Last Updated: September 16th, 2012

Looks like Verizon Wireless has taken a page out of AT&T's playbook, as the latest Gingerbread update for the Droid X now seems to detect tethering apps not approved by the carrier and cut off users' data, replacing all requests with an upsale page for the official hotspot add-on. This is now the 2nd wave of attacks against free tethering, following a global carrier block (with the exception of good old Sprint) of the most popular tethering apps on the Android Market.

According to a Reddit community member with a melodic name Poop_Cooper, all data on his Droid X was suddenly cut off after he updated his Droid X to the latest Androd release and started using the popular Wireless Tether application to share his mobile connection with devices around him. All outbound requests were suddenly redirected to an upsale page prompting to purchase a $20 add-on officially authorizing tethering to the tune of measly 2GB a month. Only a reboot ended up fixing the problem, although one of the commenters suggested an airplane mode toggle as a faster revival technique.

Whether you agree with the technique or not, Verizon seems to be operating within the terms of its wireless agreement which prohibits unauthorized use of tethering:

Customers who do not have dedicated Mobile Broadband devices cannot tether other devices to laptops or personal computers for use as wireless modems unless they subscribe to Mobile Broadband Connect.

At this point, it's not immediately obvious whether such detection happens on the device itself or on the VZW network level, but all signs point to the former. If so, Android modders should have no problem coming up with a solution, neutering such detection at its root. For the latter case, even easier solutions, such as rewriting all user-agent request headers, already exist, so while either technique will likely stop an average user, the persistent ones among you will always be able to get what they want.

If you've experienced the situation described here, feel free to share your experiences and possible solutions down below; otherwise be warned - Big Red is watching you.

Source: Reddit

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • http://none.com kai99

    Hmmm... Being a Sprint customer is starting to look like a better choice everyday. Come on Sprint+Tegra2 phone

  • James

    This is old news. It has been like this since the first Gingerbread leak for the Droid X. You get the same splash page you got if you try to use the official 3G Mobile Hotspot app on Froyo.

  • D_ Nut

    I've had a BlackBerry Storm 1 since late '08. I've been using "Tether" for almost 2 years. I've been waiting on the Bionic but in the meantime, my phone crapped out last week. Since I have warranty, and no longer carry Storm 1, they sent me a Storm 2. When compared to the 1, the 2 is much much better. HOWEVER, I've been using Tether on the Storm 2 and it is slooooooow and eventually ends up stopping.

    Any thoughts?

    • pdiddy

      noone cares about ur blackberry this is about android and rooted tethering read the post and only comment if it is relevant thank you

      • derk p

        agreed. blackberries are whackberries

  • F350Bear

    If this is the way Verizon is going to be, think it is time for me to start looking at other carriers, I pay the extra $20 a month but Verizons mobile hotspot doesnt work right on my Droid X. I've called Tech Support several times, even did a reset on the 2nd call, still won't work right. It will work for 5 minutes or so then just stops. I have to turn of the hotspot, then turn it back on to get it going again. Finally I thought I'd try Barnacl and it works perfectly. If they want to force people to pay the extra money, then need to make sure it works ok.
    I for one feel since I'm paying for unlimited data I should be able to use that data however I want to.

    • MikeNasty3

      Take a look at Sprint. Wait for the Evo 3D or do what I am doing and wait for the Nexus 3. It seems like Sprint is destined to be the go to carrier for Android enthusiasts.

    • s0lidsnake

      Ignore the guy above me.
      That's really strange, try resetting your network settings. (note that this is an Android centric forum, that's why he jumped all over you)

  • Cortland1998

    PDA Net blocks the carriers from noticing. I've been using them for years.

    • MikeNasty3

      Isn't that USB tether only?

      • Kenny

        I use PDA Net and bluetooth with my ASUS Transformer and it works great.

    • Mike

      I have the latest PDAnet v3.0 as a backup because it is USB but you can install the TBH .apk for the OEM Hotspot app and use the Wifi hotspotting for free also. I have been using it forever and have has no issues.

  • achilles

    Until a solution is found, just stay in froyo!

  • Mark

    I miss the days of my G1 when tethering was no problem whatsoever and unlimited was, well, TRULY UNLIMITED!

    • js

      Note that was t-mobile.

  • Topgun

    Sprint is the way to go. They are lovin this

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

    This calls for a class action lawsuit. If we are paying for unlimited data, we should have the right to use it to tether, use the phone as a wifi hotspot, etc., using whatever app we deem fit.

    • Topgun

      There is only one company that gives TRUE unlimited data that is not metered, throttled etc and that is Sprint. Trust me, VZ and the others covered their asses good in the TOS and EULA's. There is fine print there somewhere

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

        Indeed. Somewhere? How about right in the post above? :-]

    • Jim

      Wish it were that easy :(

      Will never happen tho..

  • lincthra

    Yeah, see, while Sprint IS making a strong Android showing, I've been with them in the past and cannot stomach their horrible attempt at Customer Service nor their shady billing practices. At one point I had their DSL. I finished out my service, had it shut off and moved out of the state. A few years later I tried to get Sprint something else, only to discover they kept on charging me for a YEAR after the fact, while making no attempts to bother telling me, and while the service went completely unused. The most they were willing to do was halve the small fortune they said I owed them. Ever since then, Sprint has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    • Topgun

      ALOT has changed. They have done a complete 180. You are talking about things from many many years ago. Let it go. Everyone agrees Sprint is amazing now. They will do anything for their customers to make them happy.

      • Deltaechoe

        I wouldn't really say they've done a complete 180. I was doing the trial with them a few months ago and wasn't particularly pleased with the coverage I had at my house so I returned the EVO I bought and had them "cancel" the plan. I put that in quotes because it wasn't really cancelled and i was billed for an ETF, and 2 months of service when I only had the phone for a week. They started threatening to send a collection agency after me if I didn't pay and only ended up dropping the charges when I threatened to put together a somewhat large lawsuit against their billing practices. This company still has trouble following the rules.

        Also, when it comes to the Big Red blocking tethering, there are always going to be devs that find a way around it. Considering how many ridiculously good hackers we have working for us over at XDA (thank you devs btw, you make it easy to play with our phones), tether app detection will probably not be a problem for very long.

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

      Indeed - Sprint's Wireless division is night and day compared to what it used to be. I get a live human who always solves any problems (not that I've had them for the last few years), and not outsourced to some foreign country either.

  • jose martinez

    I have mt4g with tmo as my carrier. My phone has the feature hotspot but everytime, I try to use it, tmo detected that I am using it and sends my a message, that I have to pay $15 extra for wireless tethering, when I have the so called "unlimited " plan.

  • Guy P

    Are we talking about USB tethering of wifi hotspots? Can you still USB tether on Gingerbread using PDA Net?

  • http://www.sprint.com Sprint Employee

    I agree with my fellow Sprint employees, I mean users. Sprint is the way to go now. If you sign up now, tell them we sent you so we can get our sales bonus.

  • richardyarrell

    Without question SPRINT is the carrier to be on today and the future as far as android is concerned. UMLIMITED IS UNLIMITED AT SPRINT...Not metered or capped or throttled all those things happening on other carriers. The best android lineup smartphone or tablet wise BELONGINGS TO SPRINT..Plain and simple if your not rolling with the now network then your STUCK IN A LARGE DITCH....

  • Android Ninja 4

    Ok I am a Sprint customer and dont have this problem at the present time, but i really hope it does not come to this carrier. What i really dont understand is that i pay Sprint for Unlimited EVERYTHING.....I MEAN EVERYTHING. I even have to pay a dam $10/month because of a preimum data charge. So anyway if i want to use my UNLIMITED DATA the right way, i am spose to pay them an extra $30/month so i can tether my phone, even thought i probably use it like once or twice in a 3 month period. Like seriously everyone else but Sprint right now are just f'ed up. I understand that they have a data cap on other carriers, but why dont they just cut off your data when u hit that cap, instead of making you pay more for something that u have the data for. Idk i dont get it, but hopefully Sprint just continues what its doing, and does not block us anytime soon with this crap.

  • http://none James Hill

    Why is everyone comparing Verizon to Sprint? Its like apples and oranges people. The reason people pick Verizon is because they want RELIABLE and FAST data connections. Wimax is PATHETIC! LTE is the future of wireless data and Verizon has come forward to make it possible.

    Sprint's network is no where near the quality of Verizon's. Thats why people stay with them. As far as tethering goes, its in the freaking TOS people. Thethering your phone with outside software is against their TOS agreement that YOU SIGNED. Go to sprint and enjoy their crappy service if you agree differently. Data is truly unlimited when you use it on your phone, like the contract states. Verizon HAS NO DATA CAPS, stop spreading misinformation. Tiered data in the future is possible, but right now its UNLIMITED and will stay that way for customers who stay with Verizon. I figure i can hold out for unlimited LTE by the time 5g comes around.

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

      I thought so too until I tried Verizon's Thunderbolt here in the Bay Area, and after I/O the 3g/4g portable hotspot. They were so flaky when commuting, I could not stand to use them, even on 3g. At least with Sprint I get consistent signal, rather than no signal at all and constant drops.

  • Mike

    Anyone who thinks their unlimited data plan on their phone entitles them to freely tether is SORELY mistaken.

    You are paying for unlimited data to be utilized by your SMARTPHONE, not to be utilized by your laptop or home PC via your smartphone.

    BIG difference there. As the web experience, streaming, etc. is obviously more robust and much more satisfying than on your smartphone. Additionally, if you live alone and are in an LTE area, you really no longer need to pay for home internet service as LTE gives you better down and up speeds.

    The carriers are well aware of this and aren't going to bankrupt their ISPs because people think they are entitled to whatever they want.

    Even playing by the rules, you still come out ahead. Pay $20 for the mobile hotspot if you're in a LTE area and cancel your $45-50 a month ISP.

    That being said I use PDANet and surf Verizon's LTE network like it is my job...lol.

    And the above posters are correct, I do not believe Verizon can detect you are using PDANet..except for the circumstantial evidence you are sucking loads of data. Been using the program since my early Treo 650 days...

  • J

    Been running Gingerbread leaked version for a while. This problem was uncovered months ago. Assuming you're rooted, just get the TBH patched hotspot apk and you're good to go . Now on the latest rooted official OTA and it still works fine.

  • t

    Is anyone still able to use pdanet after the 2.3 update on a droid x?

  • chad

    I was able to use PDAnet until this week. Now my data connection stops as soon as i ther to my pc. I have to restart my phone to get my data connection back.