T-Mobile and Google Don’t Play Nice, Hate to be Tethered


tether1It seems that the guys holding the ban stick over at Google’s Market HQ have exercised their firm back swing on applications that allow an Android device to be used as a tether, which gives other devices access to the internet through it. The first victim would be the Wifi Tether for Root Users. It seems that when you combine a pinch of the Developer Distribution Agreement and a dash of the T-Mobile Terms of Service what you have is a recipe that reserves the right to remove any application that allows for tethering.

According to the T-Mobile TOS:

“Your Data Plan is intended for Web browsing, messaging, and similar activities on your device and not on any other equipment. Unless explicitly permitted by your Data Plan, other uses, including for example, tethering your device to a personal computer or other hardware, are not permitted.”

It seems as if the G1 falls under the category of “no tether”.

With new Android powered phones brought to us through other carriers on the horizon, you have to wonder what Google’s response is going to be to applications, available in the future, that don’t agree with one carrier’s TOS but agree with that of others.

[via FalseDichotomies]

Tyler Miller


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  1. Does this also prevent tethering to a WiFi signal? If so, why?

  2. T-mobile in the UK allow tethering on the 3GB data plan but not the 1GB monthly usage plan. They also restrict the ports on the 1GB account but not the 3GB. As I understand these are both corporate plans, not standard commercially available one over the counter.

  3. I don’t think that’s very fair. T-Mobile may have that right for their mobile data network, but who’s to say we can’t use it on private or publicly available wifi networks? This is the kind of stuff that will hold Android-based phones on tmobile from truly shining: would-be converts from windows mobile or RIM OS would see a lot of that as a very big minus.

  4. I agree w/Quentyn K. Does this mean it’s just taken off the market, but people w/the app still installed can continue to use it to tether their devices? I never installed it so now I wish I had…

  5. Just another example of how severely limiting the structure of the Android Market is. Google really needs to step up and create some proper categories and groups so apps like this can be hidden for T-Mobile users but allowed for others. Right now the market is just a big unorganized mess.

  6. I don’t know why anyone is shocked by this. Every carrier I know (in the U.S. at least) forbids tethering in their TOS unless you pay and extra monthly fee. People who want to tether will just do what they have to do now, get the program from some other source and do it anyway. My guess is Google is paying lip service to T-Mobile to keep them happy knowing keeping the app off the Android Market really accomplishes nothing.

  7. @Jonno.N: From personal experience, I can say that I have this particular application installed and even though I cannot find it in the Market, it is still installed to my phone. While, I believe, Google reserves the right to actually remove a program that is installed to the phone (much like Apple does on the iPhone), they will more than likely only exercise that right if a program is deemed malicious in intent.

  8. The market clutter is a huge turnoff!!! I bought this phone for the open-source apps, all I see is homepage themes. I’m gonna give Cupcake a try (if it ever released O_o) and see what the devs can come up with… otherwise I will be packing my sd and sim cards and heading over to Apple.

    I’ve waited a year for the G1 to release, now over six months with it in my possession, I am truly disappointed. First the lack of a headphone jack, then the annoying glitches during the first two weeks, the native AIM app (and every other) sucks. The FaceBook app sucks. The Myspace app sucks (even though I don’t care for it). The battery life sucks (running 3G I go two hours before the battery indicator turns yellow). The App Market is a mess and hasn’t produced any must have apps. The YouTube graphics suck.

    The best thing about the G1 is the price, the physical keyboard, the push G-Mail, and the removable storage. HTC/Google could have done a way better job with the phone, especially after a whole year of hype.

    T-Mobile’s affordable rate plans are another plus, but overall the G1 is an ugly, awkward handset that fails to read my SD card when I’m trying to listen to music with through the ugly headphone adapter. Trying to remove the SD card is a hassle, as it often pops out and falls on the ground (of underneath my car seat, or on a crowded train O_o) and a microSD is hard to find on a busy New York City street.

    I know this is off-topic, but I needed to get this rant off of my chest. The G1 is officially on the clock. They have until the next iPhone release to get it together or I’m out!!!!!!!!!

  9. Jon, while I sympathize with your complaints, it sounds like you have a defective unit. If it’s not reading your SD card, there’s a problem with your phone. Considering the rest of your complaints, it’s not that hard to believe.

  10. t-mobile is makeing me madd
    i just want to get the Android just for the apps TOO !!

  11. @DAnny: They’re making you mothers against drunk driving? That would piss me off, too!


  12. I started doing my homework last night in anticipation of my contract being up in November with Verizon, but right now I don’t see any real compelling reason to switch carriers and phones. T Mo doesn’t really give much incentive to change with their heavy handed, IPhone like tactics.

  13. @Jon

    root your phone and then you’ll have some must have apps.
    also ah Jason has a point, i have no problems with my SD, your phone or your card is faulty i’d say.
    as for your other complaints, why did you get it if you thought it was so ugly? should have gone with something cooler so you can look cool right.. cause that’s what we all want out of our devices.. to look cool:D

  14. Removing the apps is pointless. If you have root, then that means you know where to get the app and how to install it.

    One thing removing the app does do, is prevent the noobs from wondering what the heck a tether is and call T-Mobile to get it.

  15. PDANet has a tethering app still, its not in the market but can load it offline, its beta and has some bugs bug works over wifi or 3g…


  16. No because wifi doesn’t use yuor service provider 3g, egprs, gprs does and they don’t want you tieing up the line basically is why they don’t want you teathering

  17. @Jason… this is my 3rd G1… all of that rage wasn’t unwarranted… i find ti hard to believe that all three of my handsets were defective… the first one would only last 1.5 hrs before dying… the second would freeze and power off/restart on its own for no reason… and this one has all the probs stated above… i think it’s just the handset… if i switch it again i will lose all of my apps, some of which have switched to paid only versions… i might just have to do that tho… thanx for ur advice

    @Mime… u seem to have taken personal offense to my comments… i never mentioned anything about trying to look cool… i bought the g1 for its potential, it hasn’t lived up to that potential after six months, but it’s still early… i use this site as an avenue to voice my opinions and critiques bcuz i refuse to have and pay for a sub-par phone when there are more knowledgeable/influential people that can bring about some change, or at least offer some advice…

    furthermore, i dont know how to root my phone, im a casual user and all the geek elitist crap won’t translate to mainstream success for the g1

  18. As stated before, PDA Net has a tethering app you can download aswell.

    But really, come on, unless you’re a power user, you really don’t need this… and if you want it… apps like PDA Net are available outside of the market. And, if you haven’t figured this out yet, then you probably aren’t a power user.

    Im not bashing. I’d love to have wifi on my lap top. Or 3G. But, the risks are too high. 1)the only apps available are 3rd party, so ur open to risks. 2)if too many people tether a limit or hold on unlimited usage with be put in place. No one wants that. And, if the access to this was made more available, more people would use it. Who wouldn’t? 3)if you have wifi on your phone… or 3G, then why would you need to use your laptop? Need email… it’s there. Need word docs… viewability is present. Now, some might say they need to edit documents for “business” (sure) Well, there is an app now that allows you to edit documents on all office programs. For a price… Need internet? Sky’s the limit with great speeds.

    I know the laptop is better… But, unless you’re desperate enough (I mean ROOT desperate) It’s not worth the headache that would come if you’re caught. This is T-mobile we’re talking about here. You’ll either get slapped with an outrageous bill or a cut/dcrease in data usage.

    They charge us 35$ a month. Trust me, they’re more than willing to take more.


  19. Also on the flipside of the issue… Other people want to tether to wifi on a laptop. So instead of the laptop recieving the phone’s signal, the phone recieves the laptop’s. Pretty cool right? Isn’t this okay? Righhhhht. So, with the numbers again… = ) #1) The G1 won’t/can’t work without a data plan… so it’s either you have the 25 or the 35. All details. Now, so it can be assumed that all ‘legally’ connected phones have internet capabilities… including wifi. #2)Wait, what was the problem again? Oh, right wifi. Well if you don’t have a wifi router… then go get one. CAn’t afford one? Use 3G! You’re paying for it! don’t have that? Stick with EDGE!(PS im not yelling lol, just emphasizing and i also love my punctuation… i overuse them) EDGE has pretty decent speeds in my area. Good luck! I am PRO FREE TETHER! Difference between me adn you is that I’m for the legal kind. We’ll have to wait for that.

  20. Agree with Jon – this phone has so much potential but really falls short in too many areas to count – really disappointing. Only good feature is google apps. Will be buying the iPhone when it upgrades its chip.

  21. Oddly enough in the UK T-Mobile state on the FAQs:

    Q: Can I use my mobile to connect my laptop to the internet?

    A: You can if you’ve signed up for web’n’walk Plus or Max. It’s not an option if you’ve got the regular version where you pay an extra £7.50 per month on top of your mobile plan


    So certainly in the UK the “Can’t go it because it is against the T&Cs” is false in some cases.

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