Updated: Are AT&T, Verizon blocking the Android Wireless Tether app?
An Android app called Wireless Tether that allows Android users to tether their Android smartphones cannot be downloaded from the Android Market to Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) handsets, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and both operators confirmed.
DroidLife was able to find the app via the browser-based Android market, but it doesn't appear in the Android Market.
Spokeswomen from both operators referred specific questions about the app's availability to Google. A spokesman for Google said while it is not blocking the app in Android market, it is making it unavailable for download at the request of wireless carriers. The spokesman added that if an application is in direct violation of the terms and conditions of a usage contract, a carrier can request Google make the app unavailable, and Google will regulate those. These types of apps likely violate the terms and conditions of data usage contracts, he said.
Neither Verizon Wireless nor AT&T Mobility would say whether they asked Google to make the tethering app unavailable, they only confirmed that their Android subscribers don't have access to it.
AT&T Mobility has already been cracking down on subscribers who tether their smartphones without subscribing to a tethering plan. The operator has been notifying users who have been connecting their laptops without subscribing to the $20 smartphone tethering plan that they need to start paying up or stop using their phones as modems.
AT&T said if an offending subscriber continues to use tethering without paying the additional fee, the operator will automatically charge the subscriber for usage. AT&T's tethering plans cost $20 for 4 GB of data when a customer already subscribes to smartphone data plan.
- see this DroidLife post
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Updated May 5, 2011; 4:30 ET