dude is no that I can afford it or not, they aren't giving me free data you know? fuck the 3rd world country thing because I'm currently on one and my data plan HAS free tether

posted on 03 May 2011, 12:36 3

22. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


even as an open market android has had this carrier filter feature because some carrier can make apps that concern with their services (see tmo account manager for example) so they are just abusing of a feature android provided them with....

posted on 03 May 2011, 13:36

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


The AT&T DataPro with Tethering actually comes with an extra 2GB now. So it costs the same $45 if you use 4GB while tethering ir without tethering.

posted on 03 May 2011, 14:42 1

28. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


AT&T only started doing that a few weeks ago. Before that, you paid $45 to tether and you were still limited to 2GB...

posted on 03 May 2011, 17:18

32. box (unregistered)


Yeah but at least it's an improvement, definitely have to give them something there. They started doing it when the phones with WiFi hotspots were out in force, i.e. iphone4, Atrix 4G & Inspire 4G

posted on 03 May 2011, 10:17 4

2. Goldeneye (Posts: 353; Member since: 22 Jan 2011)


Unfortunately the agreement we signed it says so, no free tethering, one more reason to root our devices

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:06 5

12. PHONE_FREAK (Posts: 51; Member since: 20 Oct 2010)


Just becomes they remove it from the Market doesn't mean they won't be available via other means, like the internet. There will be some kind of a work around, even it it takes more effort to accomplish. Hackers will always be hackers, and they usually find a way around carriers restrictions.

posted on 03 May 2011, 10:22 3

3. ThePhoneGuru (unregistered)


Nickel and Dime you? Are you kidding me? I am so tired of people stating that but here is an eye opener for you. Cell phone companies are in the business to make money, just like any other business. And having a cell phone is a leisure, if you can't afford it, then don't get it. No one is forcing anyone to get a cell phone. What bothers me is that the terms and conditions are already in place but people want to try to bypass it. Everything costs money. So tell me, who is actually in the wrong?

posted on 03 May 2011, 10:25 6

4. celljrod (Posts: 82; Member since: 07 Apr 2011)


I agree with you to an extent, but where I differ is that in a data plan we are alotted a certain amount of data, say 5GB, who is anyone to tell me how I use my allotment of data. If I choose to use it to tether, that should be my choice. That being said, it is in the terms and conditions we all sign that tethering is an additional feature. I will continue to use it as I do now while rooted for as long as I can, but I also will not be the one complaining when I can no longer do so.

posted on 03 May 2011, 10:43 1

8. ThePhoneGuru (unregistered)


Cell,
On that part, I agree. If you are paying for a plan that has a cap, by all means, I feel that it is yours and should be able to do whatever you want with it. My statement goes more towards that people that clearly either complain about the cell phone companies do or CLEARLY take advantage of unlimited data plans. People need to take a different perspective on how they perceive what is happening. They need to imagine if they were the cell phone company themselves and how this could effect them or the customers. Yea, sometimes companies will nickel and dime you, but sometimes they need restrictions to ensure quality services via phone calls or the use of data.

posted on 05 May 2011, 11:48 1

44. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)


@phoneguru think if we were the company themselves? lol ok... let me give it a shot... well yeah i can see myself in my corporate jet flying over the peasants, while i drink my champaign and get a hand job from the supeer model flight attendant... and when i come to my climax i say to myself... how could life get better... CHARGE THE PEOPLE FOR TETHERING!!!! buwahahahahaaa

posted on 06 May 2011, 12:37

45. Thephoneguru (unregistered)


Hell yea, that's the spirit! I know damn sure I would be in it to live rich. I hope everyone has that mentality that if you open up your own business to make as much money as possible.

posted on 03 May 2011, 21:17

37. wth??? (unregistered)


when i signed up unlimited t-zones for 2.99 years ago, there was no such a terms and condtion that said 'no tethering'.
Can i use unlimited tethering then?
i use nexus one and it works flawlessly.
am i bypassing something?

posted on 03 May 2011, 10:36 3

6. Nemis (unregistered)


WOW.. From my point of view; I think the wireless company should stay out of the Android Market. You already pay a large amount of money for your data plan, why not use it a little more with Wi-Fi tether. Face it. Your phone at most may use 1GB of data if you are a heavy user, Movies, TV, online gaming etc. The majority of droid users only access the web for email, picture upload and some web browsing. The data usage is nothing at this point.

Wireless companies have put the smart phones in the market for a reason, Business and pleasure. Let the droid users have the ability to use the phone the way it was design to be used. Stop working the system just make more money. If the wireless company would like to start digging in the Android Market, then let the user buy a phone without all the preinstalled application. Make it a download if you would like to have this software. For example: VZ Navigator, Skype, and Social Networking. Don’t get me wrong, some of these applications a lot of people like and use every day, but on the other hand, there are a lot that don’t. My point is let the user have the freedom with their phone that they paid $299.99 dollars for.

Nemis Droid Nut

posted on 08 May 2011, 13:26

46. TMOGUY25 (unregistered)


One thing I would like to point out about you're statement of phone data usage is that it is wrong. National Average data usage is 2GB. I use roughly 4GB because I'm constantly watching youtube, looking at facebook and as someone mentioned above making use of Flash 10.2 and watching episodes on fox.com.

Next thing I want to point out to you is that you're complaining about how you cannot use your tethering capability without buying the tethering option??? I tether/hotspot my phone for friends pretty often and used about 8GB of data. Of course T-Mobile called me and asked how I used all that data. Just told them I have been watching full tv episodes on fox.com.

If you ever get the call, you don't have to tell them you're tethering. But honestly though, if you're going to tether instead of getting internet or being smart and using wifi hotspots, e.g. Starbucks or any type of cafe, then expect to pay more money. There CAN'T possibly be a situation where you need your phone to tether that much. If it is a constant need, consider stepping away from the electronics for a few days and go outside, might do you some good and also make you less of an idiot that complains yet never offers a soluton.

posted on 03 May 2011, 10:43 1

7. vzwguy777 (unregistered)


thank you thephoneguru ive worked in wireless for about 6 years now and have seen a huge change but when it comes down to it you have to pay for it every wireless company is out to make money along with every other company. 30 bucks isnt that bad and 20 more for hotspot, put it this way everyone wants the new technology but they want it free, nothing is free my friends

posted on 03 May 2011, 15:41

30. Sprintguy88 (unregistered)


Dude maybe it's because you work for a phone company, but you and like one other guy are the only one's not complaining about the right to use free tethering, so if you don't mind, please just shut up and let us rant about this. I actually like Verizon and their service, it's better than Sprint, but I choose Sprint because they will soon be the only company that revolutionizes pricing and plans. Plus I can bum VZW towers whenever I want while using the Roam Control App, so screw the other 3 wireless carriers.

posted on 03 May 2011, 10:55

9. Apple Fanboy (unregistered)


Ahhhh, whats happening to all the freedom I was promised on my Android device??!?!?!?!?!?

LMAO, wow it's just a bad day for fandroids worldwide, first the Korean office gets raided, now this? Haha the open source operating system is becoming just as limited, they took down the playstation emulator first, now all tethering apps haha, just get an iPhone and JB it to get Cydia, thats real open source for you :)

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:06 5

14. ThePhoneGuru (unregistered)


You Fool! It's not Android, it's the cell phone companies that are blocking the wireless tethering. You can develop a tethering app all you want AND use it. The call phone companies are BLOCKING it. Get your facts right!

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:49

19. Apple Fanboy (unregistered)


I know that, so what makes a difference having an iPhone or a Android if I'm not gonna be able to do things I want? In these past few months, I was contemplating getting an Android phone for the sole purpose of having apps and capabilities that the iPhone doesn't offer, now, due to carriers or whatever excuse you wanna use, everything is getting locked up, sure AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are the ones blocking the apps, so did they remove the PS emulator a few months ago too? No, that was because Android (Google) wanted to be on good terms with Sony, trust me, it might not be as closed or "locked" as iOS, but Android is buckilng down.

posted on 03 May 2011, 18:18

33. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


you can still get the dam apps, its just not going to be as easy as typing on the android market for it

posted on 03 May 2011, 15:53

31. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


you aren't that smart are you? even with this ''carrier ban'' not done by Google you can still get the app... its not as easy as before but you can

posted on 08 May 2011, 13:31

47. TMOGUY25 (unregistered)


Proto, if only people would think before complaining. It's not worth trying to tell people you can still do an internet search to get the apps. This is a pure example of how lazy people in general have gotten when they can't do a simple search in the android market.

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:01 2

10. kellybl131 (Posts: 42; Member since: 19 Jan 2009)


All people need to do is pop out the SIM card and switch to WIFI on ATT or switch to airplane mode on Verizon and then connect to WIFI to access the market with the apps unblocked. They are still in the market after all.

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:04 4

11. Socalvenom (unregistered)


it's a damn shame that cell phone company's try to control every aspect of you usage and to include tethering is down right outrageous like many people have stated on here if I have a limit of five gigs and I say that because for most company's Unlimited isn't just that. I should be able to use them anyway I please. Without some asshole bitching about people like me slowing down the network. I mean I'f your promising Unlimited 4g for example and it turns out you've been throttled after 5gb then change the Unlimited to talk,text and 5gb of data that way people can be aware of how much data they have and hence can't complain. In fact last month I walked in to a T-mobile store and tried to return a "4g" thumb drive since it's unlimited 4g ran out on me in two weeks I talked to a rep told her my issues and I demanded a cancellation of my contract for false advertisement and sure enough after half an hour on the phone I my contract was cancelled. As of now I'm using My evo to tether to my desktop and I'v been using it for three months in those three months I"v used up over 60gb of data and I"v never been throttled so right now in my eyes Sprint is the only and true company that offers Unlimited 4g

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:07 4

15. Socalvenom (unregistered)


Im not trying to sound like a Sprint fan boy but it's the truth they really do offer unlimited 4g, well at least for now.

posted on 03 May 2011, 11:22 2

16. Gsmalltheway (Posts: 147; Member since: 15 Aug 2009)


Good thing for us Tmobile users that they dont block the installation of unknown sources so we can just download the apk from the web and install that way. Plus they can do nothing for rooted devices. God I LOVE Android

posted on 03 May 2011, 12:12

21. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)


I think that wireless carriers should charge customers the prices that they actually pay for data so that we could see the diff. in what a unlimited data really costs. I feel some of the comments on this page but then again I don't. everyone seems to want premium services with little to no cost. then there are those guys who have downloaded apps that use the carriers' services but they don't pay for. i would go after someone using my WIFI unknowingly to me...so why is a wireless carrier wrong for pursuing those who use unauthorized tethering methods? its like people have no concept of operating costs...it's just about what their need is & selfish at that. diff. devices consume data in diff. ways so in my opinion to charge extra to connect to a laptop is not a stretch. I don't get peoples' logic...you point the finger at companies that are supposedly trying to get over on you as consumers but in fact you are only upset that you can't get over on them. isn't that a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

posted on 03 May 2011, 13:09

24. unregistered (unregistered)


just root phone and download the app pdanet from the web or samsung users download kies and use that it works great!!

posted on 03 May 2011, 13:16

25. Markman2012 (Posts: 18; Member since: 03 May 2011)


MIUI for life htc evo shift tethering built in to the andro distro gingerbread need i say more the simple fact is , its yoru data you pay for it use it as u wish if u dont wanna root your phone and open it up then dont complain pay your bill stop slaging ,if u do root your phone all the better welcome to the world

posted on 03 May 2011, 14:08

27. obnoxious9162775 (Posts: 32; Member since: 25 Apr 2011)


I feel the data is paid for, so you should be able to use it how you like. Carriers need to back off. They already make enough money, why do they need more.

posted on 03 May 2011, 15:15 1

29. Dadler22 (Posts: 161; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


or you can just pop out the sim and download whatever you want over wi-fi. this is pretty much a non-issue.

posted on 03 May 2011, 18:40 1

34. unknown (unregistered)


Tethering should be free YOU ARE PAYING FOR DATA NO MATTER HOW YOU WANT TO USE IT. Companies always trying to get every penny from you.

posted on 03 May 2011, 18:41

35. unknown (unregistered)


Tethering should be free YOU ARE PAYING FOR DATA NO MATTER HOW YOU WANT TO USE IT. Companies always trying to get every penny from you.

posted on 03 May 2011, 18:45

36. Ghost (unregistered)


@ vzwguy. vzwguy777 (unregistered) thank you thephoneguru ive worked in wireless for about 6 years now and have seen a huge change but when it comes down to it you have to pay for it every wireless company is out to make money along with every other company. 30 bucks isnt that bad and 20 more for hotspot, put it this way everyone wants the new technology but they want it free, nothing is free my friends

ghost- vzw I work within the wireless market as well and I am surprised at the lack of common sense used here by others commenting on your opinion, and thank you for making a post that attempts to explain why a company can't just let every user run off with the unlimited data plans. I do agree as well that the companies should let you use your allotted data however you would like and charge you for the overages past your cap.

Sprintguy88 (unregistered) posted on 2 hours ago Dude maybe it's because you work for a phone company, but you and like one other guy are the only one's not complaining about the right to use free tethering, so if you don't mind, please just shut up and let us rant about this. I actually like Verizon and their service, it's better than Sprint, but I choose Sprint because they will soon be the only company that revolutionizes pricing and plans. Plus I can bum VZW towers whenever I want while using the Roam Control App, so screw the other 3 wireless carriers.

@ sprintguy
Really? wow, not only does phonearena request feedback from the community and get a response from both sides. But you actually tell somone else to shut-up after he explains his thoughts about it. You may be focused on the pricing value of a service basing off your post of 'Sprint revolutionizing offers" and see more value of no cost tethering. But it is obvious your unable to rationalize the cost of it. Let this be a thread about both sides, and maybe allow the public to understand why they move the direction they need to.
My view.

posted on 03 May 2011, 22:20

38. Dv (unregistered)


Charge me for data and let me do what I choose with that data! If you want to limit me then you should charge me for X amount for X GB's and allow me to distribute that how I choose. In the long run this would be much more profitable for the companies. They will charge a fee when you go beyond your allotted amount. For consumers it's a convieniece issue. Prsonally I do not want a hotspot when I have a phone that has the capability of being my hotspot. The carriers back the consumer into a corner though, the hotspot from your phone only allows this much usage, although the independent hotspot will allow a greater amount of usage. You get the idea. Enough with the games. streamline things for the consumer, you will get a happier consumer and you will always get your darn money!

posted on 04 May 2011, 18:51

39. root (unregistered)


in sweden we pay for a data plan, often something in the lines of 250mb,500mb,1-2gb,5gb, and unlimited
we can use it however we want
those carriers seems to be big cheapskates ...

posted on 05 May 2011, 07:11

40. SMARTGUY (unregistered)


cmon i pay for the internet on my phone already for $30 along with my texting for $5, insurance for $10 dnt i deserve to have some free service :) Not to mention the phone bill is high as F**K

posted on 15 May 2011, 16:34

48. EvoHero (unregistered)


Sounds like it's time to shop different carriers...

posted on 05 May 2011, 08:34

41. Stu (unregistered)


For a while my wife and I had a third phone that we used exclusively for tethering at home. We lived out in the country so $10 for 3g was better than $50 for slow dsl. I told the sales guy I was going to tether it without paying for the plan, and I called billing and told them what I was doing. They both gave me the impression that they thought I was an idiot because "of course you can't use your phone as a hotspot, that model doesn't even have that option." Anyway, I was using like 20-30gb per month and I was never given any trouble over it. It seems that very few people in the cell phone industry are even aware of what tethering is. I tried explaining it to the sales guy and the billing guy. The billing guy seemed vaguely aware of the word root but he told me, "I don't think what you say you are doing is possible but if you figured out a way, then good for you. There aren't extra charges on your bill."

Good enough for me

posted on 05 May 2011, 08:47

42. Daemon (Posts: 19; Member since: 07 Mar 2011)


AT&T is now capping U-Verse and DSL services. Most not all wireless carriers are charging for tethering (T-Mobile still does not). Sadly will this be the end to roaming internet access? If broadband providers are allowed to cap services will WiFi hotspots become a thing of the past? Mobile broadband is not a reliable and consistent service. Speeds and coverage vary from place to place. If you are a provider feel free to charge me when you have your services running in a pristine fashion. Until then don't charge me for a service, albeit a luxury, at a premium. Nothing pisses me off more than paying for a mobile data plan, traveling for business to a metropolitan location and getting less than stated mobile broadband service. Like the previous posts stated "data is data" especially if you are already throttling and capping services. Every broadband contact should come with a free sample of KY because in the end we are all getting screwed.

posted on 05 May 2011, 10:56 1

43. Forsaken77 (unregistered)


If you pay for a LIMITED amount of data, like us AT&T users do... you should be able to use that 2GB of data any way you want. I'm paying for 2gigs whether I use it or not. I'm not getting refunded the extra data I don't use, so let me use it up however I can.
The UNLIMITED people out there... you should not have unrestricted use of tethering. Some people completely take advantage and will have the entire house, the downstairs apartment, and the neighbors all running their internet off the 1 cell phones tethering ability. That will kill the network for other people.

posted on 16 May 2011, 14:41

49. Dustin (unregistered)


I thought Android was suppose to be a "free and open" market, unlike the apple market that cherry picks what apps they allow and which ones they dont. As long the app is free of viruses and/or malware it should be available on the android marketplace.

As far as the use of these programs, the fault lies with the user of the app, not the creator. Its just like the whole gun debate. It's not the gun thats bad, it's the person who might pull the trigger in a criminal way thats bad.

I personally don't want to see android evolve into an apple business model.

posted on 16 May 2011, 15:12

50. Wolf (unregistered)


Exactly! You're already paying for data service, th ability to tether to at least one device should be fine....I can understand paying more if you want to use it as a hotspot for 2 or more devices as more data is used. But to share with 1 device? Really?

posted on 07 Sep 2011, 04:19

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