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  1.    #1  
    Wow, so much for being "open"... this just in from Josh (formerly engadget).

    Google plays ball with carriers to kill tethering apps, violates spirit of the ‘open access’ it bid $4.6B to protect | This is my next...


    Google plays ball with carriers to kill tethering apps, violates spirit of the ‘open access’ it bid $4.6B to protect

    It seems a few American carriers have started working with Google to disable access to tethering apps in the Android Market in recent weeks, ostensibly because they make it easier for users to circumvent the official tethering capabilities offered on many recent smartphones — capabilities that carry a plan surcharge. Sure, it’s a shame that they’re doing it, but from Verizon’s perspective, it’s all about protecting revenue — business as usual. It’s Google’s role in this soap opera that’s a cause for greater concern.

    You might remember that Google made a big splash a little over three years ago during the auction for the C Block 700MHz spectrum that Verizon now uses for its LTE network, intentionally driving up bidding past the $4.6 billion open access trigger without really having any intention to win it:

    “Google’s top priority heading into the auction was to make sure that bidding on the so-called ‘C Block’ reached the $4.6 billion reserve price that would trigger the important ‘open applications’ and ‘open handsets’ license conditions.”

    Makes you wonder what it is about selectively blocking software by carrier request that would constitute “open applications,” doesn’t it?

    Indeed, there’s some interesting talk originating on HowardForums today that — at least in the case of Verizon’s 4G phones — blocking the tethering apps could be in violation of those open access regulations that are now in effect. The verbiage in question comes in Section 27.20 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which reads:

    “Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network…”

    If you read further in, there are exceptions for hardware or software that would violate the network’s technical standards or be in violation with regulatory compliance, but nothing that would allow an operator to arbitrarily block tethering apps simply because they’re looking to monetize the capability. Here’s where it gets hairy, though: the FCC’s concerned about Verizon’s activity at the network level, not what’s going on in the Android Market. Verizon isn’t blocking PdaNet and related apps, per se — it’s merely making them harder to come across. If it were to disallow sideloading (the same way AT&T does), they might have a little more explaining to do… but as it stands, there’s nothing stopping you from grabbing the APK through some other means and giving it a whirl.

    Never mind the fact that Verizon seems to be to riding the rules of Block C open access right up to their hairy edge, though — what should really appall you here is the fact that Google’s playing right along. Even if carriers aren’t in violation of any law on the books with this move (and similar ones we’re likely to see down the road), it’s unclear what would possess Google to selectively block access to applications at a carrier’s whim after it put over $4.6 billion on the line simply to ensure that the 700MHz spectrum’s open access provisions went into effect. Heck, it even petitioned the FCC to block Verizon’s bidding back then when it had concerns over the company’s ultimate intentions!

    Ironically, Google isn’t in the underdog position anymore in mobile — so if it’s merely trying to win and maintain carrier favor here, that’s less necessary than ever. In the year 2011, can you picture Verizon threatening Google with a webOS-, iOS-, and Windows Phone-only lineup? I certainly can’t, especially when they’ve built an entire empire (very successfully, may I add) around the Droid brand.

    Allow me to leave you with a quote from Android boss Andy Rubin made nearly two years ago while vehemently denying that there was any Market rejection of a Skype app:

    “We also look forward to the day when consumers can access any application, including VoIP apps, from any device, on any network.”

    I couldn’t agree more, Andy.
  2.    #2  
  3. #3  
    Supposedly if you use a GSM Android, it's said that if you remove the SIM and download through wifi, you can get the "forbidden" apps. I did download PDAnet that way once on an AT&T phone.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  4. #4  
    No sympathy here. If you tether without paying for a tethering plan, you are in violation of the ToS you signed your name to saying that you would agree to abide by. Can't fault Google for helping to crack down on violators. All the business about going against the spirit of "open access" makes for good copy but is a load of hot air.
    Touchscreens are a fad.
  5. #5  
    Data is data and tethering charges are a rip off, plain and simple.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Syndil View Post
    No sympathy here. If you tether without paying for a tethering plan, you are in violation of the ToS you signed your name to saying that you would agree to abide by. Can't fault Google for helping to crack down on violators. All the business about going against the spirit of "open access" makes for good copy but is a load of hot air.
    I can see your argument, but I have to agree with The Phone Diva: data is data. You should get charged the same for whatever data you use, regardless of how you used it. If they're concerned that people are tethering desktops/laptops and using a whole lot of data, then impose a cap or charge more for data. Charging separate for tethering is a ripoff. Yes, it's there in the ToS, but that doesn't mean you should just sit down and take it.
  7. #7  
    I love my Pre and freetether. So do my coworkers that beg me to turn it on everyday at work so they can listen to pandora on their droids.
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Mediademics View Post
    I love my Pre and freetether. So do my coworkers that beg me to turn it on everyday at work so they can listen to pandora on their droids.
    ?????????????

    Why do they need your hotspot for that? Don't they have data plans?
  9. #9  
    "Unlimited data except for the limits that are imposed on it's use....."
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Mediademics View Post
    I love my Pre and freetether. So do my coworkers that beg me to turn it on everyday at work so they can listen to pandora on their droids.
    If you said your co work wants to listen to pandora on their itouch, I would've believed you. But droids? They got data plan, well unless they got that cheap plan.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by rsanchez1 View Post
    I can see your argument, but I have to agree with The Phone Diva: data is data. You should get charged the same for whatever data you use, regardless of how you used it. If they're concerned that people are tethering desktops/laptops and using a whole lot of data, then impose a cap or charge more for data. Charging separate for tethering is a ripoff. Yes, it's there in the ToS, but that doesn't mean you should just sit down and take it.
    If you don't agree with the ToS, then don't sign your name to it, and take your business elsewhere. The carrier told you up-front that tethering data was not included with the unlimited data plan, but yet you agreed to this and bought the phone/contract anyway. Did you cross your fingers behind your back when you signed your name to the contract? Did that make it somehow OK to lie? Please, people.

    If you think tethering plans are a rip-off, that is your right. You have the right to disagree with the terms of service the carrier lays forth, up until the point you sign your name saying that you will agree to them. After that, if you break the ToS, you are breaking your word, and you are a liar. That's the harsh, ugly reality. If that's a tough pill to swallow, then don't break your word.
    Touchscreens are a fad.
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by rsanchez1 View Post
    I can see your argument, but I have to agree with The Phone Diva: data is data. You should get charged the same for whatever data you use, regardless of how you used it. If they're concerned that people are tethering desktops/laptops and using a whole lot of data, then impose a cap or charge more for data. Charging separate for tethering is a ripoff. Yes, it's there in the ToS, but that doesn't mean you should just sit down and take it.
    Tethering data is stealing just the same as pirating an app. I've done it as i'm sure many palm users have and so don't take my post as a lesson in morality or anything. We've always justified it though we knew the carrier wouldn't exactly agree with it.

    About that data part. These tier packages are designed with actual use in mind. Sure you've signed up for "unlimited" or that 2gb package. But they don't really expect you to use that much. And the majority don't. That's just marketing.

    But if you tether, you're LIKELY to use more data and that throws off their actual use rates/tier structure. This is why AT&T charges an additional 20 a month for tethering.

    In other words, you think you're buying a 2gb chunk of data each month and you should be able to do what you want with it. AT&T, on the other hand, already knows you're likely to use much less than that and depends on it (they would charge more if you actually used more). Letting you tether for free would increase actual data use and they don't want that. The fact the data plan says 2GB is just marketing to them. They don't plan on you actually coming close to using 2 GB and the majority don't. The 10/gb for going over just covers the small fringe part who use much more.

    It's also a revenue stream for carriers. Networks don't want ipad apps to be able to stream because they think there is additional value in that. Some of the cable companies are discovering this with networks demanding they stop. Same thing with music companies that want more revenue for cloud storage. If you try to get around these revenue streams, in their eyes, you're stealing.

    In a perfect world, i'd rather things be more transparent. If i'm paying for cable, give me the right to view it on whatever screen i own. If I'm paying for a 2GB plan, then give me access to it on whatever device i own and use.
    Last edited by cardfan; 05/04/2011 at 08:34 AM.
  13. #13  
    three words: Side Load App.
  14. #14  
    Only phone that allow free tethering is Verizon Pre Plus and Pixie Plus, right? Everything else is illegal, I am assuming. Until my Verizon catch my tethering on my iphone, I am going to enjoy it as much as I can.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by Brain Mantis View Post
    three words: Side Load App.
    is that working for you, a few of my co workers tried it and didnt work. One has a Droid 2 VZ, and another has a nexus S using Tmo? If so is there anything you did different to get it to work so i can tell them.

    On the OP topic, I think it is a rip off and needs to be free when you sign up for data period. Cell phone companies are already ripping people off with the amount they charge us a month. So to me if the phones capable of tethering, it should be able to thats my 2cents.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by wellwellwell11 View Post
    is that working for you, a few of my co workers tried it and didnt work. One has a Droid 2 VZ, and another has a nexus S using Tmo? If so is there anything you did different to get it to work so i can tell them.

    On the OP topic, I think it is a rip off and needs to be free when you sign up for data period. Cell phone companies are already ripping people off with the amount they charge us a month. So to me if the phones capable of tethering, it should be able to thats my 2cents.
    Well my ROM i'm using has tethering built in so i'm covered...but i would assume the app should work on a rooted device for wifi hotspot and a normal device with PDANet.
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by Brain Mantis View Post
    Well my ROM i'm using has tethering built in so i'm covered...but i would assume the app should work on a rooted device for wifi hotspot and a normal device with PDANet.
    oh ok, so do you think if they flashed one of these custom roms they also will be ok? If not I told em to ask at XDA, because im pretty sure they have a work around.
  18. #18  
    One good thing is AT&T now gives an extra 2GB for tethering, thanks to Verizon. This is why competition is good. Because before then you could only use your paltry 2GB for tethering but pay $20 more. That was a worse rip off.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardfan View Post
    Tethering data is stealing just the same as pirating an app. I've done it as i'm sure many palm users have and so don't take my post as a lesson in morality or anything. We've always justified it though we knew the carrier wouldn't exactly agree with it.

    About that data part. These tier packages are designed with actual use in mind. Sure you've signed up for "unlimited" or that 2gb package. But they don't really expect you to use that much. And the majority don't. That's just marketing.

    But if you tether, you're LIKELY to use more data and that throws off their actual use rates/tier structure. This is why AT&T charges an additional 20 a month for tethering.

    In other words, you think you're buying a 2gb chunk of data each month and you should be able to do what you want with it. AT&T, on the other hand, already knows you're likely to use much less than that and depends on it (they would charge more if you actually used more). Letting you tether for free would increase actual data use and they don't want that. The fact the data plan says 2GB is just marketing to them. They don't plan on you actually coming close to using 2 GB and the majority don't. The 10/gb for going over just covers the small fringe part who use much more.

    It's also a revenue stream for carriers. Networks don't want ipad apps to be able to stream because they think there is additional value in that. Some of the cable companies are discovering this with networks demanding they stop. Same thing with music companies that want more revenue for cloud storage. If you try to get around these revenue streams, in their eyes, you're stealing.

    In a perfect world, i'd rather things be more transparent. If i'm paying for cable, give me the right to view it on whatever screen i own. If I'm paying for a 2GB plan, then give me access to it on whatever device i own and use.
    And yet, in the real world we and the carriers know that's completely untrue and has been since the advent of streaming media services and now cloud storage services.

    Carriers trying to charge for tether is an outdated concept dating back to when cellular data service first was deployed. The carriers offered tethering plans that provided software and enabling of tetherable devices, they offered an extra service. Now they don't offer an extra service, with the exception of AT&T and their extra 2GB of data, for that tethering fee. Plus they still spell out certain limitations on what that data can be used for when tethered.

    The carriers are attempting to preserve a pure profit revenue stream, that's all they're doing.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by wellwellwell11 View Post
    oh ok, so do you think if they flashed one of these custom roms they also will be ok? If not I told em to ask at XDA, because im pretty sure they have a work around.
    They shouldn't need a custom ROM just to get tethering. Sideloading a tethering app should work fine. They may need to root for that to be possible though.
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