RUMOR: HTC Thunderbolt Comes With Free 4G Hot Spot Feature [UPDATED]

Verizon Android phones already come with a Hot Spot feature that essentially turns their device into a Wi-Fi modem, allowing you to connect up to 5 devices and snag an internet connection. In terms of the HTC Thunderbolt we’ve seen mixed opinions on the web: first we heard the Thunderbolt will NOT support Mobile Hotspot at launch, then we heard the Thunderbolt IS Hotspot capable, then there were rumors of delays, and you won’t believe what we’re hearing now…

One of our trusted sources has chimed in saying not only will the HTC Thunderbolt come with a Mobile Hotspot feature… it will be 4G and it will be FREE! That might sound too good to be true, but don’t forget that about this time last yeatr, Verizon started offering the Palm Pre with free Mobile Hotspot so it isn’t an off-the-wall suggestion. In case you’re still in a daze: Thunderbolt. 4G Hotspot. $0. The only snag here is that it will likely be a limited time offer and “Free” might only apply to a month, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for longer. Or permanent.

We’re also hearing that February 14th launch date will indeed be delayed with Skype being the culprit. We don’t have details on why, but perhaps they’re upping the ante and allowing Skype over 4G instead of just Wi-Fi? Doubtful as Verizon would likely forego a lot of voice plan dollars. Maybe they’ve got to tweak the app to ensure simultaneous voice-and-data are reliable and consistent when using Skype? More likely. Or maybe Skype just wasn’t ready.

The new target date range is supposedly, as the little birdie tells us, between February 17th and 24th. Not too long to wait and part of me wonders if strategic planning around the iPhone launch came into play at all?

The iPhone issue could be a core issue here- how many iPhone users will be pissed when their shiny new device doesn’t have the awesome and free 4G Hotspot feature and that it offers simultaneous voice and data over 3G? Perhaps this is a way to maximize iPhone sales before unleashing an Android with even greater capabilities. Verizon could be swinging the pendulum with strategic craftsmanship.

Keep in mind these are only rumors, but they’re also from people we trust, so we’ve got a good feeling they’ll end up being shown off in Official Verizon ink. I’ll update this post with any interesting details, or if they’re juicy enough (ex: screenshots) you’ll likely catch a new post in our feed.

UPDATE: We’re now hearing the Thunderbolt will support 8 devices connected to its Hotspot as opposed to the current Verizon default of 5

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  • jmo76

    A couple of things. The reason Verizon was giving away the mobile hotspot for free on the Palm devices was to help them sell as they were not moving any inventory. While it’s possible they could do this on the Tbolt, I doubt Verizon would forgo the monthly fee for the hotspot as this device should sell well.

    As far as having Skype over 4G, that was always the intention. In most of the vids out of CES it was stated you could use Skype on 4G or if you were out of 4G service, you could use wifi as a fallback.

  • larry

    Maybe Hotspot is free, but a 4G data plan will be higher than 29.99?

  • Mitchell

    @2 Verizon confirmed data prices wont change.

  • Marco

    I thought I made my decision because the Atrix 4G was pushed back to a March 6th release. I preordered at BB my TB but if they delay it to end of March I consider the Atrix again. Interesting that BB still insists that the TB comes out on Monday the 14th…..what a mess…

  • Adam

    I was thinking that they may offer the same plans $50/5GB and $80/10GB that they offer for the USB Dongles as well as the Galaxy Tab. That way, it doesn’t matter where you use the data – phone, hotspot – you have 5/10 GB to use. When you go over, you incur overage fees.

  • Steven58

    wwwwwwwwwwwwwwOW!!!!!!

    More incentive to dump my Locked bootloader DX.

  • DJ

    I am calling BS, and I hope I am proven wrong. BUT, even if by some miracle this turns out to be true AND Verizon is going to give away a free LTE tether, it should be noted and kept in mind that just last week, vzw stated that they will throttle heavy users. Still pretty cool – if true

  • mick

    Ridiculous.
    I buy a phone with the ability baked in. I pay for a data plan for the phone. I should not have to pay to use the data plan I already pay for.

  • terrence

    We all have a free wifi tethering option…this is news because?

  • No iPhoney

    You can already do it for free on the X without rooting, without a tether app. Just turn 3G hotspot on, go into settings and toggle data off, wait ten seconds, turn it back on, and you have free hotspot.

  • jake

    I don’t give a shit about tethers or skype or anything, I just want my goddamn phone!

  • NCX

    And on the Droid Incredible and EVO thanks to the EPST hack by removing the “dun” from “yournumber@dun3g.vzw” or whatever the address was :P it even lets you use the official app that comes pre-loaded on the phone.

  • CT

    I was in Verizon corporate store Sunday and asked about the thunderbolt. I asked specifically if the 4G plan was going to cost more – NO was the answer I got. They told me it was unlimited and no extra monthly charges than the 3G I currently have on my droid. That sounded great to me, I hope it is true. They would not give me a solid date it would be available though. They did tell me that it was an awesome phone that they just got done doing hands on training with.

  • Austin

    Post #1 is right – this phone was always supposed to be Skype “able” over 4G.

    My local Verizon store tells me that they don’t plan to change the data plan cost for 4G.

    Why delay the phone’s launch for one feature not working? Gimme my phone and fix Skype in March!

  • durangojim

    The app is free, the service is not.

  • frjoles

    Just to clarify … rumors are that the hotspot capability will be available on 4g OR on 3g, if you aren’t in a 4g zone? And with either network, we’ll be able to simultaneously yak on the phone and check email?

  • Picodroid

    As a VZW employee with no direct information on this, I’m going with my personal knowledge and say you’re out of your mind if you think 4G hotspot would be free. It makes no logical sense to offer so much free data on the 4G network. It’s not being greedy, it just makes sense.
    As for the 8 connections, this has been known since the accouncement at CES.

    Also, it was only free on the Palms due to an agreement we had to help promote sales due to the success of Android over-shadowing Palm’s newly launched Pixi and Pre.

    I’m losing a good amount of faith in Phandroid, almost so much that I may stop coming here. The (mis)information presented is often based on insane hearsay and horribly formulated opinions by staff. It’s almost as if they’ve got no grasp on the tech world in general and frequently come across as the guy who stands on the sidewalk screaming “the world is going to end!” while spouting out ridiculous claims.

  • Fletch

    @Picodroid, tell your VZW counterparts that MotoBlur sucks goat balls and stop locking down the bootloaders.

  • Brandon

    Its funny how everyone thinks they know what they are talking about here. Verizon hasn’t even told it’s employees yet the cost, release date, or much of anything about the phone except the specs. So how does some nerd sitting in his moms basement know. Oh that’s right he doesn’t just doesn’t have anything better to do.

  • formerflextech

    @fletch

    Talk to motorola they lock the bootloader

    @pico

    Spot on

  • DJ

    @ #17 Fletch; Well said sir. The locked bootloader is a major issue with me. Hell, they can flood it with motoblur if they just unlock the bootloader and let me do what I want with my $500-$600 device. You know, they ones we pay for. Things such as having the ability to upgrade when the devs cook up a ROM which is usually only a few days for a nightly build to a few weeks – not months, for a good stable, fully functional ROM as opposed to months from the huge intellectualy resource-rich companies.
    @ #16 Picodroid; I agree 100%. That is EXACTLY what I thought and called BS on; there is NO WAY in hell I see Big Red giving away LTE hotspots. As most mentioned, it doesn’t matter since a lot of posters in this forum root and ROM. Why would they include a 3G hotspot app on the D2 for $20/month, then give away LTE tethering for free?! The same company who puts a crappy City ID app (trial) preloaded, charges $3 or $4/ month for visual voicemail? I just don’t see them giving away free tethering (without making people work for via rooting) My highest hope for the Droid 3 is almost vanilla android like on the OG, and the basic unbrickability. But, I think those days are gone with Moto, unfortunately. An unlocked Droid Bionic would be pretty cool. *sigh* I’m up for a discounted renewal and now I’m playing the waiting game.

  • RR

    Looks like all this site lives on is rumours.

    So blatant that the title itself declares it a rumour.

    Could be, may be, can it be that, it was overheard that..these seem like the only way to being an article in this site.

    I will stop visiting this site from now on for wasting time.

    There are so many better sites which give proper concrete contents. So nice to read and actually enjoy.

  • Cree

    I believe there is validity to this rumors because of two reasons.

    #1. With the iPhone being officially released tomorrow, mobile hotspot is already a premium item that iPhone users are willing to pay. Also this will help increase the sales for their first 4G device.

    #2. 4G service is very spotty in most areas now. There is no need to charge a customer that can not receive the service within certain areas/regions. Thus it makes sense to give it away for at least 30-90 days as a trial period.

    So these are my reasons why 4G Mobile Hotspot will be free for first time 4 G LTE owners.

    Cree