FCC tells Verizon to stop blocking tethering apps

By , Jul 31, 2012

This is pretty interesting. Verizon has just reached a settlement with the FCC in their ongoing dispute regarding tethering apps. The carrier will pay out $1.25 million to the US Treasury, and will stop blocking the use of third-party tethering apps.

Unfortunately, the decision only applies to Verizon customers for the time being, as it comes as a stipulation in the carrier’s deal to purchase 700 MHz of wireless spectrum from Cox and other cable companies. FCC press release is after the break…

Via GigaOM

“Under the terms of today’s settlement, Verizon Wireless will make a voluntary payment to the Treasury in the amount of $1.25 million, and has committed to notifying the application store operator that it no longer objects to the availability of the tethering applications to C-Block network customers in the operator’s online market. Verizon Wireless has also agreed to implement a compliance plan, requiring that:

1. employees will receive training on compliance with the C Block rules.

2. future communications with application store operators regarding the availability of applications to Verizon Wireless customers will be reviewed in advance by legal counsel.

3. Verizon will report any instances of noncompliance with the rule at issue that might occur during the two-year term of the plan.

In addition, the company recently revised its service offerings such that consumers on usage-based pricing plans may tether, using any application, without paying an additional fee.”

This is great news for Verizon customers, who will not only be free to use their tethering apps of choice, but will also no longer be forced to pay the $20 tethering fee (unless they’re still on an unlimited plan).

This is also good news for other wireless customers, as it can’t be long before other US carriers are forced to follow suit.

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  • http://twitter.com/BouchardAnthony Anthony Bouchard

    Exciting :).

  • http://twitter.com/mauryftdany Mauricio Martínez

    @idownloadblog stop doing this bullshit that information won´t save oour lifes or get us excited

    • http://twitter.com/Heli12345 Heli12345

      You read this site why?

    • SimonOrJ

      This gets people excited, for talking out loud

    • himynameisBLiNK

      apparently Mauricio Martínez does not know how blogs work. unreal that people like this even exist anymore

  • Chris Cable

    I hope that AT&T is forced to follow because sometimes I don’t have Internet but I get decent 3G Service and would love to use PDANet or MyWi! Please keep us updated. Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.lynch.100 Stephen Lynch

      I have AT&T and I use PDANet pretty often. Havent gotten hit with any fees or anything yet. You should be safe.

      • Kok Hean

        PdaNet hides tethering activities.

      • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis

        Or so they say, they do not provide any technical reference. I’m still with MyWi. Got removed my unlimited plan once; used the first iPhone activation method to get it back.

      • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

        Thats because MyWi doesnt have a hide from carrier feature. And btw that app is way overpriced.

      • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis

        But I definitively got what I paid for, bluetooth tethering, sbsettings toggles and a high performance wpa2 administrated infrastructure made it worth it

      • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

        TetherMe is only $5 and has all of that because it enables the iPhone’s built in personal hotspot feature. So for $5 you get wifi, bluetooth, and usb tethering. A wpa2 password protected connection, and it hides tethering from carriers. Only difference is you have to get a separate sbsettings toggle which is free anyways. You basically payed 4 times more for a feature that already comes with the iPhone… ouch.

      • Kok Hean

        And it works for the iPad as well… Anyway, apps from Intelliborn are always priced this way.

  • seyss

    about time someone put an end to this extortion. tethering traffic is just like any one internet traffic.. Carriers are evil.. they just want a piece of the pie Apple baked

  • http://twitter.com/klouud Timothy Polumbo

    nice!

  • Marty Cunnane

    Does that mean that I can turn on tethering on my Verizon iPhone and not get charged

    • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

      Well you will get charged once you go past your limit. And if you have an unlimited data plan this doesn’t apply to it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

    Wow… Welcome to the 21st century, US! Carriers have way too much freedom there. Power is (should be) in the hands of consumers, not corporations.

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    Finally!!! I hope this spreads to AT&T – it has always seemed stupid to me that I had to pay for the premium plan to get the tethering access.

  • mplsdude

    I have AT&T and use MyWi to tether my iPad and occasionally laptop when traveling. How would AT&T (or any carrier) be able to tell if someone is using MyWi?

    • JaeM1llz

      Because MyWi is a 3rd party application, the data that is sent through the app has an application signature, it is extremely easy to detect. TetherMe on the other hand enables native tethering so there is no way to discern between the data being tethered and any other data that you would use through the phone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

        You can still get caught with TetherMe like a friend of mine did because they didn’t turn off the “Automatic” toggle in the TetherMe settings.

  • Daniel

    I’m on Rogers in Canada. Rogers has always allowed tethering for free, provided you have at least a 1GB data plan.

    • Daniel Levi

      thats pretty cool, i remember my expeirience with ROGERS in canada and its really good. but i’m on verizon now

  • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

    Well for all my fellow jailbroken iPhone users, I present to you this list of tethering apps to choose from:
    MyWi = $20, does not hide tethering usage, constantly being updated because of bugs brought up by those updates themselves.
    My rating: *

    PDAnet = $30 to unlock full version but free version is available, hide tethering usage by enabling “Hide Tether” toggle, requires program to be downloaded onto computer to enable use of USB tethering (lame), buggy with enabling and disabling of toggles, not the prettiest looking app in the bunch. (But works good enough as a free version).
    My rating: ***

    TetherMe = $5, hide tethering usage by disabling “Automatic” toggle under APN Selection, enables Apple’s built in Personal Hotspot feature so theres no clunky app to deal with (TetherMe settings can be accessed in the settings app), no extra complicated crap, once again only $5.
    My rating: *****

    Now you choose.

    • http://twitter.com/SpiderrMonkey Adonis

      I disabled automatic, but then there’s another option saying useDataAPN. do I turn that off too so that I’m hidden? (straight talk on 3GS )

      • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

        Leave it on. Unless you manually want to set the APN (if you know what that is).

  • http://twitter.com/Mrarkon Lady Mrarkon

    I’m praying that this goes the same for AT&T soon.

  • JaeM1llz

    Should be noted that this does not pertain to iPhone users. It says it is only for C-Block network customers and C-Block is 4G only so this only pertains to Android phones and other 4G capable phones. Also the ruling DOES NOT pertain to users with Unlimited data accounts, this is only for users on tiered data.

  • Boris

    verizon will still stick it to you even with the new FCC agreement. I just called and they will unblock my personal hotspot feature, but I will have to pay an extra $20/month. What they say is that my plan has the 2gb but to have the hotspot feature, I will have to pay for additional 2gb. There is no option of using the already included 2gb of my monthly plan. The other option is to change my plan to something called “shared” and that will include the hotspot, but will also cost an additional $20 of what I am monthly paying. They still win in this game with or without the FCC agreement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/this.girl.loves.the.80s Angelique J.

    I think paying a fine to the US Treasury is stupid – they should credit the accounts of the customers they ripped off!