If you're a current or prospective T-Mobile customer and you're partial to using that data connection for more than one device at a time, there's good news. The gents at TmoNews got their hands on an internal memo that outlines bumps in T-Mobile's tethering policies that went into effect yesterday. Before yesterday, the $70 unlimited data plan included 500MB of of Smart Phone Mobile Hotspot (tethered data) and an option for a $30 2.5GB add-on.
Stock Android has had built-in tethering since version 2.2 way back in 2010, but most carrier-branded devices in the US have the option disabled. Sure, there are root apps and various workarounds, but they can be a mess. If you don't need web access, but want your devices on a local network, you're often out of luck. A new app from well-known developer Chainfire gives you back some control (on some devices), and it doesn't require root.
The rumors were true and now T-Mobile has launched its new, simplified, contract-free plans. Starting at $50/month for unlimited talk and text with 500MB of high-speed data (throttled, but sans overage fees after that), the new services allow customers to forget about counting minutes and messages and focus solely on data. This could be good or bad news, depending on your usage, but perhaps the most important aspect of these new plans is that you can get them without a 2-year commitment.
I'm going to be up front: I want Glass. I'm thoroughly intrigued with the idea, I love the possibility of having an always-available camera that sees whatever I see, and completely hands-free Google sounds like a perfectly natural progression of the things like Google Now and voice actions. In the world where personal digital assistants seem commonplace, why should we not expect those things to be always accessible and visible?
Well, apparently there are a lot of reasons.
Remember the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the HTC Sensation 4G that we told you about yesterday? Turns out that it does more than just bring ICS - it also kills free tethering.
Wait, what? T-Mobile had free tethering? Technically, no. But in reality, yes. Here's how it used to work: T-Mobile offered a tethering service for around $15 per month. Somehow, though, there was a "technical limitation" that actually prevented them from charging for the service on Android devices (though Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T have never had a problem taking our money for the same thing).
Almost one full year ago, carriers threw the gauntlet down on tethering applications in the Play Store. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile were among the first to lay down the banhammer, with Sprint following soon after.
Here we are, a year later and guess what? Version 3 of the infamous Wi-Fi Tether for Root Users app just hit the Play Store, sans carrier restrictions. Of course, this is only because carriers haven't yet found out about the app; when they do, however, you better believe its availability will quickly be laid to rest - so you better grab before it's gone.
T-Mobile UK just announced the plan to kill all plans for our brothers and sisters across the pond. It's called The Full Monty and it's everything that you could possibly want in a mobile plan - unlimited calls, texts, data, and tethering all for one price.
The plan has four different variants, each of which is mostly differentiated by applicable devices. Here's a quick overview of what it looks like:
If you notice, the most affordable plan is also the one available on the widest variety of devices, but it also has one hindrance compared to the other choices: it only offers 2,000 talk-time minutes to networks other than T-Mo.
At one point, tethering was a simple process - installing a program from the Android Market would enable the feature and you were good to go. Of course, carriers didn't like this, because instead of paying them an extra $30(ish) a month to use their hotspot service, you were gaining access to the feature for free. So they had many tethering apps pulled from the Market. Not only that, but many carriers put a block directly on devices that disallowed the use of common tethering apps.
A few months ago AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all started blocking wireless tethering apps in the Android Market, making them unavailable for download on their respective devices. At that time, Sprint was the only carrier still allowing tethering apps to be installed without limitation -- but that time has come to an end. That's right, the Now Network has begun blocking the installation of wireless tethering apps from the Market on any device attached to its network.