Although the coffers at Verizon Wireless, America’s largest wireless carrier, wouldn’t agree with the statement in the headline, however it’s true. Ever since Android 2.0 the folks at Google, not Verizon, not any carrier and not any OEM, have had a hotspot “wireless tether” feature in the operating system.
Verizon Wireless made big news earlier this month when they traded their unlimited data plans up for new, and pricey, tiered data plans. It was also revealed a few weeks ago that Verizon has decided to charge a premium to use the hotspot, wireless tether feature. In fact it’s an additional $20 per month, on top of the tiered data plan that you choose to use this feature. It’s also NOT grandfathered in to your contract so if you were on Verizon Wireless before July 7th you still have to pay $20 a month to use wireless tethering on top of your unlimited data plan.
more after the break
Verizon has already started pushing an OTA update to “provide enhancements” to the HTC Thunderbolt that also includes crippling the wireless tethering feature. Although Verizon Wireless may find a work around, we’re guessing that if you don’t install the update you may still be able to get away with tethering, for now.
The wireless tethering feature, installed into Android by Google, is one of the most attractive features for an Android device. Although iOS has a tethering feature now, Android was the first OS to bring it to market. Now most Android users can tether their laptop or wifi enabled tablet to their phone in just a few seconds, providing instant data access whenever they need it.
It’s not like Verizon wouldn’t make money if they allowed free tethering the way it should be, because Android users would still have to pay for their data. This could get expensive, especially for new Verizon Wireless Android customers, but at least it would be a legitimate and fair way of billing.
In our eyes disabling tethering is as ludicrous as taking away Google search from an Android device, oh wait on some Android devices they tried to do that as well.