It’s no big surprise – if you haven’t realized by now, Verizon and AT&T don’t like you using your phones for tethering purposes especially if you don’t pay the monthly fee for such services. AT&T has already taken steps to counter such offenders – by automatically upgrading them to a tether plan in the event they find out a user has been tethering.
Well now it appears that Verizon and AT&T are taking things a step further – by blocking the Wireless Tether app from the Android Market. Wireless Tether, an app that allows rooted Android devices to act as a mobile hotspot is available for free on the Android Market and has been used for quite awhile. But if you try looking for it on the Android Market now on your AT&T or Verizon phone – you won’t be able to find it, along with a number of other tethering apps. Some alternatives to Wireless Tether are still available for download from the Market but you can be sure that they will be the next to go soon.
While nobody is stopping you from sideloading the APK, the fact that the carriers want to make it harder to locate the app is telling of how they feel about tethering. I, like most people, believe that how we use our data is fine – as long as we pay for the allocated amount. But carriers don’t seem to see eye to eye with consumers when it comes to tethering and have decided to charge for the service instead.
The future of free tethering in the US is uncertain, but until then (if it happens) you can be sure that carriers will be doing their best to squeeze an extra buck or two out of customers who are willing to pay for the service. What is your stance on tethering? And are carriers justified in charging for something that most people believe should be free?