Microsoft institutionalizes carrier-restricted tethering in Mango, sharing comes also with hardware and driver restrictions

Microsoft institutionalizes carrier-restricted tethering in Mango, sharing comes also with hardware and driver restrictions
Some of you might have already noticed that the Windows Phone Mango update with over 500 new features has started rolling out, but among those there are some catches. The first and most controversial one is the way Microsoft has approached tethering. Luckily, after many rumors denying it, Wi-Fi sharing was finally confirmed to come with Mango. But the feature, which basically leverages your phone data to other devices like a notebook or a tablet, is hardcoded to be restricted by carrier, hardware and drivers.

Carrier restrictions for tethering are not new, but lately both Verizon and AT&T have stepped up their efforts to stop users from what the carrier say is often illegal use of tethering. Microsoft however has strangely introduced more limitations for its hardware partners allowing only the Broadcom 4329 chip for tethering. Most but not all WP devices use the 4329 chip, so that means that if you own a device with the 4325 chip you won’t be able to use the feature.

The last hurdle on the way to shared connections is driver updates. Even if you have the right chip, if you don’t have the drivers you wouldn’t be able to make use of tethering. Luckily, driver updates will depend on the manufacturer rather than the carrier.

Sadly, Microsoft says that only new handsets will support tethering. So even though the feature has been demonstrated on the Samsung Focus, it won’t likely officially support it. 

source: Ars Technica



1. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

Carriers suck!!!!!!!!

2. ibap

Posts: 866; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

Sounds like an opprotunity for clever programmers!

3. thatguy unregistered

It should be illegal for them to tell me what I'm allowed to do with the data I already pay for.

4. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I know what you mean, this tethering issue is very prominent thing with the carriers & they seem to be very sensitive to it. If I am paying for data then the data is mine & I should be able to use that data that is paid for as I see fit. I just don't like any restrictions especially if I paid for the item in question!

5. bluechrism

Posts: 99; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

BUt only in the US. I believe O2 was the last UK carrier to restrict tethering and they lifted the restriction earlier this year.

6. Nexus Koolaid unregistered

The carriers like to justify their tethering charges by comparing themselves to to the pricing structure of cable TV. But that argument quickly falls apart if you actually compare the two business models. I'm not going to be a tool and tether my entire house with my phone, but I won't hesitate to tether my tablet to my phone for Email and other mobile activities. The carriers did not supply my tablet, they did not supply my phone, and they did not provide the tethering software, so I will not pay extra for this NON-SERVICE. Thank you Microsoft - I will NOT be buying one of your phones. Ever.

15. Mr. Mort unregistered

Another mooch whining about $20 a month. Who cares? Are you really going to complain about what...67 cents a day? You spent money on a tablet and a phone at least. That's what...excess of $400 dollars or more? And I hear whining about .67 cents. Really now...

16. dandirk

Posts: 187; Member since: Aug 04, 2011

You can send me $20 per month if you want... since its not that big of a deal for you.

7. naginalf unregistered

Yup, I was looking favorably upon the windows phones, but not now. Up yours microcrap. And I'm getting sick of people calling it "illegal" tethering. Breech of contract does not get you landed in jail unless you've actually done something illegal with it, it just gets your contract revoked. Granted you'll be hard pressed in this country with it's corporate government to find a contract that lets you tether. "This net neutrality legislation (or lack thereof) brought to you by our sponsors, AT&T, Verizon, and Exxon Mobile." Watch idiocracy... be very scared... we're already halfway there.

8. BlakeTheBear unregistered

So which WP7 phones use which chip?!

9. youareanidiot unregistered

This has nothing to do with MS. The carriers are the ones that Sue for "violating the T&C of your company. Tether Apps for android will even blatantly say that are not available for certain carriers becuase it violates your CARRIER'S terms of service, not android or your manufactuer. MS is not including them by default, b/c if you as a consumer violate your carrier Terms of Service becuase of a product they already have implemented they MS is guilty as enabling so if you carrier sues you, you can sue MS. They are smart, not dumb like you guys. If you want to tether iPhone or Android on VZW you have to pay VZW's fee and use their app, unless you jail brake it, and in that case Apple and Google are not liable if you get caught and VZW prosecutes you.... same thing here. If you really are smart enough to own a smartphone, you will be smart enough to find a workaround, until then stop trolling like idiots.... thanks

11. Nexus Koolaid unregistered

Yes, the carriers are trying to restrict tethering so they can charge extra for their NON-SERVICE which they seek to protect with their T/C. Yes, with Android and iPhone jailbreaks, there are tethering solutions that can be had. Some are apparently detectable by the carriers, where some tether apps are engineered to prevent carriers from knowing what’s going on. Your mileage may vary, depending on the solution you choose. What you apparently failed to grasp from the article is that Microsoft isn’t just choosing not to include the option of unrestricted tethering, but rather they have caved in to will of the carriers by baking carrier-restricted tethering INTO THE HARDWARE. You see, there are two types of customers that every phone manufacturer must support. There are the end users who, after paying good money for a phone, feel the phone is theirs and they should be able to use it to communicate, socialize or compute in whatever way they choose. Then there are the carriers, who view the subsidized handsets they offer as revenue generating stations over which they should be able to exercise control for the purpose of extracting as much revenue as possible. Consumers are just interested in a data pipe. Carriers are interested in a pipe that leads to your wallet. Judging by the tethering that MS is implementing in their phones, which camp would you place them in? My suggestion to you would be to stop calling other people dumb and read the article a little more cafefully.

13. youareanidiot unregistered The bad news is how internet sharing will arrive on existing Windows Phone 7 devices: that is to say, not right away. It turns out that the reason no one saw internet sharing earlier in Mango's development is because it really was a last-minute addition. For HTC, at least, that meant that the company was already too far along in preparing updates for its WP7 lineup to go back and add the feature in, along with all the additional testing it would require. It should still be getting here (again, subject to carriers not being jerks), but you'll have to wait until a future update. Like I said, if you are smart enough to own a smartphone there is always a work around for the smartuser. As a user am I pissed that this stuff happens? Hell yeah I am, but I don't blame Apple, or Google, or MS, I blame the greed of the carriers. But can you really hate the carriers for it. There are douche bag idiots out their that think that unlimited data on their phones mean that i can reaplce their home solution and use 50gb of data. Those users ruin it for us. @Nexus -- I repsect you opinion, but this has nothing to do with MS. XDA-Developers is always the solution, and their is a thread exactly devote to this cause. I personally unlocked wifi tethering on my HTC Incredible because I used it maybe 5 times total and each time for less than 100mb of data i am sure. I am not the problem and No one is going to come after me. There is always a solution and always an answer, calm down, and find it instead of trolling on a website and blaming the messenger/producer.

10. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Buy it unlocked, if they're going to sell it that way.

14. youareanidiot unregistered

And I apologize about my incorrect word use... especially the wrong *there*. I should stop posting from my phone. sent from WP7 Trophy -- running stock Mango (infinitely better than my HTC Incredible that was rooted and any ROM i tested or side loaded)

17. tomo unregistered

that sucks for you guys we dont have any restrictions in australia with any carrier ( sent using my samsung 10.1 though my htc sensation)

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