Android users may now rejoice, tethering is now legal and free for Verizon Wireless subscribers!
The Federal Communications Commission started its investigation on Verizon after receiving reports that the network pressured Google into pulling and banning apps on Google Play that allows tethering, or a feature that allows one device to share their connection without getting billed. Verizon offers tethering of course, but it would cost you $20 a month in addition to your monthly plan. But people are more interested tethering for free.
In a statement made by the FCC, the commission said that Verizon have no right to block third-party tethering apps, such as Wireless Tether or PDANet, from the Android market as the C-block, 700 MHz, spectrum they purchased have rules attached to them such as Verizon “shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C-block network.” So blocking the tethering apps, Verizon is in violation of that rule. Verizon uses C-block to offer their 4G LTE to subscribers.
“The steps taken today will not only protect consumer choice, but defend certainty for innovators to continue to deliver new services and apps without fear of being blocked,” Julius Genachowski, the FCC chairman, said in the statement.
Verizon and FCC already came to a settlement with the network voluntarily paying $1.25 million to the U.S. Treasury as a result of the FCC’s consent decree on this issue. Also, they need to inform Google that they are no longer blocking these tethering apps.
The FCC consent decree only applies for Verizon subscribers because of the 700 MHz spectrum they bought so this doesn’t apply to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint subscribers.
“This case was the first of its kind in enforcing the pro-consumer open-access obligations of the C-block rules,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief P. Michele Ellison.