Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

Summary: The siege against mobile tethering apps continues, this time with Verizon.

SHARE:
17

Is Verizon finally starting to go after unauthorized tethering apps? That seems to be the case, as many Droid X and Thunderbolt users have been hit with messages like the one posted above. At the moment, Verizon's focus appears to be on the tethering app Wireless Tether, which is one of the more popular unofficial tethering options.

Why does Verizon care? The company wants its customers to purchase its official tethering plan, which runs for $20 for 2 GB. Makes sense.

AT&T began a similar attack in March, cracking down on customers that it believed were running unauthorized iOS tethering applications like MyWi. "AT&T Free Msg: Did you know tethering your Smartphone to a computer requires a tethering plan? Pls call 888-860-6789 for details or visit att.com/dataplans," AT&T's text messages read.

One of the central questions with AT&T's tactics, and one that to a certain degree persists with Verizon, is the exact method by which the companies are determining which users are using particular tethering apps. When AT&T began targeting suspected tetherers, its methods were often flawed and implicated users who weren't tethering at all. In the end, many suspected that the company was simply targeting users who were consuming an extreme amount of data.

Clearly, life isn't getting any easier for Android users.

[Via Droid Life]

Related:

Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

Blockbuster continues assault on rooted Android devices

Topics: Security, Mobility, AT&T, Verizon

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

17 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

    That's Verizon for you, wanting to nickel and dime you for everything you've got. What really sucks is they are the only decent carrier where I live.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

      @LoverockDavidson

      I've got a Droid X and have used it as a WiFi modem. Works well. Turn the service on when you need it, turn it off when you are done. They prorate the bill (not the data as far as I know) and you get what you need.

      Real simple and until we buy buckets of data it's the way it has to be. Don't like it? Don't use it.
      itguy08
    • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

      @LoverockDavidson Greetings, Loverock. This is a rare and very welcome opportunity to agree wholeheartedly with you.

      It's probable that Verizon has no legal leg to stand on here. I bought my Galaxy Tab running Froyo from Verizon, and although I have major issues with it overall, it did come with a "3G Mobile Hotspot" app preinstalled. Here is a quote from its Introduction page:

      "With 3G Mobile Hotspot, you can connect up to five Wi-Fi devices to the Internet at the same time. Stay connected on the go using this device's existing Mobile Broadband plan. All data usage from this device and any connected devices will count towards your data allowance."

      This app appears to be uninstallable (at least by the user). I'm betting that for Verizon to begin requiring its customers with existing data plans to start paying for tethering would be a contract violation. Same with AT&T. Maybe this lack of legal enforceability accounts for the rather soft language in their "threats". They're simply dunning and hoping their customers will cave.

      Beware, though, if you're a new customer or are renewing an existing contract. Very likely data contract language will have been changed to require a separate plan for tethering.
      FeralUrchin
  • They want to charge you for what costs them NOTHING!!

    What a deal. they get to charge you twice for the same data. First you have to pay for a data plan ($19.95 for 2 gig), then they want $20 for their "tethering plan" ($20 for 2 GB). Is this an additional 2 gig? 2 gig for the phone plus 2 gig for the tether equaling 4 gig? No No NO! This is the 2 gig you have for the phone and then they charge you an extra $20 to move that data to another device. The corporate board rooms are having a party. "We get to charge them TWICE for the same data!! WOO HOO!!!" You know, I wonder if there isn't a way we can sell them a calling plan and then charge them for each call? Call up tech services. Call up the accountants!! CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE LAWYERS OF WAR!!! NOTHING CAN STAND AGAINST OUR GREED!!!!!"
    Scubajrr
  • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

    What people seem to forget is that Verizon et al exist not to provide a service to their customers, but to make the maximum amount of money for the absolute minimum investment or provided service on their part. "Customers" are nothing more than revenue sources.

    While I am a capitalist at heart, I am not a greedy fool. Unfortunately, most corporate entities go beyond captilism to pure greed.
    7mgte
  • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

    wait a second, all I see is an offer for people to use the tethering service and I don't really see anything that shows they're cracking down!
    slickjim
  • If you think about it, they are double dipping us.....

    Man, what a great selling feature for one of the companies! They would steal so many customers from other providers if they offered FREE TETHERING WITH YOUR UNLIMITIED DATA PLAN! It dosen't cost them anything when a customer tethers their laptop to their phone so there is no expense and the lost revenue from not charging for something that the customer is already paying for would be made up in a huge way but all the new customers. Come on cellular service providers, one of you has to have an innovative marketing department! One better would be to also offer a free bluetooth headset to every new customer since they have all but proven that cell phone use causes health problems but if you get the phone away from your head........
    dennyc5@...
    • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

      It dosen't cost them anything when a customer tethers their laptop to their phone so there is no expense and the lost revenue from not charging for something that the customer is already paying for would be made up in a huge way but all the new customers. <a href="http://www.affordabledegrees.com ">life experience degree</a>
      <a href="http://www.affordabledegrees.com/ADA/bp.asp">bachelor degree program</a> | <a href="http://www.affordabledegrees.com/ADA/accreditation.asp">online accredited degree </a>
      jordanhawk
    • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

      I see is an offer for people to use the tethering service and I don't really see anything that shows they're cracking down! <a href="http://www.affordabledegrees.com/ADA/associate-program.asp">associates degree</a> | <a href="http://www.affordabledegrees.com/ADA/degreeprograms.asp">degree programs</a>
      jordanhawk
  • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

    Why should the owner of an internet access data plan have to pay seperately for every device he ownes to access his account. Access is access...no matter the vehicle. We are being screwed!
    Honeyd035
    • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

      @Honeyd035

      Now you are catching on...
      mlashinsky@...
  • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

    I would love to hear the justification provided by the carriers for gouging us with an additional fee to access the data we've already paid for. Data is data is data... Where is the additional cost to the carrier if the phone is used to txt, send emails, surf the web, watch YouTube, et. al., vs being used as a tethering device? Where is it? My guess is that they are protecting their revenue derived from their aircard business. Would be a tough sell to that salesman on the road, or that corporation supporting a salesforce, to tell them that they must pay for phone service AND air card service when it could all be done on one device. If I could tether my phone for free, I'd ditch my air card in a heartbeat.
    xhat
    • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

      @xhat There is a huge difference - bandwith. Using a laptop to access websites and using your phone use different amounts of bandwith (laptop being more) and thus bog down the cellular site faster. Until they upgrade backhaul and other infrastructure changes, they have to charge this to prevent saturation and a run on the towers.
      If you don't like it - don't use it.
      JT82
  • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

    I think most of you are looking at it from a slightly selfish point of view. We know that Verizon is not the cheapest service but provides the best overall service. Their business model for developing their plans are pretty much like any other major player. Cost = network load. You pay more for a unlimited voice plan than you do a 450 min plan. Now when you buy an unlimited voice plan it's for one phone, not 8. If you do have more phones on the plan you pay a nominal fee for each one. Verizon is offering unlimited data plans with the intent of one device. Tethering is a way of giving you a cost effective way of connecting multiple devices to their network. I'm sure that because of the abuse of Verizon's network by tethering apps that they'll eventually go to a pricing model that is tiered that will allow for tethering, but then everyone will be back on here complaining that now there is no unlimited package. For all of you conspiracy theorist out there, Verizon has always had tethering be a separate service with any capable smartphone all the way back to ancient blackberry days with their broadband connect plans. At the end of the day, Verizon has the best network because they actually take the money you pay them and invest in the network that we use on a daily basis. Going down the path of illegal tethering just sets us all up for failure when Verizon's network becomes overloaded with PC traffic and no additional revenue to build extra network capacity. Then you just have a crappy unreliable network like everyone else.

    PS. If you don't think Verizon doesn't use your money right, look at who the only cell provider giving assistance to the people of Joplin, MO after the tornado. They were the only ones providing emergency phones for officals and victims to use after the tragedy and they're giving Joplin customers free minutes to help them make calls to family/insurance companies to get their life back on track.
    mann_inc_2000@...
  • Rip off

    It's like our ISP would want us to pay an extra fee each and every computer in the house that is using their modem. They tried that in the beginning and it didn't work. In fact the cable company tried to charge us an extra fee for each extra tv in the house years ago and now they only succeed because they made use we need a cable box from them for each room. This too will change. People don't like to be ripped off and will rebel left and right until they just give up. Already a group is asking the FCC to stop Verizon from doing this as it's agaist the contract that Verizon agreed to and bought to provide 4g service via the coveted C spectrum.
    C_mohammad
  • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

    I am so much excited after reading your blog. Your blog is very much innovative and much helpful for any industry as well as for person. Look at <a href="http://electrical-services.ca/" rel="dofollow">pot lights Toronto</a>.
    Hope Stone
  • RE: Verizon targets customers running mobile tethering apps

    It does make sense. They have many users and with $20 for 2GB think of for how much they will be earning right? That is their strategy. In housing there is also <a href="http://www.housesellingtips.org">house selling tips</a> for <a href="http://www.bestapartments.ca">apartments for rent</a> and <a href="http://www.duncanhouses.com">Duncan real estate</a>.
    ronnie036