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

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).

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.

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.



1. Synack

Posts: 688; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

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

29. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

2. cj100570

Posts: 204; Member since: May 12, 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.

3. torr310

Posts: 1724; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

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

27. sleepyjohnny

Posts: 151; Member since: Dec 16, 2009

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

35. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 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

44. jogutier

Posts: 324; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

Works on my Bionic. ;)

4. titoandres

Posts: 17; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

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

5. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

What! No Easy Tether!? Why!?!

6. CommentBoxEnforcer

Posts: 99; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

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

7. pathmarkpolice

Posts: 102; Member since: Feb 05, 2009

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

9. exo2u

Posts: 27; Member since: May 10, 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

12. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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. :)

10. CommentBoxEnforcer

Posts: 99; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

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

11. exo2u

Posts: 27; Member since: May 10, 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?

13. CommentBoxEnforcer

Posts: 99; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Didn't know they had a add on

38. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 974; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

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

39. CommentBoxEnforcer

Posts: 99; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

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

40. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 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

8. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 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.

14. sun0066

Posts: 288; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

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

41. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

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

15. kcombs

Posts: 275; Member since: Dec 15, 2010

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

16. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

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

17. som

Posts: 768; Member since: Nov 10, 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.

21. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 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).

22. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 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.

18. Jimstar

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 24, 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...

19. CommentBoxEnforcer

Posts: 99; Member since: Feb 13, 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

31. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless