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Verizon Enables New Wireless Tether Block, Asks That You Purchase a Plan

Your days of free tethering with a Verizon phone may have come to an end this weekend (at least on certain devices).  Our inbox filled up with reports of users who received a warning message (pictured above) in place of the website they were trying to reach while tethering.  We’re not surprised by this at all, especially after seeing Wireless Tether get the stiff arm from Big Red at the end of April, but that doesn’t mean we have to be happy about it.  If you want to use Wireless Tether going forward on a DROIDX or Thunderbolt with Gingerbread, you’ll have to fork out $20 a month for a 2GB plan.

And I’d go into arguments on why I think this move is garbage, but we all get it, don’t we? Most of us feel like we should be able to use our “unlimited” data any way we see fit and Verizon isn’t about to let us have that much control.  They will argue that using our devices to load up data-intensive web pages or streams would harm their network if done by a massive amount of people, but we all don’t care and want to do it anyway.  It’s an argument we can’t and never will win unfortunately.

Anyone tried any of the other tethering apps lately?

*Note – From what I can tell, this is only affecting Gingerbread builds that attempt to run Wireless Tether and not other tethering apps.  My Thunderbolt and DROIDX both popped up the message above and are running 2.3.  I also used the non-Market Wireless Tether.

*Note 2 – Barnacle appears to work still.

Cheers Mike, T and everyone else!

  • TsX

    Droid X: Sys version 2.3, Android version 2.2 – Wireless tether still working as of 8/8 4:30 PM

  • Miginc1

    I have the Thunderbolt but I don’t do wireless. I use PDANET. Any idea if the update will affect it. I really don’t want to start having to root the phone.

  • Miginc1

    I have the Thunderbolt but I don’t do wireless. I use PDANET. Any idea if the update will affect it. I really don’t want to start having to root the phone.

  • Sailor

    Barnacle is blocked now too! sigh.

  • Sailor

    Barnacle is blocked now too! sigh.

  • Crhoads1024

    I have noticed while running the 3g hotspot with my macbook that THE ONLY sites that throw that screen up are ones that start with HTTPS. Any other site loads fine, but if it has a security certificate for the site you will not be able to access it through the hotspot. Using PDANET will work around that issue for now but as for the 3g wireless hotspot your out of luck with https security certificate sites. Im using a droid x2 fyi.

  • P8ntfrk1044

    ya i’m using barnacle and i also have easy tether for a wired none rooted solution

  • I am not sure who is having issues but i have tried to recreate this an have not been able to on any of my Froyo or Gingerbread ROMs on the Thunderbolt

  • Anonymous

    Barnacle is not working on my DX running rooted Gingerbread.   Keep getting the Wi-Fi manager.   

    Any work arounds yet?  I can try PDAnet for my computers, but that wont work with my iPad.  

  • Pipherk

    Tethered all week, just got back from Florida yesterday. Tried it just now after reading this article, works… Non market Wireless Tether-OG Droid-UD 3.3.0-Android 2.3.3. Hope I didn’t just shoot my foot off ! What part of UNLIMITED needs translation ?!! Did I forget to “push 1 for English” er something….

    • Pipherk

      $20 bucks a month defeats network saturation, really !!!!!!???? 

  • Anonymous

    Posting this from my computer connected to my Droid by wireless tether. *Shrugs*

    Android 2.3.3
    Build GRI40

  • Tim1

    Barnacle does NOT work.

  • Jason Delaplain

    Hmm, I used the Wireless Tether app Monday and had just installed it from Google Code site Sunday.  It worked fine… no messages.  I’m rooted and *was* on CM7, but don’t know if that has anything to do with it.  (I say *was* because I’m on MIUI now… until Gingersense 3.0 is working better).

  • Anonymous

    So, this is like buying cable tv and the cable company tells me that I have to pay extra for each room. When they leave, I purchase my own splitter and run cable to all the rooms myself. Is that morally or ethically wrong? I am not using any more tv than I would have anyway? Why is this magically different when we talk about data?

    • Anonymous

      And I would happily go to court over this one. Their greed makes me want to buy a bunch of Thunderbolts, root them, and leave them hidden in public places to provide free hotpot service. The fact that I work in an airport, I think I could average 10-20 gigs a day.

      • Knightcrusader

        And, if your Thunderbolts are in 4G coverage, there is not one single thing VZ can do about it legally. FCC rules for the 4G spectrum specifically states they can’t control what you do with the data that arrives at your phone. 3G, sure, but not 4G.

        They may try to cut you off, but I guess that would be grounds for a lawsuit.

      • Locke

         Are you using 10-20 GB/day for work or just slacking off?

  • J Dub

    Wired tether FTW. Think wired is superior anyway. Charge while you share connection.

  • J Dub

    Wired tether FTW. Think wired is superior anyway. Charge while you share connection.

  • Barnacle isnt working for me Droid x v 2.3.3 Sys ver 4.5.573
    thinking about sbf-ing back to 2.1 and go back to liberty rom

  • Anonymous

    Its really obvious that Verizon is seriously sticking it to us if you look at the the plans we aren’t allowed to have. 

    Skype can make 3G calls to mobile devices but Verizon won’t let us. Why? because unlimited skype is only $8 a month plus $20 for a 2GB tablet plan (IF it could be used on a phone) would only cost you $28. With Verizon the best you can get is 450 minutes and unlimited 3g for $70 a month.On a tablet you can not make Skype calls to mobile phones on 3G (I think). [If I am wrong let me know]. Otherwise you could have 2GB and unlimited calls for $28.So I thought I would get real smart. You could get a mobile 4G hotspot, cancel your phone plan, then always use your phone as a wireless connection to the hotspot. Theoretically you should be able to make wifi Skype calls through the hotspot (not sure if this would work). But the minimum you can get there is 5GB for $50 so your total would be $58.It really seems to me that Verizon could offer a much better plan. I would gladly buy my phone at full price to take advantage of this. If you saved $50 a month you would pay for the phone in savings over 1 year.

  • Anonymous

    When I signed my contract I actually read the details and questioned the Verizon rep. It was perfectly clear that normal data usage on the phone was unlimited if not abused by things like bittorrent. It was also perfectly clear that tethering another device was additional cost.

    I’m glad to have unlimited data on my phone (unlike other carriers). I just don’t understand why so many people complain when VZW is attempting to enforce the contract they signed.

  • j j

    Odd.. still works fine for me on my DROIDX

  • Anonymous

    My analogy is it is like an all you can eat buffet.  I use this analogy as I would imagine Verizon priced their plans based in usage (consumed food) of one device per month, unlimited data for the device you bought the plan for.

    So now you bring your whole family to eat unlimited amounts of food off one plate at the buffet and bitch when they try to charge you a plate fee for the other people.  Would you try that?  Would you tell them all you can eat IS all you can eat? So in it’s current form I think SOME people are just in denial of common sense.

    Even though you are still capped at your 3G max speed/rate regardless if you are tethering or not, your rate of cunsuption will be higher with tethering.  How much will vary upon the situation, but it will always be higher.

    However once they moved to tiered plans and the pricing is accounting for a specific usage amount, then I think a tethering fee will be bull$hit.

    • Anonymous

      Your last comment is spot-on and thats the one silver lining I’m hoping for when it comes to tiered. I have access to so many wifi networks I could cut my 3g consumption by 1/3 to 1/2. Which would leave me plenty of space to tether

  • Anonymous


  • Corey Foltman

    I’m sure someone already posted this but I’m not reading 240+ comments lol… I really don’t feel like paying twice for the same data. $30 for unlimited data, and then another what $20 to use the same exact data to tether? no thanks. I have my phone set to load the real “pc” site, not the mobile site, so either way, its the same amount of data being transferred

    • Anonymous

      Read you contract. You have unlimited data on your phone. Not on everything connected to your phone.

  • jbonics

    Oh 83 ever more descusting

  • jbonics

    Well when ther is a cap on Verizon 3g is 1.5MB/s, and when I’m teathering I see speeds of 3mb and higher uuuuuuum I guess they don’t like that. I can’t wait for my contract to end, CAN’T WAIT. And anyone using 58 gb of data needs a girlfriend and not fast porn loading speeds. Your phones going to catch something, filthy.

  • CM7 on the Incredible is working. Of course its the built in wi-fi port and not an installed .apk

  • Noneya

    Odd, I can still tether with Wireless Tether using wifi encryption just fine, as of 6/1/11 2am pacific time on DroidX .588

  • Cb2000a

    Tiered data plans will make this a moot issue (or should).  You pay for data downloaded regardless of whether it is to a phone or to a computer. 

  • picodroid

    The $20 for 2GB plan will not be available for 4G devices.

    Of course, as usual this post will likely go overlooked and DL will post a thread of amazement when they get the final Hotspot feature pricing when it becomes available.

    • So are you saying 2GB of 4G will cost MORE than 20 dollars? I will post a cancellation email of amazement if they do that.

  • Beeze

    Keep turning air plain mode off and on about 7 or 8 times and you’ll quit getting that block!  At least it works for my droid x running gb and wireless tether and your good until you reboot then I have to do the air plain mode thing again!  

  • Guest

    Way back in time cable companies used to charge for the number of televisions hooked up in your house. The court ruled that if you bought the cable service, you could hook it up in your house however you wanted.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, the cable companies still charge for each TV that gets a digital signal. Xfinity (Comcast) charges about $9 per TV for package I bought just to receive it on each additional TV. That cost is above and beyond rental fees for the additional cable cards or boxes necessary for reception.

      • Anonymous

        wow, that’s low.  I was under the impression that they just transfered the cost to a rental fee for the equipment but from what you’re saying that aint the case anymore.

  • There has been mention of people’s data being disabled for tethering and fined for doing it. Be careful, some shortcuts end in worst places. I think they have us on the tethering this time.

    At least I’m done, don’t want to push my luck anymore!

  • hmmm, im on 2.3.4 and using the non-market wireless tether and i can browse the web just fine. im actually tethering right now. i wanted to test this to make sure 🙂

  • I downloaded GB using an article from this site. I went the rooted route (download two files, use Droid 2 bootstrapper) and for some reason my tethering still works. I don’t go through the tether app though, I go through settings -> wireless & networks -> tethering & mobile hotspot.

    Not sure why it works, but I’m not arguing.

    • BP

      doesn’t that mean you are paying for it then?

  • Anonymous


  • TheKenTB

         I’m on a legacy Alltel Friends and Family Smartpack plan, and even managed to keep it when upgrading to the Tbolt and it’s soon-to-be dead unlimited 4g plan.  I’ve recently heard that because I have this plan I may actually be provisioned for unlimited tethering.  However, coming across information about it has proven difficult.  I don’t have a copy of my contract, (my father did, but misplaced it, apparently) nor is it listed with my other receipts on our My Verizon Account.

         Anybody in a similar situation, or knowledgable about past Alltel contracts have any info, or know where I can find more info? Even Alltel’s drab website is of no help, seeing as They only operate in six states now, none of which are mine, and don’t have information on this service plan listed anywhere as far as I saw.

    • Drbllewis

      I also on a legacy Alltel plan, so I have the same questions…

  • Aperfecttool46x2

    The model is wrong instead of 20/month for 2gb it should ne prepaid. Im willing to pay 20 for 2gb that i can use whenever until gone. Most who tether do it for incidentals and convenience. Carriers over charging for something that can be done free and debatable already paid for is ridiculous. If carriers are going to be dicks about tethering then be reasonable /competitive with the cost. Remember, its still free on other carriers.

  • Pretty sure Tablets are under Personal Computers. 

  • Data never stops flowing.  :/

    Go ask T-Mobile about their “Truly unlimited” plan which has a 2GB cap with throttling to 2G.

  • I can’t believe people here can’t get the very simple concept, unlimited data to a phone is not the same as unlimited data to a computer. I will not download things on my phone that I will on my laptop. I will not bittorrent and grab linux isos on my phone, but will constantly on my computer. Your contract is unlimited data used on your phone. When that contract was drafted, there were practical limits to what typical people would use their phones to do.

    • Anonymous

      I can’t believe your so naive as to think that’s what’s going on here.  Everyone knows it’s not allowed – but virtually no one agrees with it.  Not just because they don’t see the logic in it, but because they know it’s a simple case of charging for the same thing twice. 

      Your example, much like those presented by people who share your point of view, is one that is not representative of what we are asking for.  All we want to do is to be able to use wireless tether occasionally without paying $20/mo for it.  What you are suggesting, is that we want to abandon home internet connections and instead rely on mobile connections as a primary connection to the internet.  Those are entirely different agendas and an exclusive clause is not necessary to “fix” the problem of users hogging bandwidth. 

      As you’ve pointed out, it isn’t HOW you use a device, but rather WHAT you are using it for that determines whether or not you’re a bandwidth hog.  Tethering to a laptop and downloading 20 gb of data – it isn’t tethering that’s hurting the network it’s  you using too much data.  Since they willingly admit to throttling the bandwidth of data hogs, it’s vitually a moot point to accuse tethers of slowing down the network for the rest of us since there is a separate solution to the problem of heavy data users that’s already in place.  Effectively, they are already “fixing” the problem by throttling, so the only reason they are doing this is to charge you twice for the same data.

    • Tux128

      Actually, I was impatient to download a Linux iso once while I was out, so I downloaded it with my OGD. I wasn’t even tethering. Didn’t torrent, just pulled it direct from HTTP. This may make me a bad person. :/

      • Knightcrusader

        This is exactly my point as to why this tethering crap is nonsense. Say you want to get an update to your favorite Linux distro. You have two choices:

        1. Download a 4.7GB DVD ISO of it through 3G to your SD card, and plug the phone into the computer and copy/move/burn it , or
        2. Tether the computer to the phone and download directly.

        Someone tell me what is the difference, other than #1 is okay and #2 requires the tethering plan?

        Why would you download a 4.7GB ISO to your phone over 3G? I dunno why anyone would, cause it would take FOREVER and the phone better be plugged in to wall power and inside a freezer (its gonna get HOT). Who really cares why, but the point is, according to the TOS, you CAN download the ISO directly to your phone but not through the phone to the computer, the very computer you will copy it to when it is done downloading.

        Anyone see the flaw in the logic now?

  • Anonymous

    I think that what should happen is that everyone pays a slight bit more for unlimited, and then those that teather can teather if they want. I know that all Verizon wants to do is to make money, but geez, when you first take away unlimited and then block users from using their data connectivity as they see fit, it just isn’t right. At the rate this is going, someone is going to figure out just HOW Verizon figures out that you are tethering in the first place, and then will post a solution on XDA and a huge battle will ensue. Hopefully the user will win.

  • TB das bamf GB wireless tether works fine.

  • Tether_Nark

    I turn in any Verizon customer I see tethering illegally.  They set me up for one free month for every scofflaw I report.  I’m now up to 14 free months!  How’s that for free tethering?

    • That’s just as shady as those of us who tether for free.

    • evileclipse

      If that’s the case, you’re a snitch, and don’t deserve the same air I breathe. Hope u don’t ever go to jail buddy.

    • im sure the girls are lining up for you, bro

    • Knightcrusader

      Verizon gives you something for free? Pffft! I call shenanigans!

  • I hope everyone who is stealing (and yes it is stealing) wireless tether realizes you are going to end up costing us ALL our unlimited data plans.  You are paying for unlimited data on ONE (count them ONE) device, not multiple devices.  You are NOT entitled to wireless tether as many computers as you want to your phone.  Verizon (and other carriers) have EVERY right to charge you extra for that service.  Keep it up and we will ALL be paying big time bucks for every kb of data we use.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, no, it’s not “stealing.”  People who tether are not depriving Verizon of anything.  They are not committing a criminal act.

      It’s a contract violation.  They’re violating terms of service and using the service Verizon (or AT&T or whoever) is providing in a manner that they don’t want it to be used.

      I installed Wireless Tether on my rooted Droid a long time ago and I’ve used it a grand total of one time just to see if I could get it to work (I ran a Google search, then disconnected).  Verizon wasn’t even offering a tethering plan at the time.  There is no way the service is worth $20/month to most people.  It’s something I’d like to have available (and would be available if it weren’t for the nickle-and-diming wireless providers in the US) in case I needed access for a support call, but $20/month for something I’d use *maybe* twice a year is insane.  If they came up with sane pricing, I’d consider paying for it, even though I feel that paying for it in general is highway robbery on their part.

      • Okay, so if I climb up the pole outside my house and hookup up Comcast cable line to my house it is NOT stealing because I am not depriving Comcast of anything???  Yeah right.  You are illegally taking a service that you have not paid for.  That is more than just a “contract violation”, it is theft.

        Just because you don’t agree with the price of something does not entitle you to obtain it without paying for it.

        • Anonymous

          That isn’t right Bob, the closer thing (contracts aside) would be if you pay comcast  $39.99 for internet access, and they disable internet access to every device on your network except for one, and expect you to pay $20 for every other device. 

          There isn’t some magical internet factory where people are hard at work making network data for verizon.

          They need to have a per account internet charge. A family internet plan even. Everyone agrees that having to pay for data multiple times is costly and doesn’t make any sense to the consumer.

          We can all agree that we don’t want to regress back to where internet was paid by the minute, but that is where we are headed with the way mobile providers want to treat data.

          • Comcast would have every right to do that.  Instead, they sell you Cable for your entire home, i.e. as many TV’s as you want.

            Verizon sells you internet for ONE device and if you want to use it for others, you have to pay for that.  That is why I have to pay for a data plan for both my phone & my wife’s phone. I agree a family data plan would be nice, but as of now that does not exist.

          • Gee

            You know bob your wrong again Comcast sells you cable for every device your willing to pay for a box on, so reality of it is this you pay 10$ per TV to have cable going to it. 

          • You do not need a box to watch the basic channels, so you are the one who is wrong.

          • Comcast would have every right to do that.  Instead, they sell you Cable for your entire home, i.e. as many TV’s as you want.

            Verizon sells you internet for ONE device and if you want to use it for others, you have to pay for that.  That is why I have to pay for a data plan for both my phone & my wife’s phone. I agree a family data plan would be nice, but as of now that does not exist.

    • Anonymous

      I fully hope that one day we do pay per KB of data used.  That is FAIR.  What isn’t fair is charging for a block of data when you might not use that much per month.  What isn’t fair is charging higher rates for essentially the same service.  Cell phone service is a utility.  Utilities, such as water, gas, electricity, etc, all charge a usage rate based on the actual amount of service you require – you don’t buy 1000kJ per month nor do you pay for 200 gallons of water and then an extra 200 gallons if you go over.  They shouldn’t be allowed to charge $5/GB on one plan and $10/GB on another.  The industry needs to be better regulated to protect consumers.

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  • Here is how you get working tethering on your phone.
    Install that app from SD card.  Its the most updated version for gingerbread, it gets past the blocks.  Only a few things to get it working smoothly though….
    1. Go to settings
    2. Turn off Access Control
    3. Change preferred DNS to
    4. Change alternate DNS to
    5. Save settings and reboot wifi tether. 
    6. Use as normal.  Verizon tether icon may appear but should not stop you from tether.

  • Hmm, my wireless tether on my Gingerbread Tbolt is still running fine (posting from it now just to test….)

  • guest

    posted this while tethering with wireless tether app.. no problems but do have the other hack on. Running Gingerbread 2.3.3 –4.5.596 rooted

  • Je49424

    wireless tether works for me on my HTC Thundetbolt  running bamf remix 2.0 beta5 GB with wirless tether pre14 and imosyn kernal!!! typing this while tethered to thunderbolt.

  • James_Ever

    This also explains the Pro starting to get gingerbread along with the DroidX. And all the droid2 devices are next as well. The Motorola forum have been getting a few notices to make sure to sign up for the feedback testing in order to push this fast. They are going to do this within a few weeks on all the devices released in the past year by Moto….