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End of the tether: Google plays nice with carriers

‘Free ride’ apps disappear from Android Market

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Applications that allowed users to tether Android devices to PCs – without buying a suitable plan from their carrier – have started disappearing from searches of the Android Marketplace.

Droid-Life noticed on May 4th that the Wireless Tether app no longer appeared in searches conducted from phones, and while it would appear in browser-based searches, the search would indicate it not being able to run on their Android devices.

AT&T has been ramping up its rhetoric against “illegal” tethering, and with these revalations, Verizon appears to have joined the battle.

Since the apps remain available, either from the Android Market or from the developers, Google doesn’t seem to be conducting a search-and-destroy mission on software that violates carrier anti-tethering terms of service. Rather, it seems to be complying with a request not to make it easy for users to install them (they can still be “sideloaded” into Android devices).

However, according to an entry on the ThisIsMyNext site, the prohibition may run the risk of violating the FCC’s open access regulations, which state that “licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section 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”.

The C block includes the spectrum Verizon uses for its 4G phones. ®

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