It’s been quite a while since mainstream wireless tethering apps were available in the Android Market/Google Play Store, presumably because US carriers aren’t keen to see free alternatives to their paid services. The most popular third-party tethering app, WiFi Tether for Root Users, has mysteriously re-appeared in the Google Play Store – you can download it for free right now. Who knows how long it will stay there, but in any case, we’re happy to see it return.

WiFi Tether for Root Users is a super-simple app that hooks into your phone’s WiFi, Bluetooth or USB connection to create a hotspot using 3G or 4G data. Starting up a portable WiFi hotspot is easy enough: just press the icon to begin tethering, then connect another device to the new WiFi access point. Advanced users can add WPA security (recommended) or switch to another connection standard. Note that this app works even if your phone or tablet already has built-in tethering and whether or not you’ve paid extra for it. Naturally, root permissions are necessary to start and stop the app.

A few caveats: one, using this app without paying extra for a tethering plan may violate your carriers’ terms of service. AT&T has taken a particularly proactive view, and will automatically sign up Android users for additional fees if it detects non-sanctioned tethering. And for those of you with a tiered data plan, tethering still counts against your total or limit. Of course, WiFi Tether has been available on a Google Code page for years, and still is – you might want to keep that site bookmarked, since tethering apps have a tendency to vanish from the Google Play Store.

[via Android Police]