tethering Stories August 31, 2015

T-Mobile to clamp down on network abusers, booting them down to lowest Simple Choice plan

T-Mobile has announced that it’s going to seriously clamp down on any users using unauthorized methods to get around its tethering cap. Those caught using more data than they should be on the highest tier, unlimited Simple Choice plan will be warned to stop, before being moved down to the entry-level plan. This move is aimed specifically at smartphone users who deliberately break T-Mo’s terms and conditions using workarounds to conceal their tethering usage.

The magenta carrier published an updated FAQ page on its support site stating that some customers have been blowing way past the 7GB tethering limit on the highest Simple Choice plan. Some using as much as 2TB (2000GB) of data on their mobile plan. Its biggest concern is the experience created for others. With people using the network so heavily, it can ruin the network performance for everyone else. The carrier has developed a software to detect those using workarounds and will initially warn users. If they carry on abusing the network, then they get moved on to a plan with just 1GB data (including tethering).

We’re first warning these customers that they’re illegally using more data than they bought. We hope folks will stop on their own so they can keep their current plan. These customers are on an unlimited 4G LTE smartphone plan that includes a set amount of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot data, but they’re using workarounds to make their tethering look like smartphone usage which helps them use significantly more 4G LTE tethering than their plan includes.

Once they’re on a plan with a set amount of 4G LTE data, it won’t matter what method they use for Smartphone Mobile HotSpot. Once they use their 4G LTE data bucket, they’ll continue to be able to use data at reduced speeds and still never worry about overages.

T-Mobile will start communicating these changes with its customers from today and notes that only a very small percentage of its customers have been discovered to be concealing their tethering. Despite it being a very small fraction of the customer base, it has a “disproportionately negative impact” on the experience for everyone else.

tethering Stories August 5, 2011

ReadWriteWeb is reporting Verizon has blocked hotspot tethering on rooted Android devices without a data plan. Verizon is forwarding users to a page to buy 3G mobile hotspot, which currently is $20 a month for 2GB, with a $20 per GB overage.This only makes sense..

A ReadWriteWeb employee using a jailbroken tethered Verizon Motorola X without a data plan was sent to this page outlining Verizon’s hotspot data plans today when trying to access a hotspot. This is a new development, since the employee used her jailbroken device as a hotspot two days ago.

This follows our report yesterday that AT&T is removing unlimited plans for users who jailbreak iPhones to tether or hotspot off of AT&T’s unlimited data plans.

tethering Stories May 3, 2011

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.

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