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  • FCC Tells Verizon They Can't Block Tethering Apps


    Verizon customers will soon have the option of downloading apps that let them turn their phone into a mobile hotspot. Previously, Verizon blocked these apps because it didnít want customers circumventing its $20 a month mobile hot spot fee. The change in heart came after the FCC determined that nationís largest wireless carrier was in the wrong in this situation because Verizon purchased spectrum in 2008 that required them to allow open access to its network.

    The wireless carrier ended up settling with the FCC along with offering a $1.25 million payment to the U.S. Treasury as a result of the FCCís consent decree on this issue. The FCC even went as far as saying that Verizon canít charge customers on the tiered data plans the $20 a month tethering fee it has been. That being said, Verizon was granted the ability to charge the fee for the customers who are still on an unlimited data plan. As of right now, Verizon doesnít have a way to determine if customers are using one of these apps, therefore anyone who downloads one of these apps and tethers wonít be detected (at least not as of right now).

    As of right now, customers who use AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint charge fees on some plans to use the handset as a hotspot. The whole decision was based on the FCCís consent decree based on Verizonís purchase of 700 MHz spectrum that came with a mandate that Verizon let other devices and applications run on the spectrum.

    Users can find the basics of the settlement according to the FCCís release below:

    Under the terms of todayís settlement, Verizon Wireless will make a voluntary payment to the Treasury in the amount of $1.25 million, and has committed to notifying the application store operator that it no longer objects to the availability of the tethering applications to C-Block network customers in the operatorís online market. Verizon Wireless has also agreed to implement a compliance plan, requiring that:
    1. employees will receive training on compliance with the C Block rules;
    2. future communications with application store operators regarding the availability of applications to Verizon Wireless customers will be reviewed in advance by legal counsel; and
    3. Verizon will report any instances of noncompliance with the rule at issue that might occur during the two-year term of the plan.

    In addition, the company recently revised its service offerings such that consumers on usage-based pricing plans may tether, using any application, without paying an additional fee.
    The news is good for everyone because it might push for the FCC to tell other carriers to abide by the same rules, in which case, consumers benefit.

    Source: FCC via GigaOm
    This article was originally published in forum thread: FCC Tells Verizon They Can't Block Tethering Apps started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. thetoothfairy's Avatar
      thetoothfairy -
      For once its for the people!
    1. tabit's Avatar
      tabit -
      What are the names of the tethering apps
    1. eightyk88's Avatar
      eightyk88 -
      Apple still doesn't allow the tethering apps. If you have a 2gb plan you are in luck you can use it up real quick now without paying extra.
    1. Raptor2213's Avatar
      Raptor2213 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tabit View Post
      What are the names of the tethering apps
      TetherMe is the best one I've seen for a JBed phone. It enables native tethering.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      This is good news.
    1. buttamix's Avatar
      buttamix -
      Quote Originally Posted by thetoothfairy View Post
      For once its for the people!
      I totally agree.
    1. exNavy's Avatar
      exNavy -
      So what? They'll just raise the fees on everything else soon to make up for the lost revenue. That's how companies in America think.
    1. iM1sf1t's Avatar
      iM1sf1t -
      You don't even need a tethering app if you have the new share everything plan... Tethering is included on all lines. Our bill came down $20 from what it had been and the personal hotspot option became available with the new plan.
    1. mcbaron15's Avatar
      mcbaron15 -
      "As of right now, customers who use AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint charge fees on some plans to use the handset as a hotspot."

      HA, T-Mobile uses the honor system. Oh you tether? Pay for it if you like. That's why they're my favorite carrier. That along with the best price/service quality ratio.
    1. iH85CH001's Avatar
      iH85CH001 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tabit View Post
      What are the names of the tethering apps
      PdaNet, MyWi, iTether, etc.
    1. The6uest's Avatar
      The6uest -
      That would be cool if it got AT&T to stop with the tethering BS. The throttling is bad enough.
    1. lizzy954's Avatar
      lizzy954 -
      wow this is great ! I was tethering from my iphone to my ipad via pdanet and now I can relax thanks for posting !!
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Victory for common sense. It's insulting our intelligence to be charging twice for the same data.
    1. LearningMan's Avatar
      LearningMan -
      Anybody care to speculate as to whether this will finally force AT&T's hand?
    1. tabit's Avatar
      tabit -
      Quote Originally Posted by iH85CH001 View Post
      PdaNet, MyWi, iTether, etc.
      Thanks for the response but I cant find any of those in apples store. Are there any that are apple approved?
    1. Dranon's Avatar
      Dranon -
      Quote Originally Posted by tabit View Post
      Thanks for the response but I cant find any of those in apples store. Are there any that are apple approved?
      Those three are in Cydia. BUT (and I do not have Verizon) I would think you can go into settings and just turn on tethering without any app if Verizon cannot charge you for it!
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Quote Originally Posted by iM1sf1t View Post
      You don't even need a tethering app if you have the new share everything plan... Tethering is included on all lines. Our bill came down $20 from what it had been and the personal hotspot option became available with the new plan.
      Most people won't gain with these new "share everything" plans - they were designed to increase carrier revenue. Even in your case, you're limited to sharing 3Gb when you used to have 3Gb each. If you (collectively) use less than 3Gb per month right now, that's great, but that will change. Just wait...
    1. iM1sf1t's Avatar
      iM1sf1t -
      Actually we share 4gb as a precaution and have never used more than 2... If you have the good sense to stay on wifi most of the time you won't have to worry about overage.
    1. quicknight's Avatar
      quicknight -
      I downloaded an app from the app store called, simply, "Tether." I read about it on one of these discussion boards with the caveat to "get it quick before Apple realizes their mistake and deletes it!". Well, I did--and they did--but the app doesn't work worth a crap. Is it possible that Verizon blocked my iPhone from using it or was it just poor code. There was a corresponding app that I had for my MacBook but I could never get them to successfully pair...UNTIL TODAY! (edited)


      so it turns out the Tether (tether.com) app (yes, from the Apple app store!) does work on a Verizon iPhone via a USB tether. (I'm using it right now at "blazing" speeds). I'm on the original UL data plan, so I'll see if they can detect me (can't see how they could!) and let you guys know. This was a "mistake" and Apple removed the app from their stores almost immediately. Luckily, I heard about it on one of these boards and copped it rather quickly. There is also a corresponding app that works on my MBP so it just kind of...works!
    1. Agent929's Avatar
      Agent929 -
      Quote Originally Posted by csglinux View Post
      Most people won't gain with these new "share everything" plans - they were designed to increase carrier revenue. Even in your case, you're limited to sharing 3Gb when you used to have 3Gb each. If you (collectively) use less than 3Gb per month right now, that's great, but that will change. Just wait...
      All I can say is you are incorrect. It was not a get rich scheme. It was to simplify the overall plan. It's not for people that share an account with their mom. It's for a family. You will save money on the plan if you have multiple devices.