Bad news for data-hungry Android fans. According to DroidLife, carriers are pressuring Google to selectively block third-party apps which enable tethering on Android devices. Worse, they seem to be succeeding at it, too. This change in stance affects the many tethering programs on Android Market such as Wireless Tether. The site did a little digging to discover that even though browser-based Android Market lists tethering apps, they cannot be installed on the devices authorized on the Verizon network. Commenting on the above image, the site wrote:
What you are seeing, is my list of devices, all of which cannot accept this app.
Tethering apps allow consumers to use their cellphone’s 3G connection on a notebook. While cellular data consumed this way still counts against your monthly data allotment, such programs effectively avoid carrier-enforced tethering plan that cost between $30-$45 a month and upwards.
The news follows AT&T’s warning last week that unofficial tethering will automatically trigger the extra $25 fee. Meanwhile, This is my next reminded that selectively blocking software by carrier request is at stark contrast to Google’s proclaimed openness. The publication reminded that the last year’s auction for the C Block 700MHz spectrum that Verizon now uses for its LTE network came with the promise of open applications and handsets, saying Google pushed the bid past the $4.6 billion mark in an effort to ensure those licensing conditions would be in place.
Ah, the carriers – you gotta love those guys. The Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg once likened them “the Soviet ministries”, the definition which is still true today. No matter how you call them – the Soviet ministries, wireless operators, telcos or just carriers – they are at odds at all times with both handset makers and (especially) platform providers.
Google could be an extreme example because the company neither sells handsets nor the open-sourced Android operating system nor its many online services that are offered free of charge. Yup – you guessed right – Google’s in it for advertising and carriers are loving it provided they get a piece of the action, too.