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Verizon Joining AT&T in Thwarting Illegal Tethering



After AT&T had announced that it would be sending out notices to iPhone owners and taking action against those who are now illegally tethering without an approved plan–in the interest of fairness, as the carrier claims–it appears that long-time rival carrier Verizon Wireless will also be doing the same and joining AT&T on its quest to stop illegal tethering.

Both carriers offer a tethering add-on plan option for users who need to share the mobile broadband data connection on their Android or iOS smartphone over WiFi, Bluetooth, and/or a USB connection at this time for an added monthly premium. Users who are trying to circumvent the data policies by utilizing a jailbreak app on an iPhone or a rooting their Android device to utilize a non-approved app that would exploit their smartphone’s native tethering capabilities without having to subscribe to the optional plan are now being asked–or forced–into a tethering plan. AT&T says that users who continue to violate the data policy will automatically be switched to the appropriate plan if they continue their behavior.

In Verizon’s case, however, it seems that those who are using illegal tethering apps to tether are now being re-directed to a webpage when they try to connect to the Internet telling them that they need to be on the appropriate data tethering plan for $20 per month more. The change was noticed by some Verizon customers just a day after AT&T had announced its policy against tethering and taking a more hardline approach to the practice.

In the past, Verizon Wireless has been pro-active against tethering without the appropriate data plan. The carrier had removed apps that would enable the feature without the appropriate data package from Android Market in the attempt of steering users into subscribing to a tethering add-on.

Via: Electronista



  1. Rorytmeadows

    08/08/2011 at 11:34 am

    When I buy gasoline, I’m not barred from using it while driving in New Jersey. When I buy milk, I’m not barred from using it on Lucky Charms. When I buy electricity every month, I’m not barred from using it to power my laptop. Keep it up, providers, with the unlawful restrictions on your service. I can’t wait for that lawsuit to shut you up.

    • Anonymous

      08/08/2011 at 4:28 pm

      Me too.i will never own a smart phone until they offer unlimited flat monthly pricing with none of this krap conditions.
      otherwise i will use my cheapest cell i could get that has data and text disabled on it by me.

    • Tzarza

      08/09/2011 at 5:25 am

      I hate how companies treat data like its a commodity. Like its some sort of FINITE RESOURCE! I can’t wait till Steve Perlman to develop and deploy their wireless breakthrough.

      • Kyle McLaren

        01/03/2012 at 9:21 pm

        Network equipment is extremely expensive and power hungry.  If you figured out how to create a non-finite wireless service, you would become the Bill Gates of this generation.  Seeing how wireless services are still growing slowly…I’ll guess that you have no solution and are merely an ignorant consumer, happy to complain behind the anonymity of the internet.

        • getbent

          03/06/2012 at 12:08 pm

          You think in your own head you are right..but nothing is further from the truth.  I am on an unlimited plan with verizon.  If i switch to teathering, i loose the unlimited, and now have to pay out the poop shoot for data.  The infastructure of Verizon doesn’t interest me… They get enugh money from all of us on a monthly basis, and they SHOULD keep up with the demand.  So you are wrong, and your face is ugly

  2. Internet Dude

    08/08/2011 at 12:09 pm

    there is nothing illegal about tethering your paying for the connection. now there may be terms that say you cant do it, but not illegal.  long story short, root your phone and the carriers cant tell you are tethering.

    • noone

      08/08/2011 at 12:16 pm

      Get you facts, a carrier can tell that your tethering when rooted by what browser ID shows up when they are running deep packet sniffing on the network.

      • Rich

        08/08/2011 at 1:27 pm

        I hope that’s not how they are doing it because I set the user agent in my Dolphin browser to look like a desktop pc browser so I don’t get forced into mobile website versiond. I don’t tether. Are they going to accuse me of tethering because of this? Also, if someone is tethering couldn’t they just argue that they changed their user agent string? How could either side prove themselves based on what a browser reports?

      • sheikh.yerbouti

        08/08/2011 at 3:42 pm

        Whether or not a carrier can detect whether or not you are tethering does not mean one is breaking LAWS by tethering their phones.  Violating Terms of Service, perhaps, depending on what the plan’s terms of service are.  But I think the author (forwarder) of this article and some responders here are confusing Terms of Service with LAW.  Violations of Terms of Service can mean additional charges, but the most severe form of punishment a company can realistically impose is a termination of that service.  Police aren’t going to come to your house and take you to jail.  You won’t face criminal charges.  You won’t face a criminal trial.  You won’t have a conviction on your record.  Title of this article should be corrected to reflect that, as of yet, there aren’t any LAWS that prohibit phone tethering.  Perhaps substitute the word “illegal” with “terms of service violating” or something along those lines

        • austin hamman

          09/13/2011 at 5:57 pm

          didnt stop sony from taking geohott to court for nothing more than an EULA violation. what they can do depends in large part on the wording of the agreement.

  3. Anonymous

    08/08/2011 at 1:42 pm

    S&P cast doubts on the ability of a special, joint committee to concoct a viable plan to slash more spending and successfully move it through Congress.

    It’s been a tumultuous five years in Washington. The electorate has careened back and forth between the parties for three consecutive election cycles. The unprecedented result of three straight wave elections is a firm rebuke of the way things are going. But S&P’s decision to downgrade the U.S. has the potential to become the most-powerful condemnation of Washington yet.

    Invective and blame spewed from press releases and the Sunday shows as to who should face blame for the default. Democrats argued it was the tea party for making House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) back away from a “grand bargain” that would have produced deeper cuts and significant entitlement reform. Republicans cast aspersions on Democrats for not stomaching more cuts, failing to support a balanced budget amendment and insisting on tax increases to help decrease the debt.

    • Sketch2000

      08/08/2011 at 2:59 pm


  4. Sketch2000

    08/08/2011 at 3:01 pm


  5. Anonymous

    08/08/2011 at 3:55 pm

    “Illegal” is a buzzword. Obviously the author is desperate for pageviews therefore deliberately using inflated language to attract readers despite failing to understand the difference between terms of service and law of the land.

    • sheikh.yerbouti

      08/08/2011 at 6:14 pm

      Yes.  It seems like the article from which the above was plagiarized was titled more appropriately: “Verizon joins AT&T on blocking jailbreak-based hotspots “

  6. AndyA420

    03/06/2012 at 12:13 pm

    If you wondered why there are now sim cards in your verizon phone, here is your answer.  Your data usage is sent back using an extension…lets say it’s .exe.  (because i forget what the actual extension is)  When you teather, its sent back to verizon with .eme. It’s verry easy for them to tell what you are doing, 

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