Sorry T-Mobile Users, Free Tethering Ending with ICS Update

Yesterday we told you how tomorrow will come with a sweet update for your Sensation 4G device and that the Amaze 4G device would be seeing its update “in the coming weeks.” While this is exciting in itself the secondary news following it isn’t so much. Those of you that have been using T-Mobile‘s free tethering on your devices will no longer be able to do so after you update. This suggests that a $14.95 a month tethering plan will be mandatory should you wish to have the ICS update and the hotspot tethering options.

This was made clear in the Sensation upgrade support document and said the following:

 “HTC Sensation 4G will be required to add Wi-Fi Mobile Hotspot feature in order to use the service after completing this update.”

The difference between the Sensation 4G and Amaze 4G documents is that that quote is missing out of the Amaze 4G documentation. Although users have reported that T-Mobile is blocking the WiFi tethering feature on that very device. The confusion arrived in the fact that although T-Mobile has always charged $14.95 per month officially for a tethering option some users have been able to use this service freely. A T-Mobile representative had this to say:

“T-Mobile began offering a Smartphone Mobile Hotspot plan in November 2010. However, due to technical limitations with software, customers were not being charged for the feature on select T-Mobile products. Customers who choose to upgrade their HTC Sensation 4G to the optional Android 4.0 (ICS) software update will be required to sign up for the $14.99 Smartphone Mobile Hotspot plan.”

Other users were given a kind of grace period for this feature. A T-Mobile customer support representative wrote this last year:

“T-Mobile may not immediately block you from Wi-Fi sharing until it is verified that you are using your device as a modem…and at that time you may be blocked and then required to purchase a feature to continue using it. That said, there may be a period of time where you are able to tether without having the feature added on the account.”

While you won’t be charged to upgrade to the latest flavor of Android you will be charged monthly should you want to continue to use this service. While rooted users are able to use various WiFi tethering apps of their own and both ClockworkMod Tethering and FoxFi brings root free tethering to dvices, this may not be as big of a sting as it could be. However those apps can lead to risk of being caught and your data plan being changed, dropped, etc. With that being said, the update is still on for tomorrow, it’s just that you may need to find other tethering options if you don’t feel like dropping $14.95 a month.


source: T-Mobile Support Docs
via: PC Mag

About the Author: Jack Holt

Jack is a tech enthusiast who is surviving small-town Wyoming. He's a newspaper editor by trade and a blogger for fun. His phone of choice is the Galaxy Note 4 and when he's not tinkering on that, he can be found researching new tech and wondering if his wallet can sustain a new tech purchase. When he's not in front of a computer, he's out in the mountains with his dog exploring the wilderness.

  • poster

    Wow, just wow. Talk about greed at work.
    An extra $15 for no extra work on T-Mobile’s part.

    T-Mobile and a few other American Network customers are really getting the short end of the stick with this one.

  • byno

    I feel like that’s not that bad at all. I’m on Cricket, and I can pay $10.00 per month for tethering, which includes wireless tethering, at average speeds of 1.5 mbps. For $15, you can tether your connection at average speeds of 10.0 mbps or more. What most people are failing to realize is that the carriers are imposing caps or usage limits on their data because more and more people are using more and more data and there’s only so much to go around at any given time. Usage limits are different from caps in that they only slow your connection instead of cutting it off once you reach the limit. Let’s do an example: Jimmy has a cell phone tower (not sure why, but just try to imagine lol) and he has a maximum bandwidth of 40mbps. He has 4 people that use his tower at any given point in time and they have connection speeds “up to” 15mbps. If all 4 people are using the tower at the same time, they won’t get the “up to” speed because there’s not enough bandwidth available, hence the “up to” crap in most carriers’ advertisements. Let’s take this a step further and say that Johnny uses his phone frequently as a hotspot for his game system. A smartphone is designed from the conception to use as little data as possible to complete tasks, but a game system, or computer, is not. So he’s using all 15 mbps at all times, because of his PS3. Now, the other 3 nameless people aren’t getting anything close to what they were advertised would be available when Johnny is gaming. Now, let’s expand the number of people and bandwidth and people using their phone for tethering on a variety of devices. All of a sudden, you have people using their CELL PHONE internet connection in place of a true internet connection and having a negative impact on other customers’ service. There has to be some kind of safeguard in place to ensure that the power users can’t use all the power. If you want the best, you have to pay for it (sometimes). If you truly want a mobile internet solution, look into Clear or a similar provider that offers a dedicated mobile hotspot. That way, you can use your phone AND computer at the same time and get a better average connection speed with a usage limit that is much higher, or even better, non-existent.

    • JimmyHavok

      The faster the connection, the more users can actually be accommodated, since most network use is sporadic downloads of web pages. Of course, a couple of video addicts can easily spoil the party…

  • Paul

    I paid for my phone and all its features when I bought it…I also pay for the data every month with my plan…please explain to me how they can make us pay for something we already purchased??? Guess its time to move to another carrier!!!

  • Evan

    Unlucky lol.. get a prepaid and avoid the hassle and bullshit. Have an Evo 4G with tethering widget flashed to boost, using in pensacola, florida. 4G isn’t available but after workimg for AT&T for a year I’m so glad that I chose prepaid.. speed is an afterthough when your bill is $45 a month..

  • Arnan Zulic

    yep I used to own this device but had alllooot of bad luck with it. I just dont get why if I am paying (unlimited everything) premium price of aprox 104 a month, do I have to pay even more now for tethering. I understand that it costs them to run the network, but HELL I AM ALREADY PAYING OUT THE A$$ FOR DATA SERVICE. Especially being a so called loyal TMOBILE customer since 2002. I just dont understand such greed other the they need to feed some unecessary rich corporate freak with corporate pay salary. These prices are getting outrageous more and more every day and someting should be done about it. You cant just come one day (before they ever knew tether was going to be a hotspot) and block tethering and jack up already jacked up prices without me resigning the contract. That is some shady business that NOT ONLY TMOBILE IS DOING BUT EVERY OTHER CARRIER IS USING SAME VERIZON STARED PLAN FOR TETHER BLOCKING. Wish everyone would start a petition on this and fight this outrageous idiotic plan that the carriers are taking advantage of the todays already hurting economy. Just makes me sick that more and more money goes in their corporate pockets and less and less in ours.