Free Android Tethering Blocked by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile

By  |  Monday, May 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm

So much for free tethering apps on Android phones, at least in the Android Market. AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are now blocking these apps, which offer a free or cheap alternative to the carriers’ official, subscription-based offerings.

As Engadget points out, you can still see tethering apps like PDANet in the Android Market, but if you try to install them on any of the major U.S. carriers besides Sprint, you’ll be told that “This item is not available on your carrier.”

T-Mobile has blocked illicit tethering apps for more than two years, but the action from Verizon Wireless and AT&T is a new development, albeit an unsurprising one. Wireless carriers charge $15 to $20 per month to use smartphones as portable modems for tablets and PCs, so either they just noticed that users were able to dodge the extra charges, or they finally got Google to play along.

Free tethering will still be possible by sideloading apps from outside the Android Market, but that’s not quite as convenient as an app from within the store. It’s also of no consolation to AT&T users, who can’t sideload apps at all without rooting their phones. (AT&T, meanwhile, has been sniffing out tethering on its own. Back in March, the carrier started sending warning letters to illicit tethering users, both on iPhone and Android.)

I’m still hoping for carriers to render this issue moot by offering capped bandwidth plans with tethering included across all devices. With this sweeping action to protect higher-priced data plans, something tells me it’s not happening any time soon.

 
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14 Comments For This Post

  1. corwin1681 Says:

    T-mobile hasn’t blocked anything, t-mobile still has free tethering and PDA net still downloadable, and still works.

  2. Dominik Says:

    Forbid that carriers allow us to use data the way that we want to, especially since we pay so much for it.

  3. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Just side load AND don't use AT&T. They'll get the message if people stop using them. It's called market pressure.

  4. David Says:

    The openness of Android continues…

  5. The_Heraclitus Says:

    At least FAR more open than Apple.

  6. JBecket1 Says:

    It's pretty necessary that they do this to try and get rid of the black market that has been produced for the iPhone and Androids. This situation reminds me of record and software companies cracking down on pirating, has to be done. AT&T is a great company, but like many nationwide businesses it can have some weak spots. I was surfing the internet and I found this site where people can vent about poor customer service or products they received… it can get really funny. I would recommend you to check it out here: http://ventme.com/companies/view/95

  7. funvirginian Says:

    @FCC needs to examine double charging consumers for multiple data devices or else other ISPs will start charging for every device connected eg every PC in your home =$30 per PC/device

  8. odestiny Says:

    I bought the Verizon Samsung Facinate about a month ago. I opted to purchase the additional 3g hotspot which gives an additional 2G of data for $30 a month. The problem is that I can hardly ever get more than 2 bars of connnectivity on my phone. Verizon has changed it twice so this is my third phone in a month with no improvement. Even though this is a new phone, if they replace it they send you a reconditioned phone with no back or battery. When I can't connect, my daughter and wife have other phones with four bars standing right next to me that connect great. BTW, when I call Verizon support, I first get someone working from home who has to try to help me first before finally forwarding the "the next level" which is actually Verizon support. I just ran a speed test and am getting .76 Mbps even though the phone is sitting in the window. Today I got a message on my phone that I had maxed out the allotted data allowance even though the phone app says I've only used .66 of the two megs original data. Billing at Verizon says they can't see the usage for at least another couple of days when the bills come out. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? Also none of these three phones I've received can connect with GPS ever. So the navigation app doesn't work, nor does Google maps. Now I'm stuck with this fancy phone that won't work and a two year contract with Verizon that can't figure out what to do about it. BTW, I'm in the middle of a major California city.

  9. Guest Says:

    Somehow I was able to get PDANET on my Android phone form the Android Market without any problem… Did something has changed since this article got published ???

  10. android verizon Says:

    Couldn't be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Impaler Says:

    I was also able to download PDANet and use it with no issue. Im on Verizon.

  12. allochthon Says:

    Just to update this article:

    T-mobile blocked my android tethering last night at midnight, and sent me texts telling me how to sign up for their tethering plan. Android using “wireless tethering for root users(1)” on an (obviously) rooted phone.

    (1) http://android-wifi-tether.googlecode.com

  13. Jevon Says:

    Download the PDA Net from junefabrics.com to your computer rather than the Android market and then it will install it to your Android phone. Works fine for me on my Droid x2 – I'm on Verizon. Instructions for Droid here: http://geeknizer.com/how-to-tether-motorola-droid

  14. AaIbrahim Omar Says:

    With the release of Version 1.1.1004 of the ABC player iPad App,… Or T-Mobile. Video quality was… Cables to Connect Computer and Television Together;A Mobile Tv is in my Pocket