Verizon pays $1.25 million to settle tethering app issue

If you own a smartphone from Verizon Wireless and tried to download and use one of the many tethering apps for the iPhone and Android devices, you might find that those apps didn't work. That's because Verizon has fought hard to block their use in favor of its own mobile hotspot features.

As you might expect, a lot of people didn't like this. That apparently includes the federal government. Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it has reached a settlement with Verizon on this very issue. That includes Verizon paying a tidy $1.25 million to the US Treasury.

The settlement agreement states that Verizon now " ... no longer objects to the availability of the tethering applications to C-Block network customers in the operator’s online market." It adds, " ... 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."

That's good news for most Verizon smartphone customers, who can apparently download and use tethering apps with no interference from Verizon from now on. However, the few remaining Verizon customers who have had their unlimited data plans grandfathered into their current Verizon Wireless contract may be out of luck, as the agreement specifically states this settlement affects "consumers on usage-based pricing plans."

Source: FCC website

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Twitter: "We did mess up"; restores reporter's account

Next Story

Leap Motion gets over 26,000 requests for dev units

19 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Saw the news about the Trophy getting Tango with WiFi hotspot and then saw this and got all happy ...

... until that last paragraph stabbed me in the face. :'(

Darth Tigris said,
Saw the news about the Trophy getting Tango with WiFi hotspot and then saw this and got all happy ...

... until that last paragraph stabbed me in the face. :'(

Even if they hold to this, they might still offer the 'tether' feature to be added, but it will cost another 20-25 a month.

I can't see how they could hold this to the new data plan only, but I wouldn't be shocked.

Does the 1fb share everything get this? I just got my new phone and share eveything plan but it wants me to subscribe to mobile hotspot for 20 a month

thatguyandrew1992 said,
Does the 1fb share everything get this? I just got my new phone and share eveything plan but it wants me to subscribe to mobile hotspot for 20 a month

Just download some other tether app from the Play Store.

thatguyandrew1992 said,
Does the 1fb share everything get this? I just got my new phone and share eveything plan but it wants me to subscribe to mobile hotspot for 20 a month
femtobit? Sounds about right for Verizon. How much are you paying for 0.000000000000001 bits of data by the way?

It doesn't much matter now since their shared data plans include mobile hotspot functionality at no additional charge.

Stetson said,
It doesn't much matter now since their shared data plans include mobile hotspot functionality at no additional charge.

That's probably because they knew this was going to happen. It also does matter because those plans suck unless you want to use 5 smartphones plus tablets/computers on your account.

"That includes Verizon paying a tidy $1.25 million to the US Treasury."

Wow. The FCC certainly gave them a multi-second disapproving glare. This is going to hurt VZW for minutes to come.

Mordkanin said,
"That includes Verizon paying a tidy $1.25 million to the US Treasury."

Wow. The FCC certainly gave them a multi-second disapproving glare. This is going to hurt VZW for minutes to come.

It's going to hurt the consumers. The $1.25 million fine will be passed onto the consumers.

Mordkanin said,
"That includes Verizon paying a tidy $1.25 million to the US Treasury."

Wow. The FCC certainly gave them a multi-second disapproving glare. This is going to hurt VZW for minutes to come.

It's going to hurt the consumers. The $1.25 million fine will be passed onto the consumers.

nvllsvm said,

It's going to hurt the consumers. The $1.25 million fine will be passed onto the consumers.


really??? divide $1.25 million by 108 million customers... its just 1 cent.

nvllsvm said,

It's going to hurt the consumers. The $1.25 million fine will be passed onto the consumers.

If you take that overly simplistic view then corporations can't be policed in any respect. But luckily you don't run the country...

Companies would love to push additional costs, be it fines or whatever else, onto consumers. The beauty of the market is they are still left with a cost. Unless they have a monopoly increasing their prices can cost them customers. As a result, fines can and do work. But it takes a little thinking to understand that I suppose.

still1 said,

really??? divide $1.25 million by 108 million customers... its just 1 cent.

Still 1 cent too much... Thats my 2 cents...

Frazell Thomas said,

If you take that overly simplistic view then corporations can't be policed in any respect. But luckily you don't run the country...

Companies would love to push additional costs, be it fines or whatever else, onto consumers. The beauty of the market is they are still left with a cost. Unless they have a monopoly increasing their prices can cost them customers. As a result, fines can and do work. But it takes a little thinking to understand that I suppose.

It hasn't yet. But it takes a little observation to see that I suppose.