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FCC to Verizon: You Can No Longer Block Tethering Apps, Please Pay $1.25 Million to Say You are Sorry


The FCC ruled today in favor of you, the customer, telling Verizon that they were in the wrong when they blocked tethering apps from being able to be downloaded to your phone. The blocking of tethering apps, as many of you suggested a year ago, does not comply with the FCC’s “C Block rules” that were set forth when Verizon purchased the C-block spectrum for their LTE network. 

As of today, Verizon will have to notify the Google Play store that they would no longer like any of the tethering apps available, to be blocked. They are also settling the matter by paying $1.25 million to the U.S. Treasury.

GigaOM is also reporting that this new FCC ruling will force Verizon to offer tethering plans for free to tiered data customers. While that’s sort of already happening on Share Everything and not necessarily new, this report suggests that there isn’t a way for Verizon to stop unlimited customers from doing this as well. That remains to be seen, but feel free to check into it.

What a day, right?

Here is the entire press release from the FCC:



Washington, D.C. – Today the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau released a $1.25 million consent decree with Verizon Wireless that resolves an investigation into whether the company had fully complied with the FCC’s “C Block rules,” requiring licensees of C Block spectrum to allow customers to freely use the devices and applications of their choosing.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “Today’s action demonstrates that compliance with FCC obligations is not optional.  The open device and application obligations were core conditions when Verizon purchased the C-block spectrum.  The massive innovation and investment fueled by the Internet have been driven by consumer choice in both devices and applications.  The steps taken today will not only protect consumer choice, but defend certainty for innovators to continue to deliver new services and apps without fear of being blocked.”

Verizon Wireless offers customers its 4G LTE service on C Block spectrum.  Verizon Wireless bid at auction to acquire that spectrum, understanding that it was accompanied by open device and application obligations.  Specifically, licensees offering service on C Block spectrum “shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network,” subject to narrow exceptions.

P. Michele Ellison, Enforcement Bureau Chief, said, “This case was the first of its kind in enforcing the pro-consumer open access obligations of the C Block rules.  It underscores the agency’s commitment to guarantee consumers the benefits of an open wireless broadband platform by providing greater consumer choice and fostering innovation.”

The Bureau launched an investigation after reports suggested that Verizon Wireless had successfully requested that a major application store operator block Verizon’s customers from accessing tethering applications from its online market.  (“Tethering” is using a wireless phone as a modem to obtain Internet access for another device, such as a laptop computer or tablet.)

The Commission also received an informal complaint alleging that Verizon Wireless had violated the FCC’s C Block rules by making such a request.  At that time, Verizon Wireless’s terms of service required all customers who wanted to use their phones for tethering to subscribe to the company’s Mobile Broadband Connect service, at an additional charge.  In response, Verizon Wireless stated that the additional fee reflected the fact that customers who tether laptops or other devices have the capability to use more data capacity than others.  At the time of that response, however, Verizon Wireless required not only unlimited data plan customers, but also customers who paid for data on a usage basis, to pay the additional fee.  Verizon Wireless asserted that third-party tethering applications could enable its customers to tether without paying an additional fee.

Under the terms of today’s settlement, Verizon Wireless will make a voluntary payment to the Treasury in the amount of $1.25 million, and has committed to notifying the application store operator that it no longer objects to the availability of the tethering applications to C-Block network customers in the operator’s online market.  Verizon Wireless has also agreed to implement a compliance plan, requiring that:

  • employees will receive training on compliance with the C Block rules;
  • future communications with application store operators regarding the availability of applications to Verizon Wireless customers will be reviewed in advance by legal counsel; and
  • Verizon will report any instances of noncompliance with the rule at issue that might occur during the two-year term of the plan.

In addition, 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.

Via:  GigaOM

Cheers Mike and jdhas!

  • Verizon has a long history of locking down their phones in order to Nickle and Dime you.
    You don’t remember when you had to PAY for ring tones. The USB port was blocked so you couldn’t use your PC to send your own mp3 or midi file.

    Anyone forget last scandal when they tried to make you pay a fee to pay your bill?

    Verizon’s is only out for itself and at the first of the year I’m paying off my contract and going to Virgin.

  • julius

    Will the ics update unroot my rooted rezound?

  • dmagicp

    And There you have it. What was once considered “stealing” is now normal. And what was the corporate “almighty” is now the criminal. Funny how things change. Next they are going to make them stop teired data. Wait and see.

  • Larizard

    Ah, would it be wrong for me to disconnect my laptop from my home wifi and tether through my phone instead? #sweetrevenge #fcukverizon

  • Can you please do a follow up article soon about which tethering apps are now the best to use? I personally use FoxFi but myself, and possibly others, may want to know what our best options are. Id really appreciate it! Thanks!

  • “Hmmmm…we can’t charge them for tethering apps anymore, so lets force them to buy something useless with new plans…like unlimited calling. That way we can cover the cost and they’ll be none the wiser! ::hahahhaHAHAHAHAHA BWWWWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!”

  • Sara Rosensteel

    I wonder if this means that LTE phone builds will get the tethering option put back into the menu. (I hope so.) Tethering natively is so superior to having to use an app or ROM.

    Also, I’m curious as to why unlimited data could potentially still get charged at all. Aren’t we using the C spectrum as well?

  • Lucky Armpit

    This is flippin’ fantastic!! Now I can tether everything in my house to my Razr Maxx since I have 4G (finally in my area) and unlimited data still. Let the download-fest begin!!

  • leimeisei

    Can’t you just use the tethering built into the phone? I always use the Droid Razr’s built in tethering and I’ve never gotten an extra item on the bill for it somehow…

  • nessa

    yay 😀 we just got lte turned on this past month and now i can take more advantage of my unlimited b4 my contract is up. 1 week into my billing cycle i already used 5gb on speed tests lol cant wait to use my laptop on lte.

  • Luxferro

    The sooner the FCC says the consumer should be able to use the data they paid for in any way they want the better. No more scamming by cell providers!

  • Bionic

    I can’t believe they never went after foxfi

  • I’m just wondering what Verizon is going to do to make back that $1.25M that they are going to be paying to the U.S. Treasury. Something stupid I’m sure of it.

  • lovehate

    So what about data throttling that’s restricting the use of my phone

  • Justice

  • chris k

    this would be excellent news hadn’t verizon switched to shared data plans, now with shared data you dont have to pay extra to use the wifi hotspot as long as your on a shared data plan

  • Phyrxes

    Regarding this and the wife’s Thunderbolt (not rooted) can I set her up to use Foxfi to connect over wifi or does it have to use bluetooth until it gets ICS.

  • eddy

    take that verizon!!!

  • ok , yes i know im a noob , but is it against verizon policy to tether ovr 4g with unlimited as of right now , and whats the conseqence

  • unrealpunisher

    Wondering if the blocking of Google Wallet can now be justified?

  • Tiyjuan

    Now my question is when will they stop blocking Google Wallet?

    • unrealpunisher

      wondering the same thing!

    • Harbo99

      Not sure what phone you have but devs on XDA have a mod to get it working on the verizon S3. DL had a post about it the other day.

    • Gabriel Brandao

      VZW Galaxy S3
      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1794727http:// – I did it yesterday and can confirm it worked for me

  • Sadly, Big Red will just find a way to punish us for this. {{v_v}}

  • Reduce the size of government WHY??? {{^_^}}

  • ericsorensen

    They need to refund all those $20/mo bills they collected for everyone that paid for tethering that wasn’t on an unlimited plan.

  • So, that 1.25 mill is coming to the customers they ripped off right?

    • Doan

      They, no doubt, made much more than $1.25 million from this.

  • Havoc70

    The blocking of tethering apps, as many of you suggested a year ago, does not comply with the FCC’s “C Block rules” that were set forth when Verizon purchased the C-block spectrum for their LTE network.

    This statement implies that the LTE network cannot be blocked from tethering which is great for the 4G users whether they are on a tiered plan or unlimited.

  • For the first time ever, I like the FCC! 🙂

  • JY20

    “In addition, 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.”

    They only allowed tethering for usage-based pricing plans so that the customer will use more data and then they can charge them an arm and a leg for overage fees! Verizon is ridiculous now!

  • UncagedChipmunk

    Now we need to get Google Wallet unblocked too

  • cb2000a

    Big thumbs up to the FCC…will send a message to other carriers as well.

  • storm35x

    Apple will probably sue over the patent of having a Bootloader, and a screen, oh and buttons too lol

  • chedberg88

    Well score one for the little guy.

  • nightscout13

    F U Verizon…. We the consumers win

    • Champion1229

      In the end we loose, because they’re gonna pay that fine with the money you pay them.

      • nightscout13

        As long as i get to tether, then i win.

        • Champion1229

          You haven’t been tethering? Apps like ClockworkMod’s tether and FoxFi are awesome and free!

          • nightscout13

            I have been.

  • lye

    This is awesome.

  • Udispyn

    Yay stick one to big red for once, Now they will have to raise prices’s of the share everything plan to make their money back, I’m sticking with my unlimited till something better comes along.

  • rodney11ride

    Been averaging 12gbs a month for the last few months since my area has full 4g now… home internet service bye bye. I walk into the house and BAM wifi hotspot connects to everything from tv to computer to wifi baby monitor to wifi A/C thermostat to wifi sprinkler timer to what ever else i feel like using to tell Verizon to SHUV IT

  • SeanBello

    happy to see the US Treasury got their money since they were so wronged -_-

  • DanWazz

    That’s nice of Verizon to allow people to use the data they pay for the way they want to. This will probably work out for Verizon, since they are looking for tiered data customers to use more data anyway.

  • yo

    Hmmm. Just lost 4G on my Gnex and I’m on the unlimited data. Hope vz is not forcing everyone on the unlimited to 3G

  • Tim Buchanan

    Does this mean that we can now legally tether without fear of repercussions?

  • no rule against them throttling data speed though…

    • SeanBello

      that would be a penalty, wouldn’t it?

  • Common Sense

    How could this not apply to unlimited data? Nothing in statement states anything revelant.. And could this apply to forcing unlocked bootloaders?

    • Droidzilla

      We’ll see. They have yet to do anything with this ruling; the tethering restrictions being taken out of the ToS was something Verizon did on its own when it switched to shared data, if I understand it correctly. We’ll see how unlimited usage, bootloaders, etc. pan out in the future.

  • Sean Wood

    Wow… Doesn’t it actually feel good when the government machine works for the citizery… 🙂

  • Brian

    Guess who gets the pay that $1.25 Million.

  • noc007

    $1.25 mil is just a drop in the bucket for them and it means little now their new plans include tethering. Unlimited plans aren’t affected and usage plans still got screwed out of money which only a small fraction of those profits will end up paying for this “fine”. VZW still came out ahead IMHO and got to violate the rules without much repercussions.

    The FCC really needs to start making their fines actually hurt and be a burden. I suggest they make VZW institute a data plan that’s <$50/mo with no additional device or access fees and is unlimited. If that's not agreeable, I am fine a compromise of all of VZW's executives being stripped naked and publicly flogged.

  • Now unlock bootloader Verizon

  • Josh Flowers

    $1.25mil sounds kinda small for a big corporation.

    been rooted since i bought my TB on release day, but LTE speeds are so horrible here there’s no point in tethering. oh well.

  • jrod691


  • JoeInMO

    Now if they will go after Verizon requiring locked bootloaders (another violation of the same rule) things will get better.

  • Buckoman

    I’ve been using FoxFi with a proxy set up for a few months.

    I love it. And now that it’s legal, everyone can.

    • SolipsisticPsychologist

      You must have not read FoxFi’s description thoroughly, seeing as it states that certain phones like my Rezound, can in fact not use the app to wirelessly tether, it does not work, at all, ever, never has, it doesn’t work, nope does not work, did I mention it doesn’t work? Phuckhole says the words root and phone in a reply?

      • Buckoman

        Well that’s too bad that it doesn’t work right now, but Verizon’s legally forced to stop blocking tethering applications. Yep, they’re forced to stop blocking tethering applications, as in they can’t block tethering applications from working. Did I mention they can’t block tethering apps anymore?

        Its only a matter of time before Verizon pushes an update stopping the system’s block of FoxFi and other tethering apps.

      • Artune

        My wonderful 4.0.1 GNex on verizon works on Foxfi and hopefully when your Rezound gets the update yours will too my friend.

  • Champion1229

    I read on Engadget that in the fine print it says for only limited customers (i.e. shared data users) and that Tethering apps are supposed to be blocked on Unlimited customers.

  • Philip

    I stated this in a reply below, but I will reiterate it here for all. The RECENT change verizon made in regards to tethering on tiered data was made before todays FCC ruling, and is completely seperate from it. how this affects us on unlimited data will be seen in the very near future.

  • Booyah

    In addition, 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.”

    Seems to me that although it may seem that this only applies to tiered plans, that they won’t mention unlimited since they technically don’t offer them anymore. Almost seems to me that unlimited customers are in the clear! It doesn’t outright say it, but also doesn’t say anything against it.

  • Steve Benson

    Next up to the plate….BOOTLOADERS 🙂

    • Champion1229

      Better yet, timely updates!

  • yarrellray

    I am so glad someone tamed VERIZON with all it’s crooked ways. Verizon is one of the WORST carriers ever….

  • Suck on my tether, Verizon.

  • So, if they are going to follow the block C rules, how could this *not* apply to unlimited plans as well?

    • Yeah, that is the part that doesn’t make sense. Maybe the FCC is confused and think only people with unlimited are 3G only devices.

      • Droidzilla

        Or they were paid $1.25 million to “understand” the issue in a “fair” way.

        • Exactly. Notice it says it was a “voluntary” payment to the treasury….

  • Jon
  • Damn too bad i had to give up my unlimited data plan( was on a plan with a ex)but now on a 6gb plan with the wife, thats a bit cheaper

    • SolipsisticPsychologist

      So the possibilty of paying overages is cheaper to you than a set unlimited in the clear fee every month? Strange, very strange and suspicious. I guess if one would enjoy monitoring their data every month, and living with the very real possibility that they could have to pay insane fees if they screw up, whereas it’s a complete non-issue onunlimited, yeah I could see some odd people finding that to be fun and cheaper. To each their own of course, but I view cheaper in this case, as being highly subjective andabsolutely never a guarantee if you drop unlimited and move to share everything in your wallet plans.

      • yes it is a lot cheaper for me, and plus i never used that much data anyways, i got the 6gb plan just in case, but i dont think we will ever use that much data

  • hector

    I have unlimited data. Does that mean I can stop paying the tethering fee now? I’ve been paying it because I thought I was following the rules but if the rules now say I don’t need to pay the fee then I won’t.

    • DanSan

      lol you were paying for it? lololol

      • Alan

        Not everyone is okay with being unethical or immoral. Which was the case for non-payers (ie. you) before this ruling.

        • Romnen

          Confused if you have gone insane or are just trolling by replying to yourself.

        • It wasn’t unethical or immoral. We were using the network per the FCC’s license to Verizon. FCC rules trump Verizon’s TOS. This is what we’ve been arguing since the beginning.

          • A.Gomez

            GigaOM says the ruling doesn’t apply to unlimited plans. So, right now and in the past, FCC rules == Verizon’s TOS when it comes to unlimited plans.

        • Champion1229

          How is it unethical and immoral? We pay $30 per month for UNLIMITED data, why should Verizon care HOW we use our unlimited data. Verizon is starting to use bad business tatics that are going to cost them lots of customers. $30 upgrade fees, no unlimited data, delayed updates, and bad customer service are no ways to show your “Loyal” customers that you actually care about them.

        • tomn1ce

          you’re trying to say that its ethical for you to pay for a service and then have to pay again to use that same service as you please.

        • Michael McCormick

          The courts have already ruled on the issue of routing based on the Cable companies and phone companies who tried to charge for customer equipment. They stated that a consumer has the right to route the data anywhere they wish without paying more for that ability when using their own equipment. The phone I purchased is mine.. It has the capability to tether inherently as a router. I utilize software that does not belong to Verizon. I pay for my data connection and therefore they have no say in how or where I route that data once it reaches my phone. I am being neither immoral or unethical when I do NOT pay Verizon for something they do not own. Therefore I am being practical. If I were to use their software ( which they try to bake into the OS of the phone I OWN) then I would pay them for it. Since I choose to use others I do not Pay them.

    • It looks like Verizon could still charge people that are on the Unlimited plan, but it can’t charge people on the tiered plan. Here’s an excerpt from the GigaOM page.

      “The FCC also is saying that Verizon cannot charge customers on tiered data plans the $20 a month tethering fee, but it can charge it for those customers who are on an unlimited data plan. However, Verizon will not actually have a way to determine if customers are using one of these apps, so presumably any Android customer can download one of those apps and tether to their heart’s content.”

      • hector

        How are the unlimited plans different?

      • Mark

        Isn’t that more GigaOM’s interpretation?The press release doesn’t really say that. Of course, I’m not really familiar with the C block rules and maybe Verizon’s high data usage argument is valid for unlimited plans.

    • RoadsterHD1

      Get FoxFi and enjoy

      • Or any ROM with tethering baked in

      • wachutlknboutwillis

        Thank you!!! So easy!!!!

      • Champion1229

        I’m actually going to be doing a review of Foxfi later tonight, Check it out at Advancedapps.blogspot.com

        • Champion1229

          Review is up including links to FoxF on the Play Store! Check it out at AdvancedApps.blogspot.com!

        • Bionic

          NoI one cares

          • Champion1229

            If no one cares then why did I get over 200 people checking out the site after I posted this?

      • jp

        I agree…FoxFi is awesome!! I was using Tether.com and found FoxFi…way better!!!

    • noc007

      This does not apply to the Unlimited plan. This only applies to those that pay for an allotment of data.

      • jucide

        I pay for an allotment of data. I pay $30 a month for an UNLIMITED allotment of data.

        • noc007

          Don’t shoot the messenger. 😉 I agree with you. I pay for an Unlimited I expect not to be hassled with how I use it. I didn’t sign up for UMlimited.

  • George264

    I wish they gave that money to us. ESPECIALLY THE REZOUND GUYS, FOR SCREWING US, AND FAKE PROMISES. You assholes.

    • Mike

      U mad bro?

      • George264

        I am mad. You would be too, if you had the Rezound.

    • imns

      At least you guys will get SOMETHING..how about us Droid 3 owners?

      • Lambo_21

        fair point

    • Lambo_21

      Bionic owners.

      • George264

        You were not “promised” ICS before it launched.

        • Lambo_21

          Yes the Bionic was ICS upgradeable on all their promo pieces. Oh and don’t think Rezound owners have gotten shafted, compared to the Bionic they haven’t.

    • Champion1229

      Already filed my complaint to the FCC and to the BBB for false advertising!

  • Mack

    Anyone remember those credit card commercials with “Peggy”? “HAPPY TIME” 🙂


  • I wonder what this will mean for their practice of Throttling though. Will they still be able to do that? It seems (logically.. and we all know the Fed Gov’t is so logical… -.-) that they wouldn’t be allowed to throttle the users either….. Just a thought!

  • Rich R.

    is this only for 4G and not for 3G which is why they don’t have to pay back those that paid for their hotspots over the years?

  • Hunter

    $1.25 million? Pocket change compared to what charging for tethering probably made them…

    • Droidzilla

      This. The punishment certainly does not fit the crime. They should be forced to repay all of their customers who paid for tethering plans.

    • Champion1229

      You realize that the 1.25 million will be paid with all the money they made from charging for tethering, in the end Verizon will end up with a profit on the whole thing which just encourages them that bad business tactics pay off in the end for them.

    • cphilano

      I think this has been mentioned, but this does set up grounds for a class action suit that will be settled for far less than they made charging customers an illegal fee…lmao. Amazing how minuscule government regulation actually is, but there are so many people backing in the argument by politicians and the rich that we have too much government regulation and need to scale back.

  • James_C_L

    wow.. we win for once.

  • Ken Bosse

    I see my bill somehow paying part of that 1million

    • Champion1229

      They’re probably going to add a new tax onto all of our bills titled, “You complained to the FCC, You now pay our fines, F U”

  • Liderc


    • SchwannyT

      I know that Verizon will get back at us somehow, but even knowing that its nice to watch the rampaging monster get its “smack on the nose”

  • Icehunter

    I’m willing to bet they try and screw me back when I attempt to register a phone off contract now to try and keep my unlimited data.

  • midnightwalker

    mine works grate i am in vzw on a razer

    • Liderc

      It’s just too bad you can’t spell.

      • EZE4

        Lol @ not being able to spell smh

  • J Dub

    So the next step is this whole data thing in general. Glad I have unlimited still. Wish the bootloaders were the next issue.

  • Good news, but it pisses me off that it went to the Treasury. Should have been a rebate to data subscribers. I don’t care if it was only $1 per person, the Feds take too much already.

    • SchwannyT

      Yes but its:
      Verizon Wireless will make a voluntary payment to the Treasury in the amount of $1.25 million

      In other words its not a fine… its a bribe.

  • YES!!! Screw you Verizon!

  • Leo


  • John

    They’ll still find a way to screw you over even with this ruling.

  • Now, may be we should complain about Verizon blocking their so called “unapproved” devices to be used on their network. May be on day we can buy LTE/CDMA Nexus directly from Google Play Store.

    • Doubt it, maybe an LTE only Nexus after they move to VoLTE, but I don’t think CDMA is affected by those rules so the least they could do is block Voice and texts due to it being an “unauthorized device”.

      • Droidzilla

        I think you’re right due to CDMA being a proprietary spec rather than a universal standard.

      • Exactly until CDMA is no longer there really is no point bringing in overseas LTE only phones. You would lose all voice services as well as data in areas that dont have LTE

  • ArrowCool

    Hey Verizon, can you hear the FCC now?

  • I don’t understand why they are fined and not being forced to reimburse customers that paid for the tethering plans? Are those individuals being compensated in any way?

    • Mike

      I’m no lawyer, but it would seem this sets a good precedent for a class action suit.

      • trixnkix637

        But don’t we agree to arbitration as opposed to class action suits when we sign 2 yr agreements with carriers?

        • Droidzilla

          A good lawyer will tear that document up in the courtroom no problem. It’s like those injury/death waivers you sign at ski lifts; not worth the paper they’re written on.

          • except that the US Supreme Court has recently held that binding arbitration clauses in form contracts are in fact binding

          • Robert

            Not if they are the ones breaking the rules. Then you have a casefor lawsuit

          • autoverse

            Exactly. You can’t waive true liability, and you can’t sign an agreement that allows a party to break a law. Everyone that paid for tethering on top of their data plan will be reimbursed in some way. Watch for it.

  • It is about time. This should have happened 2 years ago.

  • fixxmyhead

    omg its a miracle verizon actually doing the right thing

    • Sp4rxx

      lol only after they were punched in the face for doing it wrong! lol

  • TJEgan

    Score one for the good guys

    • Droidzilla

      Well, maybe score 0.75. Verizon should be forced to pay that money to their customers they ripped off, not to a governing body.

  • justice is served

  • OhAaron

    Hell yeah!

    • Trevor

      Ginger ahhhh

      • OhAaron

        Who’s ginger?

  • Zachary F

    It says in the source article that they can continue to charge unlimited users.

    “The FCC also is saying that Verizon cannot charge customers on tiered
    data plans the $20 a month tethering fee, but it can charge it for those
    customers who are on an unlimited data plan.”

    • Wesley Schwartz

      True, but they can’t stop unlimited users from downloading the tethering apps from the Play Store.

      • SolipsisticPsychologist

        I dont see how they were completely blocking them before, because FoxFi and a few others have been around forever. So how did they block some and not all of them, this makes no sense to me at all. I’m very aware that other carriers wouldn’t let FoxFi be on their users phones or at least they couldn’t see it in their market version, butwhat apps were blocked by Verizon, and again, whyblock some and not all of them, and why am i the only one who sees this incredibly strange fact?

  • bittersweetrevenge

    still this does not resolve issue that Verizon blocks WiFi tethering in root-level software on smartphones. For example, most of tethering apps won’t work for motorola and htc devices.

    • Sp4rxx

      ok then, root your phone and install the apps.

      Heck, I have ICS (ota) for my RAZR which is rooted and I tether to my tablet and my g/f’s Droid 3.

      root isn’t scary – it just gives you more access to your phone’s settings and files.

    • FoxFi works great on my D4, worked great on my D2 as well.

    • stang6790

      True but shouldn’t you be able to use the included Verizon tethering app? Right now is is blocked for those not paying for it but going forward they are not allowed to block it.

  • Next up encrypted bootloaders and Custom ROM under the software choice provisions oh and while we are at it bring your own phone

    • This whole brign your own phone argument is just plain stupid. Im assuming evryone wants to use GSM phones, Verizon uses CDMA/LTE and even for users who would want to bring their own LTE phone to Verizon from over seas guess what, you would lose half of your coverage because you would not be able to connect to the CDMA network that still covers the vast majority of areas.

      But hey assuming makes an assout of you and me.

      • You are right that cdma bring your own isn’t possible but a perfect example of a phone that can be used on any US network is the Galaxy S3 it is identical on all carriers hardware wise. If the fcc allowed it I could purchase a carrier unlocked version and bring it to a network of my choice.

        • I thought the US had 2 different version of the S3 just like the GN. I know World and US versions are completely different hardware, but thought US based on carrier was same hardware until you looked at radios.

          • Nope it’s the same top to bottom it’s only which radios are active in the phone. Any of the radios can be activated and the chipset will work with any of the US bands. I suspect this is just the first of several FCC actions that we will see against Verizon as they started a pissing match with the FCC over net neutrality at the same time as all these complaints were pending.

  • FCC! FCC! FCC!

  • wooooooooooooo yeah! Time to utilize the 4G in my area 😀

  • mike

    Of course, AFTER they get rid of unlimited data.

  • Greg Morgan

    Doesn’t locking Bootloaders go against “Open Device” Policy as well….?

    • Depends on how the define open, likely they mean carrier restriction free. aka carrier unlocked

  • fauxshizzl

    Meh, FoxFi always seemed to work fine for me.

    • Sp4rxx

      it doesn’t work for ICS, though I had nothing but good luck with it in GB.

      ….unless they’ve updated since last month….

      • Liderc

        I use “Tethering Widget”, works perfect with ICS. But I’m not using wifi, just plugging my laptop/tablet into my phone.

      • Droidzilla

        FoxFi works fine for me in ICS.

      • fauxshizzl

        They must have, because I am using it on ICS as we speak and have been for almost a month now.

  • Well, I’d still like to have the capability of using google wallet without changing my build.prop.

  • King of Nynex

    Powerful entities ruling in favor of consumers? I always wondered what this would feel like.

  • DanSan


    HELL YEA, suck it verizon

    • Chris

      nope not first lol but i agree suck it Verizon

  • word! not that it stopped me before

  • bittersweetrevenge

    haha, if i am not getting ICS, at least I can make it up by looking netflix 24/7 on all my devices. suck it up.

    • And thus reason unlimited data plans will surely be gone by next year, because of morons like yourself that think excess using is the same thing as boycotting…ps you will still be giving Verizon your money with your plan.

  • I guess I can take the feature off my account to have the unlimited mobile hotspot and save $30 a month. But I am not due to knowing that it is against my Terms and Conditions. Which I am completely fine for paying $30 for my hotspot and not paying for my tablet to be on my account.


      foxfi app…free tether

    • Droidzilla

      Terms and conditions are meaningless if they’re not legal. The law still trumps the ToS.

  • This will be great until Apple sues, claiming they own the patent to tethering and demand it be banned on all Android devices.

    • David Cosme Jr.


    • EvanTheGamer

      F Apple and their idiotic claim to patents!

    • chedberg88

      Well played sir.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    Hey VZW. I got 2 words for you.

    Suck It!

  • Mike

    Where are all if the experts who told us vzw wasn’t breaking the rules?

    • devator22

      I wish I could give this more than one +1

  • Matt

    Anyone see that last line?
    “In addition, 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. “

    • AKA, share everything.

      • Droidzilla

        No, AKA tiered data; shared or otherwise.

  • Daniel Dlugos

    Sure, but at this point, VZW is systematically moving everyone to metered data plans. So, unless I pay full retail price for every upgrade from here on out (which I may consider doing), I will have to give up my unlimited data and find a specific plan for my 2-3 Gb/month that I actually use.

    • SchwannyT

      I know! Its almost like they knew they were going to lose and are still trying to bone us all somehow….. weird right?

    • AlexKCMO

      I plan on paying full retail. They can have my unlimited data when they pry it from my cold dead hands… or literally force me out of it.

    • J Dub

      In 2 years the phones that you can get on Craigslist or Ebay for the price of an upgraded phone will still be an upgrade. So when the GS5 comes out the GS4 will be upgrade priced ($200 ish) and will still be an upgrade to my GS3.

      • What? really? Could you tell me where you learned that?

        • Droidzilla

          Just go search Craigslist. You can already find a good condition RAZR for $250 (ditto GNex).

    • J

      I’ll pay full (reduced) price from a third party (craigslist/eBay/other website) before forking it over to vzw to keep my unlimited.
      Screw Verizon!

  • GET EM

    okay now we have to get them over bootloaders using the same part of the block c guidelines.

  • Captain Obvious

    How about paying that $1.25 million to the customers of their service that have been paying it?

    • Droidzilla

      This. The government deserves $0.00 for doing their freaking job.

  • tbaybe

    bout time the CONSUMER wins against VZW

  • STeve

    Does this mean I can tether for free now?

    • I would also like to understand this. Its possible we may not be able to, since we still have to agree to Verizon’s TOS? I’m not a lawyer though.

      • It will be interesting to see whether this only applies to new contracts going forward, or whether it’s retroactive.

      • David Cosme Jr.

        Sounds like their TOS are illegal.

      • The problem is that just because there’s a ToS does not make the ToS legally binding if what is in it is illegal to begin with. Seems like even if what you agreed to says that you would pay for tethering this latest ruling trumps any ToS verizon could have.

    • J Dub

      What’s this whole now thing? Been doing it since the OG.

    • noc007

      If you have a usage plan, yes. If you have an unlimited plan, no.

      • Booyah

        Where does it specifically say that unlimited has to pay still?

        • noc007

          Good question and I obviously didn’t do my homework. I based my commend on skimming through Engadget’s article and not seeing they’re making an assumption based on the verbiage from the FCC’s release:

          The only key change is VZW telling Google and perhaps Apple they can now list tethering apps. It does note the new plans that are in compliance:”In addition, 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.”
          The release does point out VZW’s statement that tethering users consume more data and that absurdly applied to people on data-use plans. If anything, it shouldn’t matter to data-use plans. Though, I have two Unlimited plans myself and I believe that it shouldn’t matter what the data is being used for. Since getting an LTE phone, I’ve used 1.6GB more on my phone alone.

  • To bad I been using Foxfi!!!

  • Gabe Covert

    And guess who gets to foot that $1.25 million bill, while DoT reaps the benefit? Screw you, FCC…

  • Chris

    ha ha suck it big red

  • This is awesome. Now to get the ICS update for the Rezound.

    • So lame, were supposed to get it now around this time frame unless we get it next week. Which I doubt

  • Gee Verizon, the feds are hitting you where you usually hit us. Hmmm

    • yep

      In the ass? Without lube?

      • mike

        The wallet

      • bob

        with sandpaper

        • Droidzilla

          Not for a paltry $1.25 million. I wish they had hit Verizon harder, but then Big Red would probably have found a way to make us loyal customers foot the bill.

          • moelsen8

            i’m sure they still will.

          • mustbepbs

            Imagine the statement:

            Due to recent costs for outstanding customer service, we will be enforcing a $2/mo. convenience fee for using our free tethering services.

          • Champion1229

            more like this

            “Due to raging customers complaining to the FCC and BBB we will now be charging a $10/month “You complained, now you pay” fee.

  • Bigsike


  • Will we be able to use said tethering apps without a plan or are they allowed to still block unless we have the extra “feature” on our account?

    • DavidHollinger

      The ruling is that Verizon CANNOT charge/require extra plans for tethering. The exception to the ruling is that if you have a grandfathered unlimited plan, they can still charge you the extra $20/mo, but only on the grandfathered unlimited data.. all others cannot be charged extra (or blocked)

      • I do not really see this exception in the black and white.

        • DavidHollinger

          “In addition, 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.”

          • Philip Van Luke

            This was a voluntary change on verizons part made BEFORE the FCC ruling. The effect the FCC ruling will have on unlimited data plans and tethering will be seen in the very near future.

  • Andrew


    • Sp4rxx


      • Edwin M

        Oh darn, you beat me to it.

    • Arlind Emini

      FTFY ‘Murica 😉

  • igloobunny

    Damn, now we can definitely kiss the Rezound ICS update goodbye 😉

    • SolipsisticPsychologist

      Why? I don’t understand this at all, and I have Rezound, would you please explain this to me? I don’t root and i wanted to use Foxfi for wireless tether, but htc has that phucking encryption on it or whatever, was ICS going to remove that encryption and then allow us to use FoxFo on our Rezounds, is that what you are talking about? Please if you don.’t mind explaining or providing a link with info., Im very much wanting to find a stock way to wirelessly tether my Rezound without paying BigFag $20 a month, thank you in advance if you’ll enlighten me.

      • igloobunny

        Oops, sorry, I was just trying to be funny. Clearly unsuccessful. Though it might be amusing if Verizon used the fine as an excuse not to release an ICS update…

  • moelsen8

    shouldn’t this apply to something like google wallet too?

    • ddevito


    • You would think so, but not yet.

      • droidman101

        Technically, Google Wallet can be used over LTE.
        But you could also use this argument for torrents as well, so it has to stop at a point.

        • Champion1229

          They cant really say anything about torrents because some of them are legal, just like downloading a youtube video, no one would care.

          • moelsen8

            or linux distributions etc.

        • moelsen8

          you could have technically tethered over LTE previously too.

          • Champion1229

            i use both ttorrent on my 4G LTE Rezound and I also tether(wired for now but once the rezound gets ICS its supposed to break the Wifi block that keeps Foxfi from working right) it to my MacBook Pro to run uTorrent. 3mb+ on a good day! Sincerely from me to verizon…..F U!!

          • SolipsisticPsychologist

            Wait what?! Are you serious about the Rezound and FoxFi? Really? So if I ever get ICS I can finally use Foxfi on my Rezound? Holy sh!t in a pita that is so awesome! I never cared about getting ics on my Rezound before, but if it truly does mean that it will breaks HTC’s gay as hell encryption for tethering on my Rezound, oh man, I sincerely hope you are not mistaken and this is a hundred percent true! It’s frustrated me to no end that I couldn’t use FoxFi to wirelessly tether my Rezound to my tablet. Where did you hear about this? I’ve emailed the damn FoxFi developer like ten times asking him if he has been able to murder HTC’s stranglehold on my tethering. Do you have alink to a site that talks about this and could you post it please. Finding out that HTC did this to my phone really soured my view of their phones, and I probably won’t ever buy another because of it. Thanks for posting this information, you made me very happy indeed. 😉

          • Champion1229

            If you read FoxFi’s description in the play store they state that HTC devices running ICS are able to use WiFi tethering so I see no reason why it wouldn’t work on the Rezound when it ever gets ICS (Should I be saying if it EVER gets ICS lol) I emailed the developer asking if this was true but I’m still waiting for a reply. Don’t get your hopes up too high because HTC is famous for crushing our hopes (hint, hint, promised us ICS in the beginning of the year) Anyhow, as soon as ICS hits and the devs root it I will be taking that route because seeing that HTC and Verizon like to abandon us Rezounders, I seriously cant ever see my phone running stock Jelly Bean!

          • SolipsisticPsychologist

            Thank you for your courteous and helpful reply, I appreciate it greatly. Well I hope that getting ICS for the Rezound will indeed allow for us stock users to finally utilize FoxFi fully. I can’t even fathom why HTC did this to the tethering, I mean I’d believe they are just pricks, but that isn’t what they would publicly state or probably think of themselves. And yeah, I definitely do not ever think a OS update will be anywhere near timely if it happens at all. And I personally am fine sticking with Gingerbread, at least until a majority of apps I would like to have become unobtainable because my operating system is too old. But now I would actually look forward to an ICS update if this is the case with FoxFi. I seriously have searched a mind-numbing amount of time on the Web, trying to find a solution to my stock Rezound tethering woes. And rooting is something I just don’t want to mess with, nor do I have the time with the amount of movies I have lined up to work on this year, and if all goes well, next year as well. I mean sh!t, I would probably enjoy rooting my phone, but working on major films, well “9 to 5” is something you’ve only heard rumors of. Most days run 18 hours, and that’s not even always including friggin’ overtime! I remember one gig I had in Cleveland and Illinois, I got done after 18 hours then had to drive one of the damn actors to the Cincinnati airport, and when I got back to the hotel, I think I slept for two and a half hours, haha! Yeah, not much downtime to phuck with my devices, hell I’m lucky if I even get to visit sites like this for longer than hour, I have to sleep some or I start hallucinating and start seeing rabbits and dream im on the set. I had one of those dreams once, and i was so sleep deprived that i dreamt i was on set but i was naked, so apparently in my sleep deprived state, i sleeped put my clothes on, haha! I woke up and i was fully clothed,hahaha, and iwas pisitive i went to bed naked, that was so messed up i was starting to crack i think.

            But yeah, anyways, thanks again for the information, it gives me a shred, a sliver of hope that I’ll be using FoxFi in all it’s wireless tether glory one day.

          • Champion1229

            HAHAH glad to help. What company do you work for? I’ve been trying to get my foot into editing for a while mainly just making small movies on FCPX (I made the school I goto’s graduation video and a few other small things).

          • SolipsisticPsychologist

            That’s great you are getting a degree in production, more than I ever did, haha I dropped out of film school half way through. And I wouldn’t recommend that, but at the same time there is a lot to be said on the value of getting hands on experience with a film, regardless of the size of the film. If I could go back annd do it over I’d definitely finish film school, because it would havemade learning come so much easier. But that other side of the coin is that I work with quite a few DGA trainees and they aren’t always prepared for how different a real set is from a set at school. The amount of commotion, the high intensity atmosphere, the directors yelling at you to have some meat puppet on set before they even asked you toget them, just all sorts of complete madness that would make someone new to it’s head explode, haha. But it’s great ifyou can hang in there to learn the ropes, politics, language, etc. Just enjoy your good sleep now. But my best advice wouldbe to take anything you can find and get when you start off. No matterhow small or unglamorous.

            I mean use safety and common sense when finding a gig, you know you need to learn as much as you can, anychance that you get, but at the same time you don’t want to be a production assistant or A.D. on a set where the director thinks its a great idea and so much more realistic if “we use live ammo for the first shootout today”. I actually had a director say that to me, right he was done i walked off set, never to return. So you know, search like crazy and take anygig you find, but don’t take “any” gig you find that sounds like what i just talked about, haha. The good things about small sh!t films is the fact that youmeeta lot of people who can recommend you to larger films, especially if you’re a good person and make friends. That’s how i went from working on a God awful vampire b-movie that would make twilight look Oscar worthy, to Spiderman 2.

            So thats my best advice foryou. But I don’t work for any studios, I’m freelance. I’m still counting down my hours until I’m elligible for the DGA or SAG, but really it goes a lot smoother if you get someone to invite and sponsor you into one of the guilds. Because overall they are good to be in if you can get in, you get amazing benefits, paid for overtime, basically shady directors and companies can’t abuse you, well not as much. And being in the Directors or Actors guild absolutely opensup more work, well that is the hope. Hope some of this helps you, and definitely finish school, but if you have the time try to work on something small even while you are still in school. Of course don’t let it make you fail though, haha.

          • Champion1229

            Thanks for all the advice! Right now I am currently only in HS but I’m hoping to go for a degree in production. Only problem is I have a lot of ties to Intel and I could easily get a job there working with good pay and benefits but at the same time I love editing and being in the production business. My school even personally asked me to make their graduation video and to show the video production teacher how to use FCPX. Decisions, Decisions!

          • I just got the ICS update today and when I went to use FoxFi, it doesnt work….but I think we’re getting somewhere because it’s broadcasting the network but for some reason (and a lot of people on different forum are saying the same thing) FoxFi fails to give out IP addresses, etc so nothing can connect to the network. I’m hoping that since this is an issue with FoxFi (not HTC blocking the transmission) that an update will fix it!

    • J Dub

      My thoughts exactly. Same principle. They are stifling the market by blocking the competition. The FCC needs to lay the smack down on these carriers.

      • Wes

        Sounds alot like a fruit-based tech company, huh?

      • 4n1m4L

        Don’t know what you guys are complaining about. There’s a small trick to get it straight from the market. After you do it once it shows up in the “all” tab and is easily installed again

        • Champion1229

          just about all tethering apps have a website where they can be downloaded directly instead of going through the market.

          • 4n1m4L

            I was referring to google wallet, but that is true as well

        • J Dub

          The fact that you have to change the build.prop on your phone so that it shows up as a different phone and side load the app. You can’t just go into the Play store and download Wallet when on Verizon. It’s got to be side loaded and most likely a patched version.

          • 4n1m4L

            ok, wrong, wrong and wrong… If you just use the widely published trick that involves opening play from the browser first, you install it directly from the market. Un-modified, un-molested, un-compromised. I have done it myself both on the android market and on google play.

          • J Dub

            I must just be an idiot because when I search “Google Wallet” it doesn’t show up. Also, even more of an idiot because when I follow a link directly to Wallet it shows incompatible with all my devices. Maybe you could help me out here.

          • 4n1m4L

            works the same in play as it does in android market 🙂

          • J Dub

            A little round about isn’t it? I’d rather just do it my way.

    • zepfloyd

      th the FCC’s “C Block rules,” requiring licensees of C Block spectrum to allow customers to freely use the devices and applications of their choosing.”


      • iphoneh8r

        I choose an unlocked bootloader!!!

        • zepfloyd

          We all do but sadly that does not apply to this.

        • feztheforeigner

          I choose root out of the box, an unlocked bootloader, Google Wallet, free tethering, bloatware-free, stock Android setting…

    • Jeff “Big Red”

      VZW being so picky about that crap just causes people like you and I to get google wallet on our phones anyways! The other question would be “Why if both these companies make each other money would you hurt that relationship?”