T-Mobile Says Tethering Not Permitted, Will Support In The Near Future

I’m sure the following news will make a good amount of you that use your handset to tether unhappy, especially considering the news last week of Magenta reducing its data cap to 5GB. T-Mobile has released a new statement to employees reminding them that according to T-Mobile Terms & Conditions, using a phone as a modem or tethering a phone is prohibited. Magenta claims that customers using their handsets to tether use a lot more data (obviously) and current T-Mobile data plans are not priced accordingly. Before you start venting in the comments, T-Mobile states that it understands that subscribers are interested in this feature and are working on a solution in the near future. Our ninjas tell us that T-Mobile will start offering tethering packages to customers as early as November. As usual, we’re digging for more details! Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments!

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  • Riopato

    Tethering works fine on my Dash 3G and on my sis’s HD2 so what’s the big deal?

    • 313dash

      Thank you! They already sell phones that come with tethering so whats the big deal!

  • D Griffin

    The big deal is that they’re not charging us through the nostrils like everybody else, and they’re probably worried that if they don’t disallow tethering, the new 4G network will get crushed ala’ iPhone.

    • Riopato

      I can understand the whole issue with burdening the network if they allow it but I believe that a small percentage actually tether and the whole tethering debate is a non issue. Not everybody lugs around their laptop and to those that do should be better off using a wireless broadband card. If the carriers just wise up and truly promote their wireless broadband either by offering really fast speeds or cheaper rates, they won’t have to worry of burdening their phone network. And for the few that do use their phones as modems, they should have that luxury as a free service. It’s not that they are going to use it like regular broadband, it’s still too slow for pc surfing. Also the fastest connection you can possibly get is via windows mobile and active sync when tethering! And winmo is dead anyway. Even tethering via blackberry is like using dsl at 128k at most!
      I’d rather see phones with built in mifi like technology! This way carriers can attach wireless broadband service into cellular accounts instead of having two separate accounts. Again, they need to have cheaper rates to make this work. Who can afford a $100/mo cellular service and have an additional $60/mo broadband service on top!

      • Justin

        uhh have you heard of the Droid X, Facsinate Droid 2 etc? these provide MIFI experience for 20 extra per month.

      • Michael Lococo

        I had a power outage a few weeks ago and the kids were bored waiting for it to come back on… I fired up my 18.5″ laptop and tethered to my HD2… we were streaming Netflix in 1080p just fine for a couple of hours before the power came back. I’m sure it is much greater than 128k… Must be the blackberry. Windows Mobile was made for this… tethering is second nature.

  • orge

    does that mean PdaNet will not be allowed as well???

    • Darnell

      Looks like they are “saying” it’s not, but they’re not saying they’ll dump you if you use it. You’ve got the 5GB data limit.

  • Darnell

    If they didn’t want anyone to tether, they should not have included an app on the HD2 that does it.

    • Riopato

      That’s not an app on the HD2. That’s a built in feature for all windows mobile devices.

    • JB6464

      And when they originally sold the TP2 and HD2 the Corporate Manager stated you can tether with those phones. Even when i called CS @ T-Mobile they said if i have a Windows Mobile phone i could tether. They don’t support it, but won’t cancel your plan for doing it either.

  • Spokker

    Apparently the next big thing is 3G/4G in cars, in that your car is going to have a sim card so you can listen to Internet radio and put on video in the backseat for the kids. Enjoy it for 5 days per month.

    Why are these companies promoting such bandwidth intensive activities when they clearly can’t handle it?

  • BobbyPhoenix

    Nexus One works well with it. Use it sometimes, but not a lot. Hmm. I wonder if they know that?

    • Riopato

      That’s a good point! How can they possibly know weather you are tethering or not!?! Smartphone’s appeal is that you can do stuff on it as if you can do it on a computer! What’s the difference between using skyfire or oprea and going into a flash site on your phone instead of using you laptop and regular browser? It’s the same info being transfered.

      • Edward351

        Its unlikely that they can tell you are tethering. What will probably happen is a lower data cap, or different capped data plans ala AT&T and Verizon. That’s why the cap was probably recently lowered; all the new Vibrant users plus the G2 with faster access is probably consuming a lot more data than the network previously had to push. They can’t tell how you are using so much data, they can just tell that you are using so much data which will effect pricing. Right now if you want the data only service that comes with a data only device it’s $40/mo with the crappy 5GB throttling cap. You basically get a $10 discount by getting it with a phone. I think they’re trying to get that $10 back even if you already have a phone device.

  • breakdown

    If anyone had actually read the ‘terms and conditions’ on their tmo data plan…. they haven’t officially allowed tethering for a long time. Hopefully the new data cap is the only thing that changes… no way i’m paying for some lame, crippled tethering package

    • some internet dude

      just root your phone and tether all you want, they cant even update your phone if they wanted too. no way to prove you are tethering.

      sent from tethered Nexus One, now with 720p vid and FM tuner. Android Rules.

      • Jake

        People like you streaming 720p videos caused this whole thing.

  • swampthing81

    Thy can tell if your tethering ask a verizon employee they can tell u cause they charge u extra 10 dollars a month to do it and don’t lie to people about tetthering only has a speed of 128k cause we don’t use edge any more ever herd of 3G it supports speeds in my area in austin of 1.18Mbps and I know we arnt the fastest in the nation. They already have me mad about the data caps if they charge for this I’m leaving tmobile

    • JB6464

      No They can’t at T-Mobile. All they see is data being used from their network to your device. They know how your using but they can’t see what your doing,only the amount being used.
      If you stay under the 5GB cap which is what your Now able to use,there shoud’nt be any problems. But we’ll see.

    • PittsburghG1

      They can’t tell. The only reason Verizon can do that is because people use the VZ Connect or whatever. So Verizon can tell because you are using their software.

      If you are using PdaNet or a rooted device, there is no way to tell. Data is data.

    • Jess

      No joke on the speed! I tethered with my HD2 for the entirety of the World Cup, and the slowest speed I ever had was 1.5MB. Usually I was around 2.5-3MB. Very smooth streaming of video! I’m in OKC, so we have a pretty good network around here.

  • Geek On The Road

    Take a look at the iPhone bashing ad in another TmoNews post. It clearly shows “Act as a WiFi hotspot” – if that is not another form of tethering, then what is? So it is coming!!!

    • yasuya

      the post to which you are refering was a t-mobile internal memo, not an official ad yet. i’m guessing that it was created without knowledge of the new oct 13th published tethering not allowed development. but yes they do contradict one another. unless t-mo is planning on bringing it back with the launch of the mytouch hd as an officially supported (read charged) service with a proprietary app by which they moniter tethering use. I’ll stick with rooting and using mobileap once cyanogen supports it, because as many have already stated. they have no idea how youre using your data unless you are using one of their apps which reports to them how you are using it. It annoys the crap out of me though that they are going to start charging for it. when i first contracted with t9-mobile back in 2005 it was because they had the cheapest rates and didnt charge for tethering and infact had a device configuration section on their website to help you set up your compatible device as a modem. Granted, modern tethering is somewhat different, if they end up not being any cheaper than Sprint because of a new type of charge i would encure, i’ll drop them like their hot, and get the epic which rather than the g2 or new mytouch(hd)because with that device, i dont have to choose between a front facing camera and faster clockspeed (yes i know it isnt everything) or a physical keyboard. in fact the epic’s keyboard looks better to me than that of the g2 because it has 5 rows instead of 4. sorry for the rant guys, but basically t-mobile, if you charge me extra to tether, you can kiss my a** goodbye.

      • yasuya

        t-mo, not t9-mobile sorry bout that.

      • T-Mobile

        Sure you’ll leave.

  • Geek On The Road

    As long as a carrier offers true unlimited data, I can understand their need to limit the activities. But when a cap is introduced that necessity goes away, as does the morality of charging for tethering or creating a hotspot.

    • yasuya


  • Michael Lococo

    What the heck? I’ve been tethering with T-Mobile for 6 years… although it is infrequent it is an important feature for me… I have based my personal purchasing on this feature. I used to tether using my Motorola Razor via blue tooth and it worked quite well. I don’t do a lot of downloading while tethered, mostly just RDP to the office network to reboot a server or check a process. I must say this seems like they just want to push their USB device as an additional line for this purpose. You know this was one of the features I checked for when I bought my data service… and yes they said it was included.

  • Justin

    You guys, this has been the policy. And yet they still allow phones like the Nexus (native) and The Galaxy (kies) and Blackberrys (desktop manager) to tether. I think if you get thousands of employees letting the “cat out of the bag” then they would have to worry.

    My point is, Verizon disabled kies in the Fascinate, why would T-Mobile not do the same?? They have the right to but for some reason did not. Unless they are oblivious! Doubt that.

    • JB6464

      What is “Kies in the Fascinate” ?

      • podstolom

        It’s something Verizon doesn’t want you to know about lol. The galaxy phones have a desktop manager called Kies that they can synch to, and also allows them to tether. Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and HTC have similar programs (ActiveSync, DesktopManager, HTC Sync) and you attach your phone to these programs through USB Connect options on your phone. I’m a WinMo user, so my Dash3G uses ActiveSync which also allows me to tether through the Internet sharing app on my phone. Technically the syncing feature isn’t necessary to tether, but these applications install PPP(Dialup mode) and NDIS (Network mode) support on the PC which allows tethering to work. Once tethering is enabled, syncing is disabled and restored when tethering is disconnected.

        Verizon disabled Kies as a USB connect option on the Fascinate (I checked that out first thing at a store) but on the TMo vibrant the Kies option is there. Problem is, Kies (and HTC Sync) are both funky pieces of work and are pretty lousy as sync/tether programs go from what I’ve heard. So you are probably better off if you have the Fascinate just to pay the $20 bucks and use VZW Access manager instead which supplies the needed PPP/NDIS support for tethering. Or use PDANet or whatever. I did notice, however, that on the HTC incredible, HTC Sync IS available in the USB connect options. VZW forgot to cripple that one lol.

  • Mike

    When I bought my original Sony/Ericsson T68 from Tmobile years ago, the rep in the store was tethering his personal laptop thru his basic samsung phone right in the store. My next phone was a Tmobile SDA(windows mobile phone)—tethering worked like a charm when I bought a laptop and traveled, albeit slowly, but it got the job done that I needed-checking emails,news,sports, etc. For all you people that try to only use your tethered phone for internet access..too damn bad..it’s not intended for you to do ALL of the things people use internet for unlimited data at a cheap cost. You want total broadband access on your laptop, buy a damn plan for it and stop whining.

    • JB6464

      Why should we when we are already buying 5GB a month on our plans.
      Data is Data,period. How i use it should be up to me.
      Why should T-Mobile sell smart phones with all the high-tech software to us,then say we can’t use half of it it.
      Either let us use it or lock the new phones down like the other big 3 does but don’t tell me in the Corporate Store from a Store Manager it’s ok to tether with a WM phone then months later say it’s not allowed. BS !

  • JB6464

    Wow,that’s sneaky of Verizon to do that.
    Thanks for that info.
    Glad I’m on T-Mobile and not Verizon with my HD2(without contract). I can tether and everything with 3G+ speeds with issues so long as i don’t go over the 5GB cap.

  • JB6464

    I mean with No Issues.

  • http://www.youtube.com/Jeromeo1980 Jeromeo

    I tether all the time on my N900. In my area (Fort Lauderdale) I get an average of 5.9mbps. That’s faster than my stupid Comcast internet! I got my mom a Vibrant and installed custom Froyo so she could tether to her laptop at her house to get to Dancing With The Stars and what ever else mom’s in their late 60’s watch or do on the internet. She pays significantly less to have both a smartphone and internet access at her house without having to add xFinity or uVerse to her pile of bills. T-Mobile should be so happy that she decided to pay them an extra $25 a month instead of $25 to Comcast for the exact same service!
    People keep defending the right of carriers to protect themselves from people using their networks. Is that not the sole purpose of their business? Voice calls are essentially Data, SMS MMS is just data, automatic update of the phone’s date/time is freakin’ data. Did they not expect that people would use their towers, devices, network, etc. for data? Did they not anticipate that data usage would increase year after year? I feel like the largest networks in the world act like “make a couple calls, send a few texts, use an app or two-then stop; you’re a burden on our network”.
    I am concerned T-Mobile will not become like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint and either charge you extra for an app that’s built into the device or cancel your account if they ‘catch’ you tethering.
    T-Mobile has one of the saddest selections of devices of any carrier because of their choice for non-carrier-uniform AWS 3G bands and also not partnering with manufacturers for high end (instead of mid-range) devices. So I believe we deserve the right to tether without an extra fee. If T-Mobile doesn’t want to offer its valued customers extra services, we could just switch to a carrier that offered a beast of a device like EVO, DroidX, Epic, or iPhone.
    Please keep us updated on this story, TMONEWS…

  • http://www.twitter.com/kwanlee Kwan Lee

    I just got off the phone with T-Mobile and they told me the following: Because I have a Blackberry, I will not be charged for tethering (grandfather plan), and the data speeds are capped after 5gb since i have the original unlimited plan. They did mention they will not be walking anyone through it via 611 anymore however. So basically if you can tether already, it is allowed

    • doug

      And that im perfectly fine with! if you’re too lazy or stupid to google how to tether, then quite frankly you dont deserve to use it

      • yasuya

        also Like

  • Jak Crow

    And yet, tmobile’s advertising for the mytouch hd plugs it’s ability to “create a wifi hotspot”. That’s what we call tethering people.

  • http://iandouglas.com ian douglas

    Even if T-Mo has a “we reserve the right to change this contract by providing written notice ahead of time” clause in our contracts, does the fact that they give us this written notice give us, as users, the ability to cancel our contract without ETF’s per federal law passed in 2004, if we don’t agree to the change?

    • Rubinz

      Very valid question. Sprint changes their terms quite often and people leave after the changes with no ETF due to Sprint changing the contract after the fact that you signed it.

      My question was the same as yours, because when the manager at the local T-Mobile store sold me the BB Bold 9700 last December he was very adamant about me being allowed to tether with no extra fee. He also used the same sales tactic when I went in to ask them about the Nexus One before I bought it for the contract rate. Free tethering was the key selling talking point he used to get me on board.

  • Jim March

    OK, this is officially insane.

    The *stores* have all been saying Tmobile is at least tether-tolerant. I have the oldest Tmobile 3G phone, the Sony-Ericsson TM506. It’s not tether-blocked. I’ve been able to get speeds close to what I was getting with a Verizon datacard – and the phone was able to do voice calls while I was connected. It was a very happy thing and no, I wasn’t going anywhere near 5gb/mo, it’s not my primary connection.

    So basically, instead of paying Verizon $60/mo for the datacard (capped at 10gb/mo with my older plan) and $80/mo for unlimited voice (and a much larger coverage area on both than Tmobile), I’ve been paying Tmobile $70/mo for unlimited voice/text and $10/mo extra for data. Saved money over Verizon, but lost a lot of coverage area. I was OK with that on balance. (Paid $60 cash for the phone at a pawn shop, LOL…so at least I’m not on a long-term contract.)

    Now Tmobile is cracking down on tethering? God…dammit. If they do they’re killing off the only reason I went with them. If they want me to pay a bunch extra to do data, well hell, it’s not worth it, because their coverage area blows chunks compared to Verizon or Sprint.

    Frackin’ idiots.

  • daryl

    here in the UK t-mobile allow customers to pay a premium to tether.

    from memory I think it equates to about 40% of the cost of the web’n’walk.

    I am happy to pay the premium but realise that it would be difficult for them to cotton on if I was tethering unofficially.

    That said I have been tethering via bluetooth since before gprs.