Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tethering apps get "blocked" from Android Market

Update: 6/8/11: 

Verizon Faces Complaint for Blocking Tethering Apps

UPDATE: As of 5/22/11 easy tether is back on the android market and there are still many tethering apps left, but some apps like PdaNet and wifi tether are still gone.

  Free tethering apps such as easytether, PdaNet, and wifi tethering apps have seemed to disappeared from the Android Market for phone on the AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon network. Apparently Sprint customers are able to access these tethering apps. Reports first came from the blog DroidLife that the free tethering app Wireless Tether could not be downloaded onto AT&T and Verizon Wireless handsets. I can confirm this too, because when I went on the Android market on my Verizon Motorola Droid, I noticed that almost all the tethering apps were gone. A few were left, but they will probably be gone soon too. AT&T and Verizon representatives declined to comment regarding this issue and pointed fingers at Google saying that they were the ones that decided if a tethering app should be on the Android Market or not. A Google spokesman told Fierce Wireless that it has not neither removed nor blocked the app. It instead is simply making them unavailable for download on certain carrier networks at the request of those carriers. If an application is in direct violation of the terms and conditions of a usage contract, a carrier can request Google make the app unavailable, the spokesman told Fierce Wireless. This means that the apps are still on the market, but are just hidden. However, these apps still work and can still be side-loaded onto the device. I have personally tested them and they all seem to be working fine. If the developer distributes the application file in a way other than the Android Market (for example, as a download from their Website) a user can install that on his device. (I will posts some links to these websites in my upcoming post.)  I have posted some links to tethering app on the "Other" page on this blog.

AT&T has recently made a big push to ensure that people pay to use its smartphones as wireless modems. AT&T has been sending iPhone users text messages that have been tethering using app such as PdaNet. AT&T charges $20 extra per month for the tethering feature. Customers who tether are given 4GB of data to use during the month. Customers who exceed that limit are charged an addition $10 per gigabyte.
T-Mobile charges $15 a month in addition to a smartphone data plan for 5GB worth of data per month.  Verizon Wireless charges its smartphone customers $20 a month on top of its $30 smartphone data fee to use up to 2GB of data per month.

So do you think what the carriers did was fair? 
Let us know.

Source: cnet