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Verizon reportedly blocking tethering for jailbreakers

The carrier is apparently blocking unauthorized tethering on jailbroken devices without a data plan, according to one report in ReadWriteWeb.

Verizon is reportedly preventing jailbreakers from unauthorized tethering, at least according to one account at ReadWriteWeb.

The tech blogging site recently revealed that one of its own employees tried to use a jailbroken Motorola phone without a data plan to tether on Verizon's network. But instead of gaining access, the person was "blocked" by Verizon and redirected to a page describing the carrier's terms and conditions for using a mobile hot spot.

If accurate, this is a new development on the part of Verizon since the employee said she was able to use her jailbroken device as a hot spot two days earlier.

Verizon subscribers who want to use their smartphones or other mobile device as a wireless hot spot normally have to pay $20 a month for 2 gigabytes of data to tap into the company's Mobile Broadband Connect service. That price is on top of the monthly $29.99 or higher that the subscriber already pays for a data plan.

Verizon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

As ReadWriteWeb points out, Verizon's apparent move mimics a similar action on the part of AT&T. Following a series of warnings to unauthorized tetherers in March, AT&T will now automatically starting bumping up such users to a $45-per-month tethering plan, says Boy Genius Report.

Citing confirmation from AT&T, BGR said the company will offer unauthorized tetherers three choices: 1) Stop tethering and stick with your current plan; 2) Move up to the required plan; or 3) Do nothing, and AT&T will automatically upgrade your account to the necessary plan. The required plan would offer 2GB of smartphone data and 2GB of tethering data.

As a further attempt to thwart unauthorized tethering, some of the major carriers have been cracking down on mobile apps that let people turn their smartphones into modems without paying the hot spot fees.

In May, several free phone tethering apps typically found in Google's Android Market were suddenly no longer available for Android phones on AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA. A Google spokesman did confirm at the time that the company was making such apps unavailable at the request of certain carriers.

In June, consumer advocacy group Free Press argued to the FCC that the carriers shouldn't be allowed to block tethering apps as such an action "restricts consumer choice and hinders innovation."