Last Updated: October 28th, 2011

It's a sad, sad day when we can't use the data that we pay for in a manner that we choose - but that day has arrived. It seems that somebody (perhaps carriers?) is blocking the ability to install Wireless Tether in the Android Market. This is what you get if you try to install it:


You can see that while it's still in the Market, it's not available for installation on any carrier-connected device. Most of the well known tethering apps have made the carrier blacklist, such as Wireless Tether and PDAnet, but there are some lesser known ones that are still available. Even if you're not sure that you'll ever use it, I suggest you go get one now before they all go the way of the dinosaur (on the Market, anyway).

Update: According to Artem, Sprint customers can still install tethering apps without issue. But VZW, T-Mo, and AT&T are definitely blocking.


Source: Droid Life

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • The Wolf Sage

    A sad day indeed. This is one step closer to a crackdown on all root users, including those who don't tether. A sad, sad day indeed.

    • http://www.transformerforums.com wicked

      They can crack down on tetherers but ROOT is completely LEGAL ruled by the Supreme Court. I will continue to stay rooted and root all my future devices w/o fear.

      • Mike

        "They can crack down on tetherers but ROOT is completely LEGAL"

        But it's not in the UK :(

  • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com Silver Fang

    What a crock. How is tethering any different from just web browsing with your phone?

    • http://www.wix.com/Gigitsu/Gigitsu/Home GigiAUT

      It's all just a ploy to get people paying extra. I wonder how long it will be until they start doing the same in Europe.

    • B066Y

      Although I disagree with a crackdown on tethering supposedly surfing from a computer browser uses more bandwidth then surfing for your phones browser. At least that is the excuse that is used to justify charging for tethering.

      • Chahk

        Please stop regurgitating the carriers' lies and propaganda.

        How does it matter how fast I'm burning through my capped allotment? If I hit that limit sooner rather than later it will be my own problem.

        This is nothing more than a shameless money grab by the carriers. They are trying to double- and triple-dip for the same service we are already overpaying for.

        We should not bend over for this like we are doing with SMS "bundles". Let's get this trending on Twitter or something.

        • Jim

          How does it matter? In a word: bandwidth. I can fill a swilling pool with a garden hose, but if I think the hose has the necessary H2O bandwidth to service my swimming needs in 5 minutes, I'm going to be disappointed - it takes a lot longer. I can try using a wider hose to fill my pool a bit faster, but that increased water draw might lower the water pressure for my neighbors, making it take longer to fill their sinks and bath tubs. The water company can deliver water only so fast.

          That's not to say carriers aren't engaged in shameless double-dipping, I'm inclined to think that is a primary motivation. All I'm saying is the speed at which you exhaust your allotment can matter.

      • http://blog.firstdove.com Christian

        I think there *may* be some truth to this: assuming when you browse with your mobile you're viewing the less traffic intensive mobile versions of the sites.

        It all depends on usage though, on my Galaxy Tab I always use Dolphin on desktop mode to get the full experience. If I wanted a partial experience I would have gotten myself an iPhone.

        Sad to see this in the States. Here in my home country the idea of paying for tethering would have received public condemnation. Our version of the FCC is weak in many areas, but when it comes to certain things, I'd give them the thumbs up. For example, carriers are not allowed to carrier-lock their phones as it is considered anti-competitive behavior here, and all DVD players have to be region-free. Unfortunately some things are not regulated and special phone+data plans are forced onto consumer wishing to get discounts for specific mobile devices (iOS and specific Android phones) that requires subscribers to pay through their nose.

        • Started with the G1

          "If I wanted a partial experience I would have gotten myself an iPhone."

          Love ^that^. You should check out Skyfire if you haven't already. I keep both on my phone, but even with Flash 10.2 I've found the video capability of Skyfire the to give the best balance of picture quality, speed and reliability.

  • Dave

    Can still install it here in Canada :)

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Available fine on my EVO, but not on the XOOM or the Tbolt. I'm assuming the makers of the WiFi Tether app didn't specify this restriction, so it must have been the carrier (Verizon) or Google on behalf of the carrier in that case. Looks like AT&T and T-Mobile too, so Sprint is the only good guy left.

  • David Ruddock

    Verizon, more than anyone, has reason to clamp down on these apps, because while they offer unlimited data, their tethering plan is limited to 2GB a month. I'm sure VZW doesn't want its new Thunderbolt-toting LTE subscribers using their phone as a replacement for a mobile broadband subscription.

  • Adam

    And the carriers give us yet another reason to install custom ROMs...

  • b

    anyone know ANY programs that still work
    ? can't find any...

  • Force

    Well, just use MarketEnabler, that should work then :)

  • Paul

    Using cable tethered pdanet on xp through rooted fascinate right now with no problem. Try uninstalling Verizon USB software first.

  • derk p

    cant you just install the apk directly from the google site?

  • Mike

    Blocking in the market will keep about 80% of users who ever would try to tether from ever doing it (ie, people who think 'root' is something on a plant that's in the soil). I'm also on the fence about tethering altogether; those who use it a few times a month should be allowed to use it but those who sit there and dl 20gb of torrents a day should not be allowed to (ab)use it, or be made to pay for it.

    • Brian

      "those who sit there and dl 20gb of torrents a day should not be allowed to (ab)use it, or be made to pay for it."

      Sure, and it's also possible to download 20 gigs without tethering. In both cases they should pay for the bandwidth they use, without regard to the manner in which they're using it.

      • Chris

        It's a lot harder to burn through bandwidth on a phone, where your options are a lot more limited.

        I can't watch the things I torrent on my phone (it doesn't have the horsepower to play 720p MKV files with CCCP subtitles), so all I end up using it for are YouTube videos, e-mail, and light browsing. For the month of April, I've used only about 400 MB, versus the 3 GB I've used in two days alone on my laptop.

        From the carrier perspective, the issue isn't total bandwidth use, it's network burden. A group of people who burn through their bandwidth caps at the beginning of every billing period creates a strain on the network, slowing it down for everyone and leading to AT&T-like service.

        I'm not trying to defend the decision to pull apps from the marketplace, or charge extra for tethering features, but simply trying to explain the rationale from the carrier perspective, since bandwidth isn't simply bandwidth as some people claim, it matters when you use it and which devices are using it.

        By all means, carriers shouldn't be interfering with the Android Market, and Google shouldn't be caving in to their demands. Customers should be able to do what they want with their data, but they should also be aware how their usage habits can affect network integrity.

  • Ron H in Schenectady

    I go here to get my apk files for wireless tether:

  • sgtguthrie

    So what, we can still side load the apps. Except at&t customers of course. They could do it with adb though...

    • Ron H in Schenectady

      Very true. As I mentioned just above you, I get the apk files from that site. But this decision will certainly weed out the "less informed" who don't know about installing apks and/or adb, etc. Of course, the less informed will probably not be rooting, either.

  • Started with the G1

    I just installed PDAnet a few days ago and installed Wireless Tether on my Epic just now even though I plan to stick with PDAnet just to check on the validity of this report. Looks like the carrier(s) have asked Google to enforce it and Sprint isn't one of them.

  • Fleeing

    How strange! My stock (European) HTC Desire came with tethering as a standard option in Settings. So we haven't got Amazom Market but we do have tethering? Go figure!

  • Shadeoblac

    Thank god I'm on Sprint. You know they may not be the top network but they really do what they say their going to do. Unlimited really truly is unlimited, and although they don't like tethering their not going to stop us from doing it.
    Just a thought.... has anyone tried using market enabler to switch their network? They may be able to download it that way.

  • http://extremeshowoff.com Sener

    lol, well i just downloaded both apps, for my rooted Evo, & saving them in titanium backup. Just incase for the future, even thought most roms out come with it preinstalled...

  • Duffin

    So, people will sue Google willy-nilly for supposedly stalking them, but no one will sue these carriers for the hypocrisy that is "charging extra for tethering?"

    • Chris

      Hypocrisy, unfortunately, is not a crime under American law. Unless it involves outright slander and untrue claims, in which case it is libel. Privacy invasion, however, is a law on the books, although whether it applies in Google's case remains to be seen. I'm hoping that the case simply gets thrown out.

  • tbmaster

    Your wrong. Sprint is about making money just like all others. Maybe they are not cracking down now but when they get a 4G speed they will start (my vz 3g is faster than sprints alleged 4G.

    I have used 12GB through my handset and although I do have a rooted tb with wireless tether, I rarely use it. Maybe to submit a school assignment when I'm in a bind.

    The 12GB above was because I set up playon with my home desktop and used it a lot... Watched shows from my own collection, netflix movies, etc. My 3g was at nearly a stand still so I called Verizon and the lady told me they were throttleing my connection because of tethering. I explained to her I had an app available on market and been just streaming to my phone. Exchanging packets with my home server just as I would with Facebook's server while using the Facebook app.

    It's all a bunch bullshit and definitely money driven not customer needs. I mean they put out these highly capable devices develop faster networks, advertise playing or streaming hd video content etc. But then you have use their apps to do this or they raise the price and lower the cap on internet plans.

    2GB is gone after a couple netflix movies.

    • vertebra

      Lets not make this a Verizon 3G vs Sprint 4G debate. According to Speedtest the Verizon iPhone’s average download speed was 848 Kbps, and the average upload speed was 506 Kbps. My Evo consistently gets between 3000-4000Kbps with only 1 4G bar. When you upgrade your device to 4G then we will talk... oops wait, Verizon's LTE network is still down! Submitted using my tethered computer. :)

    • Started with the G1

      First, just like Vertebra, I get 3-4 Mb speeds consistently on 4g (hovers around 1.5 Mb on 3g). Second, Sprint has not lowered caps on data. I have truly unlimited data. I actually don't think Sprint's model of offering tethering for an extra $20 is a bad deal or unfair. I use Clear so I don't have to share my phone connection with my laptop and TV at the same time (4g's not THAT fast) and pay 45/mo. for the same speeds that I get on my phone.

  • Adam

    Easy response: don't tether. Don't give them the satisfaction of a single dime from being able to squeeze you for that service.

    Do people honestly need to tether anything? Use your phone if you wanna watch a movie or download it ahead of time before you go somewhere. I've used it before and its nice, but its nowhere near worth the price or hassle the big phone companies make it into.

    • Shadeoblac

      I have a nook color and a Viewsonic G-Tablet that I tether, I also have people with ipods that are always asking me for internet. I don't mind because my rooted EVO can do it no problem and I have truly unlimited data. Yes it's all about money, however; would you stay with a carrier who nickel and dimes you? Or one who bends the rules a little to keep their customers?

  • Jahf

    I never used Market to install mine anyway. It isn't that hard to load it without using Market. I agree it sucks, but it isn't that big of a deal.

  • Spencer

    Heh, I am reading this article on my lappy that is tethered right now. getting a kick out of the responses.

  • http://www.spraytancolo.com levi

    well cant we still install these via 4shared or other third party sharing sites? or we can side load these apps as well.

  • fins71

    I just flashed Fresh EVO two days ago, and it had a WiFi tether in it. I already had wireless tether for root backed up on titanium. I guess I'm glad to be on Sprint with unlimited data. Never being overcharged for using anything on my phone is nice.

  • Myqalan

    I just downloaded PdaNet directly from the market on my rooted Captivate on AT&T. So evidently this is only being blocked from installing from the online Android Market

  • MarkMcC

    What is the Cydia equivalent for Android?

    • Duffin

      Amazon, I guess?

  • vertebra

    These companies are just greedy. It's like a gym membership. A lot of people have them but only a few actually use them everyday or at all. Gyms count on that as do the carriers. The problem is the carriers were spoiled. They were charging us top dollar for much less capable devices. My Treo 650 used very little data compared to my Evo. If you want to lure us over to your network with these powerful shiny new toys you better have the network to support it. These phones are quickly replacing computers- these carriers better upgrade their networks and stop crying about it.

  • Paul

    I assume then that this won't affect people running custom ROM's like CM7? I'm running CM7 and I tether only once in a while but do so either via Wifi or USB using the stock/native/built-in tethering capabilities of Android. I don't need a custom app. So far my carrier is unable to detect when I do this, and they really shouldn't since I do this so rarely and I'm not paying $35-$45 for the 2 times a month I'll tether, but with this crack down I'm wondering what the future of tethering will be.

  • tbmaster

    I do have 4G with Verizon and it must be working just tested it at 14.7 down 8.1 up.

  • http://www.clubsei.com djb

    The carriers are trying to squeeze every penny possible out of their subscribers. This is just another example.

  • Mike

    Carriers shouldn't get away with this!

    I'm not sure what tethering apps there are as I'm in the UK and my HTC DHD comes with it built in.

    If someone could list all the tethering apps, I'll get them all and stick them somewhere for everyone to download :)

  • Mike

    Wireless Tether for Root Users


  • GergS

    Or just flash CM6/7.... it has wireless tethering built in.

  • Bc

    What about using Applanet to install wireless tether? I think it's Android Central that has a side-loading app program if you can get the .apk for the app..

  • djembeman

    I love that certain wifi only tablets will bluetooth tether to certain phones without the need for any app or root!

  • djembeman

    All I have to do is go to this site and daownload the latest stable o experimental version of the "Wireless Tether" app. http://code.google.com/p/android-wifi-tether/downloads/list

  • djembeman

    What's all this business about having to side load an app or not being able to? I just have to allow the install of non-market apps in settings. If AT&T has blocked you from doing this they are the devil!

    Droid 1, 2.2.2 Froyo rooted, 800 mHz

  • Mike

    Or you can not root and install PDANet on a Veirzon Thunderbolt and surf away to your hearts desire on 4G...lol...

    I'll suffer the crappy Blockbuster App bloatware rather than sit here and whine...

    And you ask what the differnce between tethering and data use on the phone is??? Last time I checked your laptop/computer's web browser of choice is still a bit more sophisticated than your phone's...lol.
    Hence the carrier's premium on utilizing your MOBILE PHONE's data plan for utilization by your PERSONAL COMPUTER. On Verizon you're paying $30/month for unlimited data but want a $30/month on your phone AND a $50/month for your laptop data expeirence...uhmm...sure...that makes business sense for the carriers...lol.

    But as I said, PDANet still works fine on an unrooted TBolt and any other Verizon or AT&T phone Android phone...so tether away and rob the carriers blind!

  • kevin

    I had pdanet installed on my Verizon Motorola Droid, and now all of a sudden it is gone from my phone, I went into my backup app and i can't see it there either. I tried downloading from the marketplace app and couldn't find it so then I went to the online marketplace and found it but it didn't download to my phone. How can I get it back or can I download it from some place else?

    • djembeman

      Try opening PDA net on your computer while your phone is connected. I read somewhere that it will install it on your phone.

      • kevin

        Thanks! I found the apk file while connected to my computer, I downloaded an application manager app and was able to reinstall!

        • YK

          Kevin – can you please provide more details on how you did this? The same thing happened to me (app disappeared from my Droid). Thanks for any help!!

  • YK

    Kevin - can you please provide more details on how you did this? The same thing happened to me (app disappeared from my Droid). Thanks for any help!!

  • kevin

    If you had the application backuped on your SD card, all you need to do is download an application manager app from the android market on your phone, then you can perform a search for any apk files, from there you should be able to reinstall pdanet or whatever app you had

  • Jai

    What is the difference between wireless tethering on your phone for the internet service you pay 30$ a month for, as opposed to paying for internet service at your house & using a router to emit a wi-fi signal to use how you wish for your wireless devices? Essentially you are turning your home into a "wi-fi hot spot" right? So, if your ISP for your home does not try to regulate anyone from doing this, then why the heck should a wireless carrier try to do so?

  • Jeff

    Open garden wifi tether works with some minimal effort. Bought a D2G today downloaded z4root, directly two the phone, rooted it and then installed garden wifi. Sending this message from my IPad that is tethered to my D2G.

  • Anon

    SPRINT NOW BLOCKING AS WELL - even though app had previously been PURCHASED!!! Anticompetitive! Damn Robber Barons!

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Thanks for spotting this. We'll get right on that.

  • steve

    I download the file from android tether's website. (not the market) it installed perfectly but it won't connect to my labtop, so i just download "open wifi garden tether" from the market and that works perfectly....so does any1 know how to get "android wifi tether" to work/connect?


    Is easy tether blocked for those carriers? its only 10 bucks. I use it as a back up to PDAnet on my Sprint phone because sometime PDAnet goes wacko....which I think is because Sprint is dropping my connection.

  • Ndgoblues1

    I have an HTC sense 3g thru cspire. when I go to settings, then wireless & networks & try 2 toggle "turn on usb tethering" it won't let me & says "cant turn on". Any fix around that?