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Question

Free Tethering Apps: Are These Legit?

by steve_b_17 / May 2, 2011 5:13 AM PDT

The major mobile phone carriers are offering tethering services for about an additional $20/month. Circumventing these fees seems unlikely, as I've read that they can monitor their customers' bandwidth usage which increases when connected to another device. I've also read that they can monitor their customers' phones connecting to IP addresses.

In attempting to discover how to avoid these fees, my research has led me to some sites including tethering.com and tetheryourphone.com, which claim to enable tethering without requiring the customer to pay fees to the carriers. Instead, the customer would pay a 1-time fee for the software. Are these types of apps legitimate?

Thanks,

Steve

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All Answers

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Answer
I very much doubt it
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 2, 2011 5:18 AM PDT

If they are not supplied through your carrier then what would they do?

This whole question of unauthorised tethering is hotting up. The very latest from ZDNet News & Blogs;
I told you the tethering police were coming, and now they are here

"Today word is appearing that AT&T and Verizon have indeed taken the next step to curtail tethering by blocking the Wireless Tether app on handsets on those carriers. It would seem that the tethering police are indeed here as predicted."

Mark

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Free Tethering: Fact or Fiction?
by steve_b_17 / May 3, 2011 3:15 AM PDT
In reply to: I very much doubt it

Hi Mark,

I'd also like to know how they work. The sites aren't forthcoming about how their apps effectively prevent the charges.

I've read your ZDNet "tethering police" blog...very informative!

Thanks,

Steve

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Therein lies the rub
by Pepe7 / May 3, 2011 6:52 AM PDT

Essentially, the tethering apps do not (completely) eliminate being potentially flagged for using data in a way that breaks the terms of service from the carrier. The app simply allows you to do it provided the carrier hasn't already blocked at some future point on one of their branded handsets. Right now it's in the pipeline for the larger carriers, as Mark has kindly pointed out.

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Tethering and Rooting
by steve_b_17 / May 5, 2011 7:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Therein lies the rub

You weren't kidding! Information overload!

Some of the discussion concerned carriers' removing tethering apps from stores thereby forcing users to use the app associated with their "service", for which they charge a fee. Any thoughts on the legality of such actions? I've also read some blogs which conflict with the information I'd obtained previously related to the effect of rooting on carriers' ability to monitor usage and charge for tethering. Does rooting have an impact on this? So many perspectives and opinions!

Thanks,

Steve

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No legal issues.....
by birdmantd Forum moderator / May 5, 2011 8:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Tethering and Rooting

There is no legal issues at all with how the carriers are dealing with this. The Terms & Conditions of Service stipulate that their customers are required to have a tethering feature (billable each month of use). All customers, whether or not in contract are bound to the T&C. No wiggle room there.

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Legal Issues
by steve_b_17 / May 6, 2011 3:07 AM PDT
In reply to: No legal issues.....
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Still relatively easy to detect tethering
by Pepe7 / May 5, 2011 11:47 AM PDT
In reply to: Tethering and Rooting

Rooting isn't a solution per se, it merely allows things to be modified on the device that otherwise would be off limits given restrictions of a carrier ROM. The back end of their system is still somewhat akin to the 'man behind the curtain' a la Wizard of Oz ;)..

What people are doing is sideloading some of the apps for Android after they've been removed from the marketplace. Nothing new here. Part of the fun of getting a device configured just how you like it.

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Detecting Tethering
by steve_b_17 / May 6, 2011 3:09 AM PDT

Thanks for the advice!
Steve

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