T-Mobile’s “free” tethering ends with ICS upgrades

May 15, 2012
13

HTC Sensation 4G owners were thrilled to find out that their Ice Cream Sandwich update was finally coming from T-Mobile this week - tomorrow, in fact. But PCMag spotted a frustrating caveat in the official support document: you won't be able to use the "4G Hotspot" function for free anymore. Users who wish to share their connection will have to fork over $14.95 a month for the official tethering plan, allowing them to "officially" use the WiFi hotspot or USB data tether.

T-Mobile's new stance echoes the one taken by all four of the major US carriers, who charge extra for tethering and attempt to dissuade users who opt for alternative (free) services. AT&T goes as far as automatically signing its customers up for a tethering plan if they detect unauthorized usage. T-Mobile has technically had its Hotspot plan in effect for over a year, but has not actively monitored its users to see if those who weren't paying were using the service anyway. T-Mobile still has technically unlimited data plans, but speeds are capped after a certain amount of bandwidth is used by a single customer.

T-Mobile claims that its somewhat lax enforcement of its own pricing policy was due to a limitation of the software at the time. With the upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, they'll be actively monitoring connections to see if those who haven't paid for hotspots and tethering are using them. A few short connections probably won't trigger anything, but sustained and regular tethering use almost certainly will. Instead of automatically signing up customers a la AT&T, they'll simply deny Internet access to anything beyond the device itself.

The update for the Amaze 4G doesn't say anything about tethering, but it's safe to assume that the same policy will be in place once the upgrade rolls out. It's still unclear whether non-standard tethering methods, popular with rooted users and those with custom ROMs, will be monitored as well.

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  • Insight Spinner

    So, there IS a the benefit of keeping my G2 afterall. As long as there is a speed cap on data, why limit tethering?  Those who exceed it will be slowed and if that happens a lot, they’ll move up to higher data plans. Tethering should be left free ad accessible.

  • Jim

    So does this represent a change to the 2 year agreement, thereby allowing the customer to leave without ETFs?

    • http://www.facebook.com/jemills25 Justin Mills

      Now when I asked them… They said sorry about your luck, $200 dollars disconnect. Been with t-mobile for 8 years but I think this is the straw that broke the camels back.

  • http://lazycash1.com/ Anonymous

    as Tammy said I am blown away that somone can make $9020 in 4 weeks on the computer. did you see this webpage===>>⇛►http://meetfreelancer.blogspot.com/  

  • Alex Drew

    I have the GSM Galaxy Nexus, which has android 4.0, and they haven’t denied my tethering access, so maybe users can put a custom rom and get away with it

    “they” being T-mobile if that wasn’t clear

  • Joe Shark

    8Yrs with these Mo Fo’s, & they just kicked me in the Damn Nuts.  I called these bastards last night to make sure that if I upgraded, my hotspot would be unaffected as it should be part of my plan.  The imbecile who I spoke to kept assuring me that my plan included hot spot & that I would have no problem after upgrading. 
    So what the F*** happens?  I upgrade & my god damn hot spot is gone!!!  I’ve been tethering for years & in on F’ing day it’s gone.  The Jack Offs kept apologizing, I had a supervisor come on & he apologized.  I told them I don’t give a flying F*** about an apology, I want my phone back the way it was.  They kept telling me it’s not possible & that the person who told me I could upgrade with no issues was wrong.  
    I kept telling them, that is not my problem!  They breached my service contract. There has been a fundamental change to my service, as it has been for years.  The imbecile offered 1mnth of tethering, then after $14.99mnth.  
    I told them that I will be contacting the NYS Attorney Generals Office!   They are in violation of something, there is no way they can get away with this. 
    Even I asked them if they have the records of the conversation with that personnel & they said yes.  Unless they erase that record that he told me, that I would be ok with upgrade; Tmo is the employer & they have to be held responsible for the actions of their employees. 
    I would have never upgraded to this buggy S**t, if i knew i would be losing my hotspot.  I need it for business daily. Now i’m Fu***D
    I am soooo damn LIVID!  And to think for years I touted how much I loved tmo, F**K Tmo. 
    I just spoke to another supervisor & had them send me out a replacement phone under warranty, just to see I can get an un-updated phone. The mic doesn’t work many times when using speaker phone. I’m going to have to pay $20 for this replacement.  
    It’s a shot in the dark, but i’m hoping the replacement will come without the update, and I’ll go back to normal. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/jemills25 Justin Mills

      If it works let me know cause I am on a pretty old phone and they just kicked me off today!!

    • marczell

      Hey I had the same problem then I reset my phone and I was able to use it again.

    • marczell

      Hey I had the same problem then I reset my phone and I was able to use it again.

  • T-mobile long time customer

    Makes me want to throw this garbage t-mobile service out the window. The 4g is capped already. Used to love T-mobile and been with them for many years and now this bull S**** F*** Y*** time to switch service,

  • Karrie

    I signed up with t mobile b/c I was told by t mobile’s representative tethering was included for free as part of their plan. I used it w/o incident for over a year to find it cut w/o notice. T mobile refuses to let me out of my plan w/o an ETF in spite of this material modification to their pricing terms (i.e. $15 month increase) and breach of contract in failure to provide notice. I filed a complaint with the FCC and BBB and would encourage others similarly effected to do the same.

  • Nobody

    I just left the following notice in TMO’s feedback form – (I’m looking for a sim-only plan).Let’s see if they are able to learn.
    20: *Did you accomplish what you came to the site to do?
    Yes
    No (please specify)
    20.1: If no, what were you trying to accomplish?find a smartphone SIM-only phone/data plan that includes tethering:’”unlimited” data plan’ limited at 5GB not including tethering – are you kidding ?
    I’m not gonna pay again for the same GB of data, I already paid for.

    20.2: Why were you unable to accomplish your task?unrealistic assumptions about my intelligence on Tmobile’s behalf

  • Ryan

    This is horrible. I have been fan of T-mobile and I have been defending it against all other AT&T customers for a long time, telling them how much better it is. Now I can’t wait to find another cell phone company. Its obvious T-mobile doesn’t have its customers in mind, only its overstocked wallet.