Free Android tethering apps now blocked by nearly every US carrier
Android users who have been depending on free tethering are finding themselves blocked out of such apps, as most major US carriers have made moves to block access. Tests by several technology sites and blogs indicate most of these apps now fail to work, or are being made harder to find.
While the apps have not disappeared from the Android Market, attempting to download them to your device results in the message "this item is not available on your carrier." Both AT&T and T-Mobile had been blocking access to these apps for some time now, however Verizon has begun to also block such downloads.
Blogs like This is My Next report that the blocks appear to only affect US carriers, meaning Google is likely actively working with these carriers to prevent customers from tethering through Android.
Sprint is the only carrier that has yet to take any action. It's not clear why the carrier has decided to continue to allow customers to tether, although it has made a big deal about its unlimited data plans which could be a possible explanation.
With the carriers aggressive moves to stop illicit tethering, customers are now forced to sign up for official options which range between $15 to $20 per month. While iPhone users may still be able to use a jailbroken phone to tether, AT&T specifically has begun to crack down here (and those messages have been received by some Android users, too).
Those caught tethering have received text messages telling the customer to either stop tethering or be automatically enrolled in one of the carrier's tethering plans.