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

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



1. nb2six

Posts: 298; Member since: Apr 27, 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.

5. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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.

13. Gcombs unregistered

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

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...

18. celljrod

Posts: 82; Member since: Apr 07, 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

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!

23. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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

22. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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....

26. SavageLucy42

Posts: 211; Member since: Mar 24, 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.

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...

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

2. Goldeneye

Posts: 419; Member since: Jan 22, 2011

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


Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 20, 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.

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?

4. celljrod

Posts: 82; Member since: Apr 07, 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.

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.

44. tragichero

Posts: 163; Member since: Jan 07, 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

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.

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?

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

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.

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

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.

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 :)

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!

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.

33. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

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

31. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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

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.

10. kellybl131

Posts: 42; Member since: Jan 19, 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.

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