PDANet 3.0 Adds Feature to Help Mask Tethering Use, But Verizon Users May Be Out of Luck

The folks behind PDANET have released version 3.0 of their application, and although they didn’t include a changelog on the Android market listing they did tweet what the update brought – the ability to hide your unauthorized tether usage from your carrier. It’s a proactive move from them in light of recent carrier movements to help stop unauthorized tethering so that they may charge you for that right.

AT&T first warned iPhone users about their “illegal” actions and we feared they might catch on to Android users next. While we don’t foresee that happening any time soon, JuneFabrics isn’t going to wait for carriers to take action before they do. Version 3.0 brings a masking feature which supposedly blocks your carrier from seeing your usage.

We’re not sure what they’re doing to achieve this and we’re not sure if carriers can work around their method to make it useless. The developers say that most users shouldn’t even need this, but do enable the option if you start receiving letters or text messages from your carrier.

One Verizon user has claimed that the carrier is somehow causing these applications to fail by disabling and reenabling USB debugging every five minutes on Froyo devices, but I have not had the opportunity to check this claim at the time of this writing. (And this is the only report I’ve heard claiming as much.)

I can confirm that this issue is not isolated to Verizon, though, and may actually just be a bug in the phone or application itself. Our tipster stated he didn’t start having the issue until he upgraded to Android 2.2, but users on the Android market are reporting that the latest update to the application causes the same – it’s highly unlikely that they’re Verizon users unless they commented from the web version of Android market. (Even then, there’s no way they could pin the problem on the update since they’d be unable to update in the first place.) We’ve contacted JuneFabrics for comment.

Whether or not they’re doing it, Verizon has already shown their cards when it comes to tethering – they don’t like it and they will do everything in their power to keep it from happening. They’ve gone as far as blocking their users from being able to see popular tether applications in the Android market such as EasyTether and PDANet. This doesn’t stop those users from installing the tether applications, though, as they can be had in places other than the Android market.

For the time being, PDANet 3.0 is only available for Windows desktops, but a Mac version is expected to follow it shortly. [Thanks Stan!]

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  • http://twitter.com/spmoana SPM Oana

    http://goo.gl/s71N6
    Great to play Solitaire Challenge.

  • Whap

    Just curious…can’t you just go to the web market and send the app to your phone, or did nelson block that too…..not that it effects me in anyway…

    • Jeff432

      4shared.com

  • Whap

    Verizon….lol

  • gohaus

    If Verizon did that sort of stuff it makes me happier to not be with them.

  • lordmerovingian

    Tired of the cat and mouse game with Android in general. Sold my Epic and went back to my golden oldie trusty Treo Pro. Battery lasts more than a day, wmwifirouter is a synch. Oddly enough i’ve adjusted back quite well. I must be mad i guess, but i’m just fine with it.

  • Keithmcelhinney

    Sorry to say this guys but I don’t want everybody to be able to tether their computer to their phone. People complain that the network is slow but at the same time are tethering their computer, watching videos and downloading everything they can. If you are going to do this you should pay more.

    • DannyB2

      Quick Tethering Quiz.

      Which costs AT&T more and which puts more stress on their network:
      1. A 1 kilobyte packet transmitted between my phone and the tower.
      2. A 1 kilobyte packet transmitted between my phone and the tower.
      (Please note in the case of (1) the packet was from my mobile browser, and in the case of (2) the packet was from my laptop browser.)

      If I have a 2 GB monthly data limit, which of the following activities will use more data on the network:
      1. Downloading 2 GB of data to my mobile phone?
      2. Downloading 2 GB of data to my laptop?

      • Me

        A pound of feathers.

        • DannyB2

          I thought it was a *ton* of feathers.

          I have an interesting situation. My water utility sells me metered water for washing dishes, watering the lawn, showering, and other limited purposes.

          The utility offers a Tasting plan for an additional monthly charge. Under this plan, I am allowed to use the water also for cooking and drinking. (Even though my water use is metered, and each gallon of water for cooking and drinking is delivered by the same pipes!)

          Dear customer: our records indicate that you have been using water for cooking and/or drinking. Please upgrade your water rater plan to our convenient Tasting plan that allows for this usage. If you continue to use water for cooking and drinking, you will be signed up for the Tasting plan automatically.

          I think the Tasting plan is just a fee that they made up. It isn’t a service they provide. They just want more money from me. I’ve got a workaround of using a container to obtain water from another room for the purposes of cooking and drinking.

          Some people shout: Theft of service!
          But what service? They’re already delivering water to me, and metering it, and I’m paying for it, and its delivered by the same pipes!

          Some people shout: but you signed an agreement and using the water for cooking and drinking is a breach of that agreement!
          Ask a lawyer about the term “unconscionable contract”.
          Nobody in their right mind would agree to this if they had any actual choice in the matter. Just because they have the power and can force you into paying this ridiculous fee or doing without doesn’t make it right.

          I say that this Tasting “service” is no service at all, it’s just a fee for delivering nothing at all extra to me. It’s a case of the utility wanting something for nothing. Yet people seem to think it is somehow wrong to use the water I’m paying for for drinking or cooking unless I sign up for the more expensive Tasting plan.

          In order to add legitimacy to their Tasting plan, the water company says that the Tasting plan is actually delivering something: it includes an additional 2 Gigabytes of water per month, giving you 4 total Gigabytes of water.

          But what if I only need 2 Gigabytes of water and therefore my existing monthly 2 Gigabyte plan is plenty? The water company already charges $10 per extra Gigabyte of water I use over the limit. So if I used excess water, it’s not like they wouldn’t get paid.

          Furthermore, once I sign up for the Tasting plan, they don’t make any distinction between water used for drinking/cooking and water used for other purposes. I could use 3/4 of it for tasting, and 1/4 for bathing/dishwashing. Or any other split. Or all of it purely for tasting. So then if I paid for Tasting and used only 2 Gigabytes of water, which I already had paid for, then why did I need the Tasting plan?

          I seem to be very confused about stealing water for tasting. Someone please set me straight.

          • Tarman

            That sums it up perfectly!!

          • Alexander

            WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR THIS “TASTING PLAN”?!?!?!?!?!!?!

          • youareme7

            Fantastic analogy that spotlights the ridiculousness of “tethering” as “service”. Bravo. The carrier’s business with my devices ends at the entrance of the modem. What I do with my data after that is my business.

          • Nlsme

            Only differance is, he is talking about LIMITED plans. A carrier that offers UNLIMITED MOBILE DATA< can say KEEP IT MOBILE.

          • Andy Lovell

            Do you use more data once you start “tasting”, that is part of the issue. That said, I would prefer to have free tethering/tasting.

      • Aztec

        Wow you made it obvious to me why the carriers are getting upset… lol
        nice one
        I tether but i don’t do it that much
        Think it is stupid for charging us more for the same data…

      • Keithmcelhinney

        But you have a limit. For Verizon you technically don’t. So which uses more data:

        1. Downloading 2GB or data to my phone
        2. Downloading 2GB to my laptop
        3. Downloading 2GB to my phone and 2GB to my laptop.

        You can’t say that you would not use more data (given unlimited) when you use it both from your phone and your computer. You are assuming you would do exactly the same thing no matter whether you are on your computer or phone. Most people would not spend 4 hours surfing the web on their phone but would on their laptop.

        -Keith

        • http://techdomino.com/ Lucian Armasu

          They shouldn’t use misleading marketing terms such as “unlimited data” if they don’t actually want you to use more than 2 GB of data.

          • Nlsme

            They dont care how much mobile data you use, they just dont want you to replace your home internet.

  • Jeff432

    We need to get rid of the tethering fees, and have us pay based on how much data we use.

    Also, it’s easier to just root your phone and use wireless tether.

    • Chahk Noir

      Unless you are “grandfathered” into the now-defunct “unlimited” plans, all of the carriers already have tiered data.

      I say “unlimited” in quotes because they still throttle your connection if you go over some arbitrary but yet unknown number (2 gigs.)

      • anonymous

        uh no. Sprint, tmo, and verizon still have unlimited plans. Verizon is about to switch to tiered plans but they haven’t yet. Att is the only carrier of the big 4 that have gone to tiered data plans only.

        • v8dreaming

          T-Mobile throttles after 2 or 5 gigs of data depending on what plan you are on, Verizon throttles after 5 gigs, supposedly.

          Sprint is the only carrier that does not throttle.

          • Nlsme

            Verizon does not throttle after five gigs. They say they maintain the right to throttle the top 5% of users. I have hit over 20 gigs, never a hiccup.

    • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randroid

      Should we pay based on usage on our computer connections? Because if we pay based on usage on our phones, there is nothing stopping them from doing it with your hard wired connection.

      Unlimited data is how it should be, and unlimited means no matter how you want to use that data. If I want to use my unlimited data to connect 5 devices, and download 20GB per device… then I should be able to do that.

      I don’t tether, nor do I use anywhere NEAR 20 GB of data, but it’s the principle of the thing. If I wanted to, I should be able to.

      I pay for a phone, I should be able to root it, install a custom ROM (OS) – I can do whatever I want with it. It’s my phone. Not Motorola’s, not Verizon’s…. mine.

      In the same category – I pay for data, I should be able to use that data however I see fit. My plan is advertised as unlimited. Not “unlimited, then throttled after you use 2GB/5GB”, not “unlimited for 1 device”, not “unlimited until we don’t agree with what you are downloading/uploading” – UNLIMITED.

  • Tarman

    I’m on big red and had no problems. Running a D2 global and was tethered for 40 minutes without any disconnects. I’ll post again if I ever get any text messages from them.

    @Keithmcelhinney: I’ve been paying the $29.99/unlimited data for a few years now. What does matter if I stream video on my phone or tether to my laptop? My oldest son uses about 14GB of data a month on his phone and DOESN’T tether. I use around 500MB and do tether.

    Tethering great when you need to grab a new firmware for a swtich/router or get a large document from corporate mail when you’re in the field and don’t have internet available. Why should people have to pay more? Silly to download to the phone and then transfer over to the computer.

  • ae

    As I have not updated the PDANet, I can tell you that my Droid does lock up for no reason. Have had to shut it down and relaunch since the last update I did from over the air. No, I am not jailbroken either. thank you for the update that others have experienced the same. Very annoying. Could not even go out on the browser the other day… just locked up the phone. rrrrrrr.

  • videospy

    It appears that verizon is blocking pdanet on the market now

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513511066 Travis Michael Carr

      Well, that’s the funny part… They appear to be blocking the search of it, but if the developer has another app, unrelated to tethering, you can can goto that app, click on “view other apps” and the tethering app will be displayed with the results.

      I dont know of any apps that PDANet makes othe than their tethering app, but I have done this with Barnacle Wifi Tether. Search for barnacle, click on the “wifi widget app” and then click on view other apps, in the developer section at the bottom.

      It will happily show you Barnacle Wifi Tether!

    • Andy

      Root and use market enabler

  • Joshua

    Lord merovian, what does this have to do with Android?

  • Alexander

    Like someone mentioned in a previous article, this whole issue is practically identical to what happened with home internet where the provider wanted you to pay a fee for every computer that was going to be using the same connection. That scenario quickly went the way of the Dodo. It’s taken longer for it to happen with wireless carriers, but that could be due to the fact that tethering wasn’t all that great until recent years. I remember tethering back in 2001 being limited to 1X connection and it didn’t improve until around 2005 or so.

    I rarely tether, unless I have some specific reason that I need to, but when I do, I’m not gonna call up vzw and tell them that I wish to pay them more money to route a few megs of data, that I’m already paying for, to a laptop.

  • Frank

    Kinda funny…im viewing this website right now using wireless tether on my home computer. That’s how I roll!

    • gej

      they took it off the market.I downloaded the update to my laptop
      and it installed 3.0 I am running it right now to see if it cuts off in 5minutes.It has been running 25 minutes no problem.I just had to down load it from june fabrics site

  • Spikedred

    Lately it seems as if your news has been garnered from other sites of information which, you don’t give credit to. This news has been several days old. As the SNL skit goes, “WHAT’S UP WITH DAT?”

    • Frank

      I love that skit! :D

  • Matt

    App has no changelog. Booo

  • Robert Manser

    Verizon hasn’t done anything like that i always use it and never had a problem. So whoever said that is just bullshitting so they van say oh look they posted my tip. SO IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LIGAMENT TIP DON’T SEND ONE AT ALL YOU JUST MAKE YOURSELF LOOK LIKE AN ASS.

  • Brad

    I don’t know why this hasn’t been publicized yet, but us Fascinate owners have known for quite some time that the OEM Froyo roms (even the early leaked versions) contain a wireless tether monitoring module that either reports usage to Verizon or prevents tethering from working at all. Of course, a dummy tethering module has been inserted into custom kernels that are available, allowing tethering to continue working as expected.

    What bugs me is that I do need to tether occasionally, but only once in a great while. I’m certainly not going to pay some ridiculously overpriced monthly subscription fee for something I may use once every few months or so. And I still maintain that it should be illegal for Verizon to charge for a tethering as if it was a service they offer. The service is provided by your handset, not Verizon’s network. Charging for tethering, a feature of a device you’ve already purchased, is like a car manufacturer charging you to use the CD player in your car.

    • Nlsme

      Except it isnt a feature that is built in. Unless of course, if you have a nexus. Otherwise, you have to root, and download a third party app.

      • RF

        Then its like the manufacturer charging a monthly fee for use of the speakers and antenna due to you installing and using a radio/CD player after purchase.

  • Andylovell

    I’d guess many users of tethering are rooted, therefore they can use market enabler and see these apps regardless of their carrier blocking them or not.

  • ultimate inc

    Im up to 20G this month and haven’t been throttled
    Gingerbread stock tethering on Ultimate Droid ftw :)))

    • Frank

      Who’s your provider? Thats freaking awesome!

  • Commie

    blah blah blah I want more free crap even though I signed a contract that says otherwise…. blah blah blah. Deal with it.

  • Jake

    Simple workaround for root users. download MarketEnabler from market

    https://market.android.com/details?id=ch.racic.android.marketenabler&feature=search_result

    Set carrier as Rogers and install pdanet. Then switch back to your normal carrier that has the app blocked.