One of the main advantages of rooting an Android smartphone is the ability to tether a computer or tablet to a phone for free. Whether a user has 2GB, 5GB or unlimited data each month, Android developer Koushik Dutta believes a user should be able to use that data any way he or she pleases. Koush is the popular coder behind ClockworkMod Recovery and ROM Manager, two programs that help load a custom ROM onto a rooted device. The developer has now released ClockworkMod Tether, an application that allows an Android device to tether to a Mac, Linux, or Windows computer without the need for root access. This method should work with any carrier and phone, and it cannot be blocked or detected by carriers, Koush claims. The app is currently in an alpha stage of testing and will stop working on January 7th, but a new version will be released before the current build expires. More →
Verizon Wireless is seemingly following AT&T’s lead and taking action against subscribers who make use of unauthorized tethering apps. ReadWriteWeb reports that one of its writers was using a “jailbroken tethered Verizon Motorola X” with an unauthorized third-party app, rather than paying for Verizon Wireless’ mobile hotspot solution as its contract terms require. According to the report, the writer was blocked from accessing webpages on devices tethered to her DROID X on Friday, and was instead redirected to a Verizon Wireless page outlining rates for authorized mobile hotspot usage. Last week, AT&T confirmed to BGR that it would soon begin to revoke unlimited smartphone data plans from users who used third-party apps to share their smartphone’s data connection with other devices. Verizon seems to have taken a slightly less abrasive approach, though the outcome is the same: carriers want customers to stop abusing their congested data networks, and AT&T and Verizon are apparently done asking politely. More →
AT&T confirmed to BGR that it will soon begin revoking unlimited data plans from jailbroken iPhone users and other smartphone users who utilize unauthorized tethering and mobile hotspot solutions. Following reports from earlier this year, AT&T on Thursday confirmed that it will remove grandfathered unlimited data plans from accounts belonging to users who tether or use unsanctioned mobile hotspot apps without a tethering plan, which is expressly prohibited by AT&T according to its terms and conditions. “Earlier this year, we began sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on our required tethering plan. Our goal here is fairness for all of our customers,” an AT&T spokesperson told BGR via email. The letter outlines three choices for customers who had been making use of unauthorized tethering solutions, one of which is “Do nothing and we’ll go ahead and add the tethering plan on their behalf — after the dated noted in their customer notification.” According to earlier reports, offending users will automatically be bumped to AT&T’s more recent tiered data plan, which affords 2GB of smartphone data and 2GB of tethering data for $45 each month compared to AT&T’s old unlimited smartphone data plan, which costs $30 each month but does not include tethering. A new report from 9to5 Mac claims that users will begin losing unlimited plans as soon as August 11th, but AT&T stated that the policy enforcement date varies depending on when the offending subscriber was sent the notification letter. AT&T’s full statement follows below.
T-Mobile and HTC have finally released the anticipated Android 2.2 (Froyo) update for the T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide. The update adds support for placing free calls over Wi-Fi networks in addition to a new low-storage notification, resolved Bluetooth compatibility issues, text messaging and picture messaging bug fixes, and improved overall reliability. The software will also add support for both USB tethering and mobile hotspot, which will allow users to share their 3G connections with other devices via Wi-Fi. You’ll need 25MB of storage space on your phone to get started, and unfortunately it’s only available to Windows users for now. Hit the jump for a download link and instructions on how to update. More →
AT&T has started to issue warnings to customers unofficially tethering their smartphones to its network. In an email to unauthorized tetherers, the company writes, “Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.” The correspondence goes on to note that users will be automatically enrolled in the $45 per month “DataPro for Smartphone Tethering” plan if they ignore the warning. “The new plan – whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you – will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan,” the email continues. The standard DataPro offering is $25 per month and provides users with 2GB of monthly data, although some users are still clinging to a discontinued, $30 per month 5GB data plan. It is safe to assume that a large portion of the unofficial, tethering populous is jailbroken iPhone users and rooted Android users. “If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required.” A copy of the email tethering-cheaters are receiving is after the break.
The update came a bit later than Apple intended due to an issue fixed by last night’s iTunes update, but the company just released iOS 4.3 for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV. BGR exclusively revealed the change log for iOS 4.3 in January, which detailed most of the changes users can look forward to in this update. The most notable addition is Apple’s new Personal Hotspot feature which is now available on GSM versions of the iPhone 4 in addition to Verizon’s CDMA iPhone. Another highly anticipated feature now available in iOS is AirPlay support for third-party apps. Of note, this update is compatible only with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, Apple TV and the third and fourth-generation iPod touch models. Earlier iPods do not have access to iOS 4.3, nor do the original iPhone or iPhone 3G.
One of our sources has just let us know something pretty interesting. There has been a lot of talk surrounding Apple’s personal hotspot feature, specifically it’s capability of only supporting 3 wireless connections (as opposed to 5 like many other devices). Well, we have been told it’s all left to the carrier to decide. If a carrier requests it, five devices will be supported, but by default, it’s three.
Oh, and we’ve also been told iOS 4.3 will be available for download publicly at 10AM PT today. Fire up iTunes and get your update trigger-finger ready!
Today, via a press release, AT&T announced one addition and one change to its smartphone data plan offerings. First, the addition. AT&T will now offer a mobile hotspot plan that will provide users with 4GB of monthly data to use via their handset or while connected to their handset as a hotspot. The plan will be available February 13th and will retail for $45 per month. Second, AT&T is revising the data allowance on its smartphone tethering offering. Previously, users could pay $20 per month for the ability to tether their smartphone to their computer; no additional data was provided for this fee, you simply shared your 2GB monthly allowance with your computer. Now, those who pony up the $20 will be given an additional 2GB of bandwidth (for a total of 4GB monthly) to play with. Not bad AT&T, not bad at all. Customers who are already enrolled in the tethering plan will receive a text message from AT&T around February 13th alerting them of their newly increased data pool. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Apple on Wednesday posted details on its website surrounding voice, data and messaging plans that will be offered with the upcoming Verizon Wireless iPhone 4. The company also posted a utility intended to check subscriber eligibility, though it did not appear to be functioning properly at the time of this writing. Apple’s website confirms earlier reports that Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 users will only have two data options at launch: unlimited data for $29.99 per month and unlimited data with 2GB of Personal Hotspot and tethering services for $49.99 per month. Other plan details line up with current Verizon Wireless smartphone plans, for the most part:
- 450 minutes/month: $39.99
- 900 minutes/month: $59.99
- Unlimited minutes/month: $69.99
- Pay per use: $0.20 per SMS, $0.25 per MMS
- 250 messages/month: $5
- 500 messages/month: $10
- Unlimited messaging: $20
- Unlimited data: $29.99
- Unlimited data with 2GB for Personal Hotspot and tethering: $49.99 ($20 per GB for overages)
The only difference between the iPhone voice and messaging plans compared to Verizon Wireless’ standard plans appears to be the $20 unlimited messaging option. With other smartphones, the $20 messaging option affords subscribers 5,000 messages per month, and the carrier charges $0.10 per message for overages.
UPDATE: The pages have been pulled from Apple’s website as of approximately 10:50AM. More →
Following reports that detail Verizon Wireless’ intentions with iPhone 4 data plans, a company spokesperson has also confirmed Personal Hotspot pricing. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told the press that there would be a $30 unlimited data plan available for iPhone 4 purchasers at launch. He also stated that the unlimited plan would only be available for a limited time, and that Verizon would then move to a tiered data plan structure similar to that of AT&T. But what about the much anticipated Personal Hotspot feature that will be ushered in by Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4? Like AT&T’s iPhone tethering plan, Verizon Wireless will charge $20 per month for the feature. Also like AT&T, Verizon will not afford tethering users unlimited data. Instead, the iPhone’s mobile hotspot feature will come with a separate 2GB bucket. While the limitation is a bit aggravating, it is seen as far more favorable than AT&T’s tethering solution, which pulls data from the same 2GB bucket as the standard iPhone data plan. Moreover, AT&T requires that subscribers with grandfathered unlimited data plans switch to the 2GB capped plan before tethering can be activated on an iPhone. More →
One of the biggest criticisms of RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook so far is the tablet’s need to be tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone in order to perform certain functions. Specifically, the PlayBook must be connected wirelessly to a BlackBerry smartphone in order to access PIM-related functions such as calendar, contacts and memos. The tablet also won’t be able to send or receive corporate email using its native email application without being tethered to a BlackBerry phone. “On its own, this is a great standalone tablet,” RIM’s senior product manager in charge of the PlayBook Ryan Bidan told Forbes in an interview. “This is not a device that is reliant on a BlackBerry.” Biden goes on to say that the PlayBook is a solid tablet “in its own right” and that it extends both the mobile and laptop experiences for users. Unfortunately, Biden fails to address critics’ complaints specifically, saying only that PIM functions indepenent of a tethered BlackBerry smartphone “will come as the platform evolves.” BGR went hands-on with the BlackBerry PlayBook in December and we previewed it on video again at CES earlier this month. More →
T-Mobile announced Friday the addition of several new plan features to its portfolio. First up, the addition of two promotional Even More plans that bring unlimited Web, unlimited texting and unlimited mobile to mobile calling in two different packages:
•Even More® Individual 1,500 Talk + Text + Web plan for $79.99/mo.
•Even More® Family Plan 3,000 Talk + Text + Web Plan for $149.99/mo.
The carrier also stamped a launch date on two previously announced new data features. Next week, T-Mobile’s new 200MB, $10 plan and its unlimited, $30 plan will go live. And for an additional $14.99 per month, customers can add T-Mobile’s new Tethering and Wi-Fi Sharing capability to compatible devices. This feature will allow users to utilize the mobile hotspot capabilities found on certain smartphones.
T-Mobile’s new Even More plans will become available nationwide on Sunday, November 14th, as will its new data plans and the Tethering and Wi-Fi Sharing feature. More →
According to a well connected Android enthusiast with a solid track record, Motorola’s DROID 2 is on the verge of a software update that will bring with it some solid new functionality. While no information is currently available along the lines of a release date for the new OS build, two attractive new features have been revealed. The first is the presence of DROID Pro-like device profiles, allowing the user to easily switch between multiple home screen configurations. The second major change is the presence of USB tethering in addition to wireless tethering. USB tethering allows users to connect to a laptop or desktop computer via USB, and then use their phone’s cellular data connection to connect to the Internet. For the time being, the only other tidbit we have about this forthcoming OS build is also a welcome one: it’s “wicked fast”.