PDAnet; Android Market web install

It appears that Verizon and AT&T are serious about not wanting you to use your current data plan for tethering, as they have blocked access to popular applications that enable it on the Android Market.  There's a bit of conflicting information out there, as a few other sites have reported that all carriers, or that other carriers have done the same.  We've found that T-Mobile and Sprint haven't blocked them, but Verizon and AT&T have, as shown in the image above.

It's no big surprise.  To your carrier, tethering is something you are supposed to pay extra for, and that's in the agreement you signed.  Using apps like PdaNet goes against that agreement, and they have every right to block them.  Even if we don't much like it.  It's their service after all, we're just lowly users.

The good news is that they can't block sideloading.  You can certainly find those same apps at the developer's website(s), and download them and install easily.  On a Verizon phone, just save it to your SD card and install from there, on an AT&T phone use the Sideload Wonder Machine and you'll be fixed right up.  There's also native tethering built into Android 2.2 and higher, as well as USB modem functions on many phones, built right into the OS.  And of course, if you root and hack at it, anything is possible on most any phone.  The option is still out there, it's just not quite as easy.

Update: As several have mentioned, it's quite possible to keep carriers from meddling with your Android Market experience.  If you have an AT&T phone, you can pop the SIM card out and use Wifi to browse the Market; and enabling Airplane Mode, then turning on Wifi works for both AT&T and Verizon phones.

More information here: Android Central forums Thanks, John, and everyone else who sent this in!

 

Reader comments

Verizon and AT&T blocking tethering apps from the Android Market

54 Comments

I think what would really be cool is if Google bought Sprint (since they already seem to be becoming buddies). Sprint already has the infrastructure and is one of the more lenient cell phone providers in the U.S.

"On a Verizon phone, just save it to your SD card and install from there"

or if you're really paranoid, save it to your Dropbox and install from there.

Why not download the Wi-Fi Tether .apk from Google's Code site? it works PERFECTLY. And allow for MAC address blocking which none of the others do?!?!?

Oh well.

Another great and wondrous enjoyment we T-Mobile users will have once ATT becomes our parent company.

Another reason we don't want AT&T to buy T-Mobile. AT&T and Verizon are in bed together. AT&T is the wife and Verizon is the husband and whatever the wife wants the husband does, because Verizon is his biotch!

I thought you have to be rooted in order to tether? I recently upgraded my phone to HTC EVO Shift : I can allow hotspot for 2 devices free or 8 if I pay the extra charge. But prior to upgrading I was under impression I would've had to root in order to have that ability.

you have to be rooted to Wirelessly tether, but not tether with a USB cable from your phone to your internet capable device (when coupled with an app)

with an app like PDAnet, you run the app & run the PDAnet software on your computer while connecting the phone to the laptop via USB cable & you can surf the net with your phone's signal.

How many years is it going to take for carriers to realize that this is obnoxious? The situation is a little different with Verizon but on AT&T I'm paying for a 2gb chunk of data. What I do with that data is none of their business and it's maddening that they try to charge me for something that I can do on my own. AT&T TETHERING IS NOT AN ADDED SERVICE THAT THEY ARE PROVIDING ME, QUIT TRYING TO BE MORE THAN THE PIPE.

I think this is great. The one and only solid reason that carriers are telling manufacturers to lock down bootloaders (hello verizon and motorola) is because rooted users (me) take advantage of the ability to essentially steal service. I would gladly give up wireless tethering if it meant that new phones will be free and open for development. Hopefully this is a give and take scenario and not just verizon taking.

WTF? "essentially steal service". Just because carriers want to charget you twice for the same bits doesn't mean you are stealing if you are already paying for xx number of GBs.

It's people like you who repeat the "stealing" mantra from the carriers that ruin it for the rest of us.

If I pay for 2 GB per month it should not matter how I use that data. Same with voice. I'm betting if the carriers said you had to pay extra for Bluetooth or speaker-phone while on a voice call you'd be all for that too I guess huh?

And where the heck is our roll-over data?

You answered your own question...you pay for unlimited data on your PHONE, exactly. If you are using your phone for wifi in your house or whatnot, you are stacking more and more devices on verizons bandwidth and therefore decreasing the amount which they can dish out. And these devices are unknown to them so they cannot plan for this extra data usage. Just playing the Devil's advocate because I use the wireless tether on my rooted Incredible all the time. But I can see where the companies are coming from.

I paid for unlimited (or limited) data PERIOD.

If you buy gas for your car, are you forbidden to transfer some into your wifes car, or the lawn mower?

With almost every carrier imposing bandwidth caps, there is simply no rational argument to limit tethering.

The example of gas is completely different; after you buy it, the way in which you use it has no reciprocal effect on the company...they have already earned the most money they can out of it. With data, if you are using more than they expect you to on average (computers, consoles, whatever else you are tethering) you are using the data they expected you to use on your phone PLUS the additional. This is data which they could be allocating to some other cause to make money on, but instead it is being sucked away for free.

True, but technically they do because it states in your contract that unauthorized data transfer is strictly prohibited and can void your agreement. And I know, I'm just having fun with you guys. I actually had to write a pretty lengthy paper on just this subject earlier in the year..."The true meaning of unlimited data: the future of cellphone monopolies" pretty interesting behind the scenes subject matter.

But if they have capped you at 2gb and you don't always use that you don't get money back. Just like going over on minutes. This is ridiculous.

If you do a little tethering to your xoom but are still under 2gb then what's the problem? And if you go over they shut you down or hit you for overage. I don't see how they lose. Sprint still has unlimited (which is why I'm a happy evo user) and they aren't blocking these things. Plus att and big red already charge more every month. I would never willingly go back to either of them.

The reason the carriers are trying to charge for tethering has nothing to do with protecting their networks. They do it because they want you to buy one of the mobile broadband services for your Notebook/Netbook.

When home routers first came out, Comcast tried to charge people for every device behind the router. It didn't fly. Similarly, the carriers are going to have to learn the hard way that this policy is anti-consumer and we won't stand for it. This will happen if their mobile broadband division withers and dies. We should boycott those services whenever possible and encourage others to do so as well.

Sucked away for free?

You had the stones to put that in your post? What, is someone else paying your cell bill for you or something?

We pay for a capped data plan. Nothing is being sucked for free just because I want to read this blog on my computer rather than my cell phone and need to tether.

No one has put forth any believable data to show that those who tether use more data than those who don't.

I said "from my phone" Mr. Devils advocate :) and sure I can kind of see it too but they ask a ridiculous amount of money to pretty much transfer your data from a 4" screen to a 10" screen.

That said, I only use D=Barnacle when I am on vacation and don't have a wireless option. They're gonna have to pry Barnacle from my cold dead device if they want it off though.

Bad analogy. Tethering doesn't allow more devices to attach to the wireless provider, it's like adding people to the car, or pulling a trailer.

It's still your phone, and your phone only, attached to Verizon (or AT&T).

You will NEVER use more bandwidth than what one phone allows.

In regards to the gas analogy, if you buy a fixed amount of gas for your car, once you pay for it, you are certainly free to use it for other purposes if you want.

However, suppose you have an agreement with your local gas station to have a pump installed at your house with unlimited gas for your car, and you pay a fixed amount each month for it. Would it be ok, since you have "unlimited" gas for your car, to have other members of your family come and fill up as well without paying extra?

Except, unlimited in this case is not really unlimited.

If you paid for unlimited gas and the guy really capped you at 200 gallons, it would be reasonable for you to spread the gas around so that you can maximize your investment.

Mmm,
I've seen a few people report that they can download the app by putting their phone in Airplane Mode, then using wifi to access & download the app from the Market..

I'm on Sprint with an Epic4G, so I can't offer any viability to this, but it's worth a shot!:D

I understand Verizon doing this, but not At&t. Verizon customers, you're being greedy. It's like going to an "all you can eat" restaurant. Then only pay for one person, but bring two other people to share you're "unlimited" food.

Trust me, you don't want to get involved in this discussion. You'll hear every ridiculous analogy there is to try and justify their actions.

Ultimately, they are knowingly violating their contract and don't care.

Run away. Run away now.

RIIIIGHT! Greedy...

Look, here is the problem with your comment. I have paid for an "Unlimited" (which Verizon apparently defines, right now, at "about" 5GB) data plan. The key word is "I". Now there are times when I cannot get access to a wi-fi location and would like to use my laptop. The easiest, most convenient way to tether the two is via wi-fi. The times I do it are rare.

Frankly, if Verizon wants to curb heavy users, then they should charge, say, $10/GB ($20 for 2GB and $10/GB after that?) and just let it go at that. Fair for everyone, IMO.

I only use about 500MB/month. I pay for 10+ times that, with no roll over, so Verizon is stealing that extra data from ME! Hey, Verizon, try something like selling the data in blocks and maybe I'll buy it as needed. :)

For that matter, I would hazard a guess that VERY FEW people (1 out of 10K, 100K?) would open up an open wifi hotspot for just anyone to use and cut into THEIR ~5GB (or less in the future).

Also:

http://forum.androidcentral.com/htc-thunderbolt/81234-fyi-verizon-law-no...

FYI, this is nothing new. AT&T has been blocking tethering apps from the Android Market for at least a year now, possibly since they first started selling Android phones. Tethering apps are also the most likely reason AT&T doesn't allow installing non-Market apps. Hopefully no one believes that spiel about it being for the security of their users.

Yawn.....being in a 4g area with unlimited data on evo is a beautiful thing. I wouldn't leave Sprint for those two android communist carriers if they gave me half off the damn bill every month. While yall are fussing away my evo is may not be champ it was a year ago, but looks like it still wins a round or two against all comers. No worries...by end of next month looks like another year being #1. Hmmm somebody pass me data cable so I can connect my laptop. Nvm i'll just wifi it. If I fall asleep while streaming a movie everynight wtf cares right?

for years vzw has been telling reps to state 5 gb data on device, and 15.00 for mbb (mobile broadband).

call centers have terabytes worth of storage for the incoming calls to be kept for 'training and development' of the reps. they are recording, just accept it.

as to 'unlimited'...ever stop to think what that word really means?

most people read it to mean no limit on the top-end ... loaves and fishes type of thinking. limits are on the bottom end too.

ever hear of a band called the sex pistols?

they signed a contract with a company for an unlimited supply of albums with royalties and such, but when it came right down to it, the company pressed very few of the recordings, thus the band was starved for sales/revenue/market share. when the contract was fulfilled, the band left for another company, and wrote the song 'EMI' based on that experience. quite an angry song, the words are easier to hear on the version found on 'the great rock n roll swindle' but the energy is on the 'never mind the bollocks' release.

recap- unlimited can mean as much, or as little as wanted.

"To your carrier, tethering is something you are supposed to pay extra for, and that's in the agreement you signed. Using apps like PdaNet goes against that agreement, and they have every right to block them. Even if we don't much like it. It's their service after all, we're just lowly users."

Huh? Do you also lobby against Net Neutrality for the big telcom companies in your spare time? They "have every right to block them". This is the most pro-carrier statement I have seen on an Android blog to date.

In my opinion, they don't have any right to block access to apps in the Market. In fact, I'm shocked they are able to do this. I was under the impression that only Google could block apps from being seen in the Market, or Devs who must filter their apps for older versions of the OS.

Not to mention that the airwaves are, firstly, owned by the people of the US. Yes, they are auctioned off, but the auctions are for a fixed period of time and with conditions. Conditions, all of which I might add, that the carriers are not following.

Ahh, isn't a plutocracy wonderful? Especially if you can get the populace to drink the "everything is OK if a business does it" "Koolaid"?

Reference your comment that "enabling Airplane Mode, then turning on Wifi works for both AT&T and Verizon phones." It definitely doesn't appear to work on my Verizon phone. Same results as when accessing through 3G wireless...PDANet does not appear in the market search results. Thoughts?

I noticed this morning that VZW released an update to their MyVerizon app. I haven't installed the update, wondering if it includes some kind of sniffer that detects what software I'm running and if I'm using unauthorized tethering. I think they could figure that out just by monitoring my data streams, but software monitoring would be a way they could flag accounts to scrutinize. The screen shots in the market show that in addition to it showing your voice, text, and data usage, it now also shows tethered data usage. One of the screen captures shows an alert notifying the user that (s)he has exceeded the allotment.

I don't see how tethering is in their right when you are using YOUR OWN data you are ALREADY paying for! This is robbery on their part and a scam to rob the consumer. We should get a petition together and send it to congress! We should sue the carriers for this sham and let them see!!!!