Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

Summary: AT&T and Verizon, with a significant hand from Google, have begun cracking down on Android tethering apps, which enable users to avoid official carrier tethering plans.

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The Android tethering honeymoon may finally be over.

AT&T and Verizon subscribers have noticed in recent days that Wireless Tether, a tethering app (formerly) available via the Android Market, has disappeared. Users are, however, able to find the app via the online version of Android Market, signaling that individual carriers may be to blame for the disappearance.

Google spokespeople say that while Wireless Tether is not officially blocked, Android users on specific carriers may find that the app is unavailable. Verizon and AT&T have been similarly evasive in their responses, declining to comment on whether they approached Google on getting the application removed.

Of course, carriers' efforts to crack down on illicit tethering are nothing new. AT&T recently began targeting subscribers that it suspected were using unlawful tethering programs. Via tethering apps like Wireless Tether and MyWi, users are able to evade official tethering plans like AT&T's Data Pro, which offers 4 GB of data for $45 per month.

But the news is perhaps more interesting for Google, which has traditionally taken a stance against the efforts of carriers to prohibit how customer data is allocated.

Topics: Mobility, Google, Networking, AT&T, Wi-Fi

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29 comments
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  • Google's losing alot anymore

    First this, then Bing on Blackberry, people are running away in droves from Google.

    I'd hate to be in the Googleplex today, probally get hit by flying chairs! :)
    Bill Pharaoh
    • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

      @Bill Pharaoh Where are they running to? Apple? Ha ha!
      They can run to Sprint, who isn't trying to block anything... yet. And how does either Bing or Blackberry fit into the Google equation?
      leebosay
      • The fact that in prior years, no one would consider

        @leebosay
        anything other then Google. Now we are seeing them "cave" to carriers they did not have to before, and having to actually fight their way to their goals,as opposed to just waiting for those to come to them.

        Mr. Pharaoh is correct, much has changed, and Google is starting to feel those changes.
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

        @leebosay Using Bing instead of Google as the default search engine on Blackberry is what he was saying so there is an implied lack of faith in Google from RIM and now with Google (NOT the manufacturers but Google) removing this app and being shady about why they did so (as well as the carriers being shady about it)... well your precious is not looking too good right now.
        athynz
    • Anyway, there is actually nothing really "open" in Google's way, since it

      @Bill Pharaoh:... banned quite a lot of applications since very beginning.
      DDERSSS
  • At the risk of exposing my ignorance

    (since I do not own an Android device) root it, side load the application and tell the carriers to go and (insert the four letter word of your choice) themselves.<br><br>They can sell you the data limit of your/their choice, but once you have paid for it, it is none of their business how you use it.
    Economister
    • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

      @Economister You are free to do that and the carrier is free to put you on a tethering plan when they notice you are using a desktop browser or downloading P2P over your phone.
      Harley_Dude
      • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

        @Harley_Dude At which a class action lawsuit would be opened, since they are trying to sell the same data twice at that point. Seems a simple case.
        timspublic1@...
    • Childish view.

      @Economister

      <i> it is none of their business how you use it.</i>

      Contractually, there are limits placed on the devices that the bandwidth can be used. Like it or not, people on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mob never paid for bandwidth for use on their computer, just their phone.
      Bruizer
      • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

        @Bruizer Bandwidth is bandwidth, it goes through the phone.
        timspublic1@...
    • If you are using their connections, their bandwidth and

      their infrastructure, is is absolutely their business how you use it. Now, if you want to use your phone to hammer nails, you might have a point.
      fr_gough
      • re: If you are using their connections, their bandwidth and

        @frgough@... <br><br>Did you just crystallize his point? Hence the <i>bandwidth</i> is the <i>nail</i> he paid for to bang on.
        Return_of_the_jedi
    • My main point

      @to all

      When I buy bandwidth, I buy the right/ability to transmit and receive BITS over their network. What kind of bits and from/to which device should be absolutely irrelevant to the carriers.

      It is simply carrier greed and consumer stupidity that allow the carriers to get away with this type of conduct. More competition in the market place would quickly end this nonsense.
      Economister
      • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

        @Economister
        +1
        hoaxoner
      • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

        @Economister Agreed!
        athynz
      • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

        @Economister
        You worded my comment almost exactly. I agree 100%.
        Big B
  • I just love how the terminally stupid always come out and post their

    bandwidth is bandwidth and you paid for so you can use it however you want to nonsense. They somehow cant grok the simple concept that no you didnt pay for some set allocation of bandwidth to unconditionally use however you want. Your contract specifies that you paid for bandwidth for use only by your phone, not by other devices through your phone, but on your phone. It's so simple most 3rd graders can understand it, yet somehow they're here whinning and crying every time the subject comes up like yet again, the very simple explanation is just too complex for them to comprehend... sigh... see you back here next time simpletons. doh!!
    Johnny Vegas
    • And which carrier ...

      @Johnny Vegas <br><br>do you represent? I'll tell you something even simpler that you do not grasp: a bit is a bit is a bit. Attempts to gouge the customer do not change that simple(ton) fact, even if you struggle with it.
      Economister
    • Hi Mr. Simpleton

      @Johnny Vegas

      "Your contract specifies that you paid for bandwidth for use only by your phone, not by other devices through your phone, but on your phone"

      Did you ever consider the fact that when you speak on your phone, the signal comes from a device other than your phone (you), it is transmitted to your phone, converted and then sent over the carriers' network. When you listen, the signal is transmitted from the phone to an external device (your ear/brain). According to your brilliant and impeccable logic, that is not allowed.

      Care to try again?
      Economister
    • RE: Google bows to carrier pressure on Android tethering apps

      @Johnny Vegas Let me guess you either work for a carrier (as someone who's bonuses are dependent on carriers double dipping) or do not even use a smartphone and data plans. In the first scenario your argument is self serving and biased in the second you sound like someone complaining about who won an election you didn't bother to vote in.

      You would have a point IF there were two separate allotments of data one for surfing the net via the phone the other for tethering but it does not work that way - phone data usage and tethering are taken from the exact same allotment of data... and the carriers are charging twice for the SAME allotment of data. What is so hard for you to understand about this?
      athynz