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Thunderbolt update nixes unlimited mobile hot spots

The latest update to the HTC Thunderbolt certainly address some serious issues, but it reminds users of Verizon's new data plans.

New software update for HTC Thunderbolt removes unlimited mobile hot-spot capabilities. Verizon

The software update being made available to the HTC Thunderbolt this week may be just the latest reminder that carriers not only giveth, but also taketh way.

Hidden behind all of the benefits, bug fixes, and improvements, Verizon has quietly removed the unlimited and free access to the embedded hot-spot functionality, according to DSL Reports. In other words, instead of being able to use the feature as they wish, Thunderbolt users now will have to contact Verizon to activate the hot spot and add the corresponding service plan.

While that's not a huge shock given Verizon's new monthly charges for using the hot-spot feature, it's just another sign of the new data regime at Big Red. Verizon even foreshadowed the change last month in a statement posted by Droid Life in which it warned that the free hot-spot promotion would end July 6 (the day before the carrier subsequently ended its unlimited data plans).

"On July 6, 2011 a software update will remove the Mobile Hotspot offer," the carrier said. "A message will be sent to the end user to contact their system administrator to subscribe to Mobile Hotspot."

Indeed, early owners of Thunderbolt, the Samsung Droid Charge, and the LG Revolution were pleased to have found unlimited Mobile Hotspot and Mobile Broadband Connect, which some attributed to a glitch in the system. With the promotion, however, it appears that Verizon was just buttering people up with a feature they would later go on to charge them for.

So surely you didn't really expect to tether that really fast 4G connection for free, did you? While you were getting used to streaming Netflix, HD YouTube videos, and Hulu Plus, Verizon was getting ready to reach into your wallet.