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Advocacy Group Files FCC Complaint Over Verizon Tethering Ban

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the send-your-complaint-from-a-hardline dept.

Cellphones 190

Hugh Pickens writes "Cnet reports that the advocacy group Free Press has filed a complaint with the FCC that argues Verizon Wireless shouldn't be allowed to block tethering apps that let people connect their computers to the Internet through their phones' 4G wireless data network. 'This practice restricts consumer choice and hinders innovation regardless of which carrier adopts such policies, but when Verizon Wireless employs these restrictions in connection with its LTE network, it also violates the Federal Communications Commission's rules,' says the group. Those rules say Verizon 'shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice.' Google has made tethering apps unavailable through the Android Market for some phones that use wireless services from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, saying in May it did so at the behest of carriers."

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190 comments

FCC Complaint in my pants (1)

slashpot (11017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362732)

I have an FCC Complaint in my pants.

Re:FCC Complaint in my pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362762)

Well there's plenty of room in there coz you have such a small cock.

They own the network. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362750)

They can do as they please. How would you like someone telling you how to run your business? Government is out of control and runs roughshod over private enterprise more and more these days.

Re:They own the network. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362800)

They own the network, but they license the spectrum. The spectrum is managed by the government for the public good, and as a result, Verizon pays for the privilege, and they have an agreement with the FCC detailing allowed use.

Re:They own the network. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36364334)

on a second note, I totally foresee the FCC slapping them with the maximum fine of US$ 10 plus .1c postage costs.

At one time, AT&T charged extra for modem use (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362828)

They can do as they please.

People who tether are not harming the network that the carriers own. What is the carrier's complaint, and how does it square up with the Carterfone decision [wikipedia.org] ? At one time, AT&T charged extra for the "tethering" of the day, namely the privilege to use a modem on a phone line. It also limited modems to using acoustic coupler technology. Had this continued, had Carterfone not opened up the market to equipment in the customer's control, we very likely wouldn't have had home Internet access in the 1990s.

Re:They own the network. (1)

MasterEvilAce (792905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362834)

How would you like someone telling you how you can use your device? Companies are out of control.

Re:They own the network. (0)

torgis (840592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362862)

Agreed. We can't demand that government regulate everything. If consumers don't like it, they can vote with their wallets. Unfortunately, not many people choose this option and instead keep throwing money at companies that bend their customers over a barrel and extract as much cash from them as they can. I believe they call it "servicing the account".

Re:They own the network. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362900)

Which carrier allows this?
This is a market failure, no option for this exists.

T-mobile was once an option, but with the pending AT&T purchase it is not an option.

I will be leaving Verizon at the end of my contract, but it seems the best I can do is Sprint. Their coverage is not very good and what is to say they don't start to do similar things?

We need regulations forcing all carriers onto the same types of networks and that they all sell each other transport. This way competition can exist.

Re:They own the network. (1)

GreyLurk (35139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362964)

Sprint allows this and their coverage and plans have been getting better and better for the last four years.

Right now sprint is doing everything they can to be the "Consumer Friendly" option, with unlimited text and data forthwith same price as Verizon and AT&T's more limited options.

Not a Sprint shill or anything. Just a satisfied customer.

Re:They own the network. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363038)

Sounds good. Unless the T-mobile deal falls through that is who I will be switching too. Even if it means I have no cell coverage when I visit my parents in bumblefuck PA.

Re:They own the network. (3, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363464)

I would note that technically sprint charges an extra 10 bucks for allowing tethering.

Re:They own the network. (3, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362974)

What we need is the entire spectrum run by a single entity and the carriers just compete on service.

Re:They own the network. (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363506)

Which carrier allows this?
This is a market failure, no option for this exists.

In an environment where the carriers tell the FCC what the rules should be, or where companies buy legislation ... the 'market' has already failed.

Why does everyone continue to believe that the 'market' is this self-regulating entity which comes up with optimal solutions and gets corrected by competition and other factors? It simply doesn't work that way, and it never has.

The 'market' isn't there to serve you or me, it's been set up so the major players hold all of the cards. It sure as hell isn't 'fair'.

We need regulations forcing all carriers onto the same types of networks and that they all sell each other transport. This way competition can exist.

*laugh* So, you think regulating the market into uniformity and proscribing what they can do will lead to competition and fairness?

Your beloved market doesn't work that way, and the carriers would balk and say they're not willing to spend the money or not be differentiated by being incompatible. Seriously, if someone on the FCC can rule there's no problem with a merger ... and then take employment with the beneficiary of that merger ... do you expect any regulation to not be stacked in favor of the big players?

It's an idealized economic model ... it doesn't operate the way people think of it, and it never has ... it doesn't have these wonderful self correcting measures, and regulation/legislation only distort things ... and, really, even if it *did* work that way, the big players would game the system to get an advantage.

Years of watching this kind of stuff have convinced me that this 'market' and 'competition' of which you speak is a myth. Start out with a fair one, and you'll get cartels and price fixing within a short period of time ... and competition won't naturally create better solutions, it will create better solutions at exploiting you.

People don't have perfect information, they don't make rational informed choices, and everybody is out to fuck everybody else over. All subsequent assumptions are distorted ... and, occasionally when we see the markets tank, we get to see how badly the underlying system has been manipulated so that someone gets rich at everyone else's expense. Selling off bad debt as if it was AAA rated investments, for instance ... one big shell game. A Ponzi scheme on a massive scale. And, yet, its proponents continue to claim that it will fix everything.

Re:They own the network. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363730)

It seems to work in Europe where all the carriers are on GSM and switching providers is as simple as a sim card swap.

Re:They own the network. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364104)

It seems to work in Europe where all the carriers are on GSM and switching providers is as simple as a sim card swap.

*phbtbtbtb* Europe, who goes there? ;-)

But, seriously, did they all choose to use that infrastructure (ie because of Nokia or something), or were they told they had to?

Lord knows I like my GSM cell phone ... when I want a new phone, I swap my SIM card and it works great. I can see being able to change carriers that easily would be great if you needed to.

It just seems like the carriers in the US have deliberately chosen not to use the same technology as everyone else ... but, that could just be perception. They certainly have no interest in actually making things work any better for the consumer.

Europe might have more actual competition, whereas the US seems to have a bunch of regional monopolies who don't want to play well with other children.

Damn straight! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363102)

If consumers don't like it, they can vote with their wallets.

Damn straight! I don't like any of the cable TV terms of any company so I don't have Cable TV! I don't like some of the terms of getting a Slashdot account so I don't have one. I don't like any of the terms of banks and credit unions - fees, sharing of data with third parties, etc... - and I .... well have bent over and took it up the ass. Because I have no power and everyone in the industry is doing the some goddamn thing. I shop and shop and every damn financial entity is out to fuck me.

When an industry acts in "concert", the only option to protect consumers is government regulation. Otherwise, it's endless lawsuits and we all know who benefits in the end.

Re:Damn straight! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364384)

>>>Damn straight! I don't like any of the cable TV terms of any company so I don't have Cable TV!

Me neither.

I use an antenna to receive 50 stations (~42 if you eliminate duplicates) from the surrounding area. Plus syfy.com to watch my favorite fantasy/science fiction shows. I don't see any reason to throw-away $1000/year on comcast.

Re:They own the network. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363214)

In Soviet Russia wallet votes for YOU!!

Re:They own the network. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362872)

If you want to fight that battle you need to fight it at government not giving out exclusive rights to spectrum.

Re:They own the network. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362874)

>>>How would you like someone telling you how to run your business?

I'm a person with innate natural rights, not a Thing like Verizon. Being a thing, it has no more rights to privacy or self-regulation than a tree, a rock, or a building.

For that matter, It doesn't even have a right to exist, and government can revoke its corporate license at any time. (At which point verizon reverts to a private direct-owned entity, rather than a government-created entity.)

Re:They own the network. (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363068)

I'm a person with innate natural rights, not a Thing like Verizon. Being a thing, it has no more rights to privacy or self-regulation...

Verizon is just a group of people and the equipment that some of those people pitched in their money to own. Do people stop having rights when they peaceably assemble?

Re:They own the network. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363158)

>>>Do people stop having rights when they peaceably assemble?

Of course not. The People inside Verizon retain all of their rights to speak, think, publish, but Verizon Itself - the corporation - has no more rights than the building or parking lot in which the people sit.

Re:They own the network. (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364262)

This, a thousand times this.

Re:They own the network. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363456)

Only when they limit their liability by use of a fictional person commonly referred to as a corporation. If you want full rights, you should take the full risk a natural person takes.

Re:They own the network. (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363176)

>>>How would you like someone telling you how to run your business?

I'm a person with innate natural rights, not a Thing like Verizon. Being a thing, it has no more rights to privacy or self-regulation than a tree, a rock, or a building.

For that matter, It doesn't even have a right to exist, and government can revoke its corporate license at any time. (At which point verizon reverts to a private direct-owned entity, rather than a government-created entity.)

According to the law, Corporations have all the same rights as a natural person. Of course, when they poison, maim, or kill people, they do not go to jail, every move a corporations makes is to secure more money, they have no sense of morals or qualms about hurting people, they have billions of dollars to throw about in legal cases. There is no equality, Corporations rule the world as a fascist dictatorship.

It would be nice to trim them down to size, but that isn't going to happen any time soon.

Re:They own the network. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362936)

I don't have a problem with them running things the way they like, so long as they have a valid reason for it. Any given cell carrier offering a data plan contractually states that they will let you transmit X amount of data per billing cycle, at a rate of Y, for Z price. It shouldn't matter what those 1's and 0's floating through the aether represent or what I do with them. The problem is that they offer different devices to allow your computer to connect to the same network, and want us to pay for that right, despite the fact that we can (artificial restrictions aside) easily tether that device to our phone and retain within the given bandwidth and data cap we're already paying for!

It's like Sony saying to you... "Whoah there, buddy! We see you're trying to watch cable on your TV you bought from us. We're gonna need you to pay us more for that or buy a second TV, we only intended for you to use this TV for your Playstation".

Well duh. (4, Funny)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362782)

Of course they have to charge extra for data over tethering. The screen on a laptop is bigger, morans.

Re:Well duh. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362976)

+1 ironic for misspelling moron.

Re:Well duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363062)

Obviously you've never visited fark.com

Re:Well duh. (2)

Jahava (946858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363074)

+1 ironic for misspelling moron.

It's an internet thing. [urbandictionary.com]

Re:Well duh. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363224)

It's an internet thing [urbandictionary.com] .

I actually like definitions #3 and 6:

3: The preferred method of spelling "moron" by morons, particularly that of a Missouri redneck at a rally supporting the US led war in Iraq.
6: Simply, the way a moron spells moron.

Personally, I think intentional usage of the misspelled version dumb, not ironic (as implied by other definitions).

Re:Well duh. (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363642)

Now I just feel old.

Re:Well duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363122)

obviously people in Moran, Israel are getting kickbacks from the tethering restrictions... sheesh.

Re:Well duh. (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363866)

obviously people in Moran, Israel are getting kickbacks from the tethering restrictions... sheesh.

First thing I thought of was the song "Mr. Moran" by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones...

Re:Well duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363138)

+1 retarded for not realizing it's not a mistake.

Re:Well duh. (1)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363156)

-1 "SWOOSH/doesn't get it"

Re:Well duh. (2)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363676)

-1, Sued by Nike for trademark infringement of "Swoosh"

Re:Well duh. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364174)

quite iconic.

but is it possible to install .apk's on those verizons without fuss? and are the api's still there in those verizons? on the other side of the pond every 2nd(or 3rd) gen android device seems to ship with wifi-tethering enabled through firmware(on linux it must be pretty shit easy to do, so no wonder). just wondering, if you buy milk in usa is it forbidden to turn it into cheese?

FCC: Corporations working for Corporations (3, Insightful)

The O Rly Factor (1977536) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362818)

I predict a respone that is a bureaucraticly worded 'Fuck you.' The FCC is fully bought and paid for, they already just let one of its commissioners take a blatant bribe from Comcast under the condition that they give them the ok to merge with NBC Universal.

Re:FCC: Corporations working for Corporations (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364418)

...they already just let one of its commissioners take a blatant bribe from Comcast under the condition that they give them the ok to merge with NBC Universal.

Citation, please? Not just to keep you honest, but because I don't remember this and I want to know more.

Go Get 'Em! (1, Offtopic)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362820)

Nail the Verizon Monopoly* to the wall. I'm tired of being forced to choose between Verizon and Verizon for my plain-old telephone service. Then go after Comcast, Cox, Cablevision, and time-warner while you're at it, Mr. FCC.

*
* The monopoly is not in wireless, but wired services, but
I still think the FCC should tear-apart this company like they did with ATT back in the 70s.

Community workarounds ? (0)

snotclot (836055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362826)

While we're on the Slashdot subject of the community (ie blackhats) getting back at Sony (ie corporations) screwing over their own customers for no good reason (aka Hotz), can someone tell me why the same community of OS / compiler / OSS people can't come together, fork Android, and really just say to Google "thank you but no thank you, you've done good but you can't do anymore."

Or to make it simpler, just make some nice OSS apps that destroy Google's lockdown on Android so that we who pay $70-90 a month for a 3G/4G cell plan (individual, not family plan) can rightfully use the service we pay through our teeth for ?

Not trollin', just sayin'. I got tired of being screwed over on price from Verizon, moving to Tmo, then Tmo might get acquired by AT&T, who is frankly quite undesirable to be a customer of.

Re:Community workarounds ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362860)

This isn't Google, it's Verizon. Also, with root, the wireless tether app works fine. I use it every day on the train to uni with my droid2.

Re:Community workarounds ? (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363688)

...but with the WebOS phones from Verizon, the tethering app is included... by Verizon... for free!

Re:Community workarounds ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362896)

Its called rooting your phone. Check out xda-forums.

Re:Community workarounds ? (2)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362908)

The problem isn't Android. The wireless tether apps were removed from the Market. There are already plenty of alternative markets. If you're saying that Android should support wireless tether out of the box, and that we need a fork of it in order to do that, that's also nonsense. The carriers wouldn't allow their phones to ship with that OS, and without them you won't be able to pay the people working on the fork. You'll have a handful of people doing it in their spare time and they'll only be able to support 1 or 2 devices, not the entire spectrum. (This is like CyanogenMOD, by the way).

Re:Community workarounds ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362960)

indeed, CyanogenMod supports tethering, both USB and wireless, right after you install it. And they support quite a few devices now; mostly the better ones.

Re:Community workarounds ? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362990)

Only 1 or 2 devices?
CM supports 27 devices officially, there are plenty more unofficial ports of CM for other devices.

Re:Community workarounds ? (2)

Dynetrekk (1607735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363160)

If you're saying that Android should support wireless tether out of the box,

I know several people who have android 2.2+ phones, and theirs had wifi tethering out of the box. 3G network in, wifi tether out. If it isn't working "out of the box", someone removed it from the box.

Re:Community workarounds ? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362954)

There are plenty of OSS apps that do tethering. Google has no lockdown on Android, you can install out of market apps. Heck, CM7 makes all kinds of changes to android, CM7.1 adds the ability to block permissions.

http://code.google.com/p/android-wifi-tether/ [google.com]
It is GPLv3.

You might not be trolling, but you are quite uninformed.

Re:Community workarounds ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363094)

No kidding. It's my data plan, I'll use that data however I want. It's B.S. charging more for the privilege of charging an extra $20 a month to use my phone how I want to. I recommend rooting your phone and installing a tethering app on your own. It's your device, use it how you want. There is legal ground to stand on, and that's clearly what this case is about. www.awkwardengineer.com [awkwardengineer.com]

Re:Community workarounds ? (1, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363198)

Or to make it simpler, just make some nice OSS apps that destroy Google's lockdown on Android so that we who pay $70-90 a month for a 3G/4G cell plan (individual, not family plan) can rightfully use the service we pay through our teeth for ?

The irony to this question is that Google has done a lot to subvert the normal lockdowns that had been a staple of the US wireless telcom industry.

Re:Community workarounds ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36364062)

While we're on the Slashdot subject of the community (ie blackhats) getting back at Sony (ie corporations) screwing over their own customers for no good reason (aka Hotz), can someone tell me why the same community of OS / compiler / OSS people can't come together, fork Android, and really just say to Google "thank you but no thank you, you've done good but you can't do anymore."

Someone has to build, test, and distribute a physical phone. The costs to set up production are huge, and if you only make 100 of them they will cost tens of thousands of dollars each. If you want to build a phone for the price of a normal phone (a few hundred bucks), you need to spread the startup costs across millions of units. If you want to sell millions of phones, you need to sell them to normal people, so you better have a polished interface, a call center to handle support, and so on.

Or to make it simpler, just make some nice OSS apps that destroy Google's lockdown on Android so that we who pay $70-90 a month for a 3G/4G cell plan (individual, not family plan) can rightfully use the service we pay through our teeth for ?

You think $70-$90 $/month is "paying through the teeth"? Use your search engine of choice to estimate what running a cell phone network costs. How much more cellular hardware will you have to buy and maintain to support every user's data requirements if their cell phone data usage changes to be as large as a normal PC user's usage? What would you have to charge to break even? $90$/month is orders of magnitude below the answer...

So to answer your question: Try it. Don't worry about it being a lot of work or a large time commitment: I promise that with ten minutes of reserch you will discover that it can not be done at a cost you would pay.

Sure that makes sense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362898)

If they didn't the mifi would go byebye

https://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/mobilebroadband/?page=products_mifi

Please make this into a big fight! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362956)

The telecom's in USA are raping their consumers. High cost services for lousy service. Controlled usage of our phones and limited usage out from the high costs.

Verizon does enable tethering (2, Informative)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362982)

Verizon does have plans where people can tether without restrictions on the apps and devices. It is just separate from the mobile phone only plans.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363100)

Which is a ripoff.
I want 5GB of data, to use however I see fit. They are fucking transport, that is it. I want to buy a dumb pipe.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363270)

AND if there are limits, I want to be able to roll over prior months' usage which was below the limit.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363460)

Verizon doesn't sell a big dumb pipe of data. You pay for use of the mobile Internet on your phone with a 5GB limit.

Most people don't use anywhere near 5GB of data so it allows Verizon to lower the average cost while offering the illusion of unlimited Internet.

If you really want to pay per the GB, then demand that the carriers offer that. Chances are that if you are a heavy user, it will end up costing you more. There is a reason why those types of data plans aren't popular in the US

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36364098)

Verizon doesn't sell a big dumb pipe of data. You pay for use of the mobile Internet on your phone with a 5GB limit.

So, if I am paying for 5GB per month on my phone, why does Verizon get to dictate how I use that data? I'm not activating a separate device or trying to weasel an additional 5GB. I'm just trying to use a feature that the phone is already capable of. Remember back in the days of dial-up internet? Restricting tethering would be like your local telco saying that, while you're already paying them for your phone line, and your isp for internet, you must pay the telco an additional fee if you want to use the voice line for dial-up too, since it was only intended for voice. Telcos had similar problems with dial-up causing over-saturating of their networks.

Most people don't use anywhere near 5GB of data so it allows Verizon to lower the average cost while offering the illusion of unlimited Internet.

So Verizon is charging for 5GB per month, and does not actually expect anyone to use that, but gets upset when people do? That's a bit like an insurance company's model, where they only expect to pay out claims for a small percent of their customers, but this is a service, not insurance. I think charging customers for a service you don't expect to provide is closer to racketeering. It's also not strictly related to tethering except for the fact that you happen to be more likely to use the entire allotment if you are the type of person interested in tethering.

If you really want to pay per the GB, then demand that the carriers offer that. Chances are that if you are a heavy user, it will end up costing you more. There is a reason why those types of data plans aren't popular in the US

Personally, I'm happy to pay for a 5GB per month allotment if it's stated that way, but they should not be allowed to restrict tethering based on some arbitrary conception of what a mobile device is. It's also fraudulent to call a 5GB allotment, "unlimited."

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363888)

I want 5GB of data, to use however I see fit. They are fucking transport, that is it. I want to buy a dumb pipe.

Your dumb pipe would cost a lot more than $40 a month.

Verizon has determined that $40 will make a profit based on what the average consumer will use on their smartphone. Unlimited tethering? I can't even guess how much resources that would be worth. $400/month? $4000/month? I don't want to pay that just so my wife can check Facebook on her phone.

That said, I think their tiered data pricing is too expensive. I'd like to use it on my upcoming vacation but it's not worth it. At 25% of the price I would probably pay for it and use it.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364316)

why is it verizon _so_ bad at making profit then? just saying, I can buy a prepaid plan over here that will let me do 100kbyte/s as long as I care, for 40 bucks a month, in a country with bigger taxes. basically that means that anyone with 40 euros can go and buy a network connection and a (network locked)dongle and copy entire simpsons and futurama inside a months "allowance". and that my friends is the future - not these ridiculous caps, what makes the caps ridiculous is really how fast you can blow through it if you use it for anything multimedia.

his 5gb dumb pipe would cost to verizon as much if he used the data on his phone. but here is the secret to the 5gb plan, people will not use it fully! they will not even learn to listen to spotify through it, because of the limit, with luck they're only using 400mbyte or so every month because they want to leave the possibility to use it later should the occasion demand it. also, the 5gb limit puts a nice kicker on voip and videochatting.

one other reason why verizion should just try to act like a dumb pipe is that advanced analysis of the customers network use _is_ spying - if only for determining if they use netflix, porntube or youtube, that's valuable info right there and something a network user should expect to be kept a secret.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

atriusofbricia (686672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364386)

I want 5GB of data, to use however I see fit. They are fucking transport, that is it. I want to buy a dumb pipe.

Your dumb pipe would cost a lot more than $40 a month. Verizon has determined that $40 will make a profit based on what the average consumer will use on their smartphone. Unlimited tethering? I can't even guess how much resources that would be worth. $400/month? $4000/month? I don't want to pay that just so my wife can check Facebook on her phone. That said, I think their tiered data pricing is too expensive. I'd like to use it on my upcoming vacation but it's not worth it. At 25% of the price I would probably pay for it and use it.

Really? Dumb pipe would cost more? Why can I buy a 'dumb pipe' SIM in other countries without a contract with 9GB of 'use it however' transfer? Yet, here the same thing seems to cost 450USD. The real answer is that we have no realistic competition between the carriers and as such they may screw us at will. I am not going to place blame for the situation, but that us what it is. After all, what are you going to do? Switch to the other carrier with the same policies?

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363956)

I want 5GB of data, to use however I see fit. They are fucking transport, that is it. I want to buy a dumb pipe.

They sell "dumb pipe" plans, usually under the name of "VPN laptop" plans with real IPs.

The smart carriers already know that the plans offer different services and differentiate them. E.g., a smartphone plan will usually have you NAT'ed and maybe even firewalled so all you can access is POP/IMAP/HTTP/HTTPS (Verizon does this - try accessing IRC - in many cases it's blocked). Heck, they can even transparent proxy to reduce your consumption and make pages load faster (downscale images and videos, for example).

The laptop plans are similar, but they usually just are a simple NAT based system with little firewalling, and no proxying. The best plans are the VPN ones where they give you real IPs and real connectivity with no NAT and no firewall (because they're VPN plans and VPNs do all sorts of wierd things).

Of course, you're also paying a LOT more money for them.

And nevermind that unless you use your phone as a proxy server (e.g., the SSH tether options), it's easy to tell when you engaged the tether mode.

Hell, if I was Verizon, I'd tell people to go ahead and do it - there's a lot more valuable data to gather because of the transparent proxy. Firewall off anything not POP/IMAP/HTTP/HTTPS and let people have their cake. Those who want better data service can pay more for it. Those who want cheap ass tethering can easily pay for it by being "the product".

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364382)

The problem is, how you "use it" differs depending on the device you do the browsing on - browsing on a smart phone or PDA actually produces a lot less traffic than browsing on a desktop or laptop, because behaviours differ between the two types of devices (not to mention all of the other crap going on on a full blown PC, such as checking for OS updates, virus protection updates, ftp uploads etc etc etc).

Now, you might say "yes, but they've charged me for 5GB, so why does that matter - let me use it until it runs out!?" - it matters because on a mobile device, your 5GB of usage is spread over a longer timespan than when you are using an actual computer, which means tethering causes a heavier demand on the network...

So the act of tethering can have a very real effect on the network - and when you buy a tethering plan, you are paying for that added effect.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

Happler (895924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363170)

Why does it matter what types of 1's and 0's I send over the air? Is it a big difference when I send 1's and 0's from my laptop as opposed to my cell phone? After all, I am still limited to the same speed and volume....

If I have paid for data, I would like to use data, thankyou.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363558)

You did not pay for data. You paid for a service that allows you to use the Internet on your mobile device.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363672)

Wrong. When you get a smartphone at Verizon, the 30 dollar "unlimited" data plan is required.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363940)

An unlimited* data plan isn't the same as unlimited data. Read the fine print.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364010)

It's a big difference on the volume. I'm addicted to my Droid and I can only burn a few gigabytes a month. A laptop would crush that daily, just surfing the web. Never mind Netflix.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363192)

meanwhile, you already pay to use your data how you want,and now they want a surcharge for using that same data how you want.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363984)

you already pay to use your data how you want

Where does it say that in your contract?

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363516)

Charging extra for using the same bandwidth for a different application stinks.

Re:Verizon does enable tethering (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364410)

Differing usage patterns cause differing loads on the network - internet usage on a smart phone is lighter than internet usage on a desktop, for a variety of reasons. Its not charging extra for the same bandwidth, its charging extra for the totally different usage pattern.

Download the apps another way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362984)

The only thing they are blocking is the easiest method of downloading the tethering apps. If you can somehow obtain the tethering app via a different method, it works just fine on a verizon phone (possibly needing root access). I wouldn't say they are limiting the device, just blocking an app source. If anything I think it enhances innovation because then people have to actually think of ways around these roadblocks. Of course 75% of android users think the only way of obtaining an app is through the google marketplace... (my own made-up statistic, but it's probably higher than that...)

How about... (2)

silky1 (1609493) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362998)

Tethering using the USB cable...got an app that works fine there with Verizon DroidX. I can work very efficiently this way and make calls through Google Voice btw.

Re:How about... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363080)

Install android-wifi-tether, turns the phone into a wifi access point. Since not every device you might want to use has a host usb port.

Weak argument (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363116)

I don't think this will make me any more popular around these parts, but this is a weak argument. Verizon isn't restricting LTE devices. They are restricting the connectivity for non-LTE devices.

I think the main problem is that so many people have been able to use it without having to pay, but now Verizon is actually enforcing the provisions of the contract. A backlash is predictable, but this FCC complaint just doesn't have legs.

The other argument I see quite a bit is that "unlimited data" means unlimited for any device you happen to own. It isn't. It's for the device you have contracted with Verizon (or AT&T, or whoever) to connect to their network. It does not extend to anything you happen to have in your pocket. I'm not trying to argue what should be or shouldn't be, just what is actually being paid for and delivered under the terms of the contract. You know, that thing that binds _both_ parties?

Re:Weak argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363302)

The device in my pocket _is_ moving the data. The data it moves over _my_ wireless network or USB cable to my laptop is none of their business.

Re:Weak argument (1)

SilentChasm (998689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363384)

How is making it so you can't use certain apps on your smartphone, which has LTE, not restricting a LTE device?

Re:Weak argument (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363562)

They actually aren't making it so that you can't use a tethering app. What happens is that when you attempt to use a web browser on the tethered device, you are redirected to a page that tells you you're being naughty. The tethering app itself runs just fine.

Re:Weak argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363394)

Since my other devices failed to auto create their own LTE or cell data set up, they are talking to the Verizon device that I have and then THAT device is passing the data to the network.

So, in reality, there are no other devices other then an on contract Verizon device that is talking over their networks.

Next you will be trying to say that I cannot loan my phone to someone else since them talking on it would be another device using the Verizon network that I did not pay for... I can see the adverts now.. "Now you can get the new 'Load a phone' plan and be able to loan your cell phone to a friend so that they can call out on it for the low cost of an extra $50 a month!"

Re:Weak argument (1)

lostfayth (1184371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363468)

Yet no one is asking for unlimited data to every device they happen to own, or carry. They are asking for the same data as always being delivered to their phone. What verizon et al are doing is limiting where that data can go once it gets to the phone.

This is probably a horrible analogy, and I am sure someone will point out why shortly but this is akin to saying that only you can make voice calls on your phone - you can't hand it to your buddy Fred because he forgot his phone and needs to call his wife. Now add to this that they are imposing technical limitations to make it difficult for someone else to make a call using your phone. It's the same voice minutes, they are still coming out of the allotment you pay for. It is the same for data.

Re:Weak argument (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363598)

I think I understand the analogy, but what I believe you're saying is that they _shouldn't_ charge for tethering, not that they _can't_. There's a world of difference between the two.

Re:Weak argument (1)

lostfayth (1184371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363884)

Yes, that they shouldn't, and shouldn't be allowed to. It's blatantly silly to anyone who sits and thinks about it for a minute or two.

It's like trying to enforce copy protection by clolsing the analog hole - sure, it can be done, but how the hell do we watch the movie now?

Re:Weak argument (2)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363624)

While you're on the subject of weak arguments, you should probably examine your own. You're falling prey to the "device" mentality. "Device" has nothing to do with it. Throughput is what the company is selling, and throughput is what you're consuming. By the same rationale, your ISP could sell you an "unlimited data" product and argue that it only extends to your modem, not to the machines behind it.

If your network access "device" cannot support other "devices" by providing access to the data connection, then surely your network access "device" does not have unlimited access. They're ones and zeros. They go through your phone. If you have an unlimited data contract for your phone, then you should have unlimited access to the data connection.

Re:Weak argument (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363694)

People's main problem is that the restriction is arbitrary and has no purpose other than squeezing money out of already-paying customers.

I pay Verizon $30 a month to get data to my phone. They want me to pay more to get data through my phone to my laptop. Data is data, so the same amount of usage costs more. Why? The restriction isn't technical in nature, it's purely a business decision.

If they wanted to make people pay in proportion to the load they put on the network, that's one thing. Data downloaded to a phone and bounced to a laptop doesn't create more congestion than just downloading it to the phone. I'm more than happy to pay more for moving more data, just not moving data in a slightly different way that doesn't affect their network.

Re:Weak argument (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364106)

I agree with everything you wrote. It is definitely, absolutely just a way to charge customers more. But I would also argue that the only reason this is an issue at all is because tethering has value to the customer, and isn't charging customers money to deliver value exactly what service providers do for a living?

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have free tethering (and I don't work for or own stock in a service provider). But this argument that we should get it for free just because the SPs _could_ offer it for free with little or no incremental cost to themselves just smacks of Marxism to me.

From a more practical point of view I think that Verizon is concerned that they'll gut their residential and/or business Internet services. LTE is substantially faster than DSL and competitive with FiOS.

Bytes are Bytes. (1)

Marillion (33728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363128)

There is no difference between a byte to my phone versus a byte to other device.

Re:Bytes are Bytes. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363362)

There is no difference between a byte to my phone versus a byte to other device.

Yes there is. The bytes to your phone are a different color [sooke.bc.ca] than the ones being sent to your other device.

Re:Bytes are Bytes. (1)

lostfayth (1184371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363498)

It is still a byte to your phone, it just doesn't stay there - where it goes is Verizon's concern, where it ends up is not.

Sounds like an antitrust conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363180)

If Verizon and Google are agreeing to restrict the market, it sounds like a antitrust conspiracy under the Sherman and Clayton Acts.

Re:Sounds like an antitrust conspiracy (2)

Nilatir (179045) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363322)

Which is ironic because it's was Google who got the 'shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice' clause in the LTE spectrum in the first place to prevent carriers from denying people's ability to use Android devices.

Re:Sounds like an antitrust conspiracy (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363452)

If Verizon and Google are agreeing to restrict the market, it sounds like a antitrust conspiracy under the Sherman and Clayton Acts

Only if Google does it just for Verizon, no?

So far as I know, Android Market has customization provisions for all cell providers, not just Verizon. It may be that Verizon is the only one blocking tethering apps, but AT&T could probably do so as well if it wanted, so "competition" is not affected here.

AT&T charges just for using a "smartphone" (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363508)

My sister and her family will not pay for wireless data services. They are with AT&T. Recently She was swapping her SIM card from her dumb phone to an OLD Blackjack they had purchased years ago. AT&T automatically started charging them NOT for wireless data but for using a "smartphone"! How can they justify any of this?

It is a money grab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363578)

It is certainly not a technical limitation. I use an Nokia N8 on AT&T and pay $15/mo for unlimited data for "non-smartphones". I also use Joikuspot and tether when I am away from free wifi on the road. It works wonderfully, and I've not heard anything from AT&T in almost a year of >2GB/mo of data usage.

Another example of net neutrality being attacked. (1)

Zoson (300530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364022)

All the mobile companies do it, unfortunately.
Why is voice data less expensive than any other data? Or, for that matter, why is data I view on my smartphone any different than data I pull down with my smartphone and then display on another device?

The carriers can do whatever they please (2)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364102)

I don't understand what's the big deal. In the grand scheme of things, I know blocking tethering apps may be against FCC rules, but I'm not betting the carriers will actually follow those rules. But here's what you CAN do:

Step 1. Get an unlockable, rootable phone. ALL carrier phones are locked, but some are easily rooted and all of them can be unlocked for a small fee. So you can still get a subsidized phone, just be careful which one you pick. As a rule of thumb, never pick up a brand new model, but almost every single 3-6 month old model is rootable.

Step 2. Install a custom ROM like Cyanogenmod.

Step 3. Use the tethering capabilities built into your ROM, without the need of any extra apps.

If you can't follow these steps, then find friends who can or pay somebody to do it for you. My gf, who doesn't have a clue how to unlock and root phones, is using CM7 nightlies on her HTC just fine.

Re:The carriers can do whatever they please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36364402)

Then sit back and wait for the nasty gram to show up. You think they dont know what goes on with your device? They control one end of the conversation. They OWN the towers and servers you talk to...

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