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FCC Forces Verizon To Allow Tethering Apps

Article Comments  25  

Jul 31, 2012, 3:08 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

The FCC has determined that Verizon has been violating the "open access" rules of its 700 MHz spectrum by blocking third-party Android apps that allow tethering a phone to a laptop or other device for Internet access. The rules for the C block of the upper 700 Mhz band state that the owner (Verizon) must allow consumers to use data any way they like. Verizon uses the spectrum for its 4G LTE network. This decision marks the first major enforcement of the open access rules. Verizon must pay a $1.25 million fine and start allowing tethering apps. The apps can be used to circumvent Verizon's usual $20/month tethering charge, although Verizon will still force users to subscribe to a "usage-based" pricing plan that will charge users for data regardless of whether it involves tethering. Verizon will also be forced to train its employees on compliance with the open access rules.

more info at Engadget »
more info at GigaOM »

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Aug 1, 2012, 11:32 PM

"the FCC’s consent decree...

...was based on Verizon’s purchase of 700 MHz spectrum that came with a mandate that Verizon let other devices and applications run on that spectrum. So Verizon now has to notify Google that customers of Verizon Wireless can now access tethering apps such as Wireless."

So when can I bring my own device? No wonder Verizon is zealously guarding its LTE Sim cards.

Aug 1, 2012, 7:14 PM

I think a lot of you don't understand this....

this is for Usage Based plans... ie, plans with a data cap....

grandfathered unlimited plans are unaffected by this... and your still expected to pay for hotspot...

though, the unblocking of tethering apps, will benefit all plan types...
So what you're saying is: once Verizon unlocks these third party apps allowing one to use the hotspot without subscribing through them those of us on unlimited data plans are supposed to abide by an honor code of some sort and not download them?


Aug 1, 2012, 12:59 PM

As it should be!

Carriers have come up with some bizarre ways to price stuff that has no logic.

I pay for "X" amount of data, and it doesn't matter how I use it - phone, laptop, or whatever. Data is data.

I mean, the grocery store doesn't charge extra for milk you'll put on cereal as opposed to milk you just drink from a glass.. You just buy a quantity, and use it as you see fit. Duh.
Yes, and your comment makes the case for doing away with unlimited data.

Aug 1, 2012, 4:54 PM


Open Access... Hmmmm... Shouldn't Verizon be forced to allow any compatible device on its network as long as it poses no threat to the network?
Jarahawk said:
Open Access... Hmmmm... Shouldn't Verizon be forced to allow any compatible device on its network as long as it poses no threat to the network?

I'd say so. It's wireless so you can't physically hu...

Jul 31, 2012, 3:33 PM


Thank you Google! I remember when this spectrum was auctioned, Google lobbied that it be open access. There was a threshold which had to be met before the rules went into effect and Google bid up the spectrum to that number buy ultimately Verizon won all the spectrum which it wanted. Those of us wise enough to keep our unlimited data plans will now eschew the onerous thirty dollar hotspot feature Verizon offers.
...until they throttle you.

Jul 31, 2012, 4:09 PM


As far as I know this only applies to this particular spectrum as far as the access policy. Sucks for the AT&T and T-Mo customers.
Doesn't everything suck for tmobile customers??
Correct. The open access rule only applies to this block of this band, so it doesn't even apply to any other 700 Mhz licensee.
Well...yeah...but considering no other customer is taking it hard like Verizon customers a little bit of relief is welcome. About time...now let's see what it takes to get throttled by Verizon... I don't really think my streaming ESPN is going to mak...
Well this is good news for us legacy unlimited data folks. I'm planning on getting a tablet. The vast majority of the time I will use widely available free WiFi. But there are some places (cough , cough Las Vegas hotels, and other high end hotels etc....
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