Confirmed: HTC Sensation 4G Ice Cream Sandwich Update Will End Free Tethering

Tomorrows upgrade of the HTC Sensation 4G to Ice Cream Sandwich ends a lengthy and often frustrating wait for owners of the much-loved T-Mobile smartphone. Sensation 4G owners should be aware of one warning before going through with tomorrows upgrade: the end of the T-Mobile’s (unofficially) free tethering plan. A T-Mobile representative told PCMag the company will begin enforcing it’s $15 per month wireless hotspot plan.

T-Mobile has always officially charged $15 for the hotspot access plan however, users were often given a free pass the company leading many to question what official company policy truly was.

“T-Mobile began offering a Smartphone Mobile Hotspot plan in November 2010. However, due to technical limitations with software, customers were not being charged for the feature on select T-Mobile products,” a T-Mobile representative said. “Customers who choose to upgrade their HTC Sensation 4G to the optional Android 4.0 (ICS) software update will be required to sign up for the $14.99 Smartphone Mobile Hotspot plan.”

T-Mobile emphasizes that the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update itself is free, only that the hotspot feature will cost extra. A disappointment to be certain, but all good things have to come to an end.

PCMag

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  • GinaDee

    What about those of us who have the Premium Data Plan that includes free Mobile HotSpot?

    • knightsray

      you’re fine

    • jessejames111981

       serious?

    • ogopogo

       Did you just read what you wrote?

    • remister

      How much would you pay for FREE?

  • Rich N

    crap. I use this too infrequent in emergency situations. I was just asking about this yesterday. Thanks for confirming. 

    • CalicoKJ

       If you’re really infrequent, I would check out PDANet or something along those lines. I used it the one week I was traveling to a hotel with no free internet. Of course I did the honest thing and paid T-Mo that week as well, but looking back I’m not sure that they really would have noticed…

  • Rich N

    crap. I use this too infrequent in emergency situations. I was just asking about this yesterday. Thanks for confirming. 

  • MarcusDW

    A mere hurdle for those who really want the feature.

  • Get_at_Me

    knew this was coming….im not sure if its still available, but there was a promo data plan (5gb and 10gb that gave free hotspot and 10GB of mobile life cloud storage)…If you’re tethering frequently, you’re better off with a higher data plan anyway and its built in…This promo data plan is a pretty good value…if it still exists

  • Rashard Mccallum

    I’ll be rooting my device today….

  • Legione13

    Does anybody know which of the newer phones does/will allow free tethering? I’m thinking about the One S, Galaxy Nexus, and Galaxy S III, specifically. 

    My G2 allows it, and while I do not use it very often, I do NOT want to lose that feature. It’s been pretty handy a few times. 

    • http://www.unscripted360.com/ Deacon

      the One S doesn’t allow it .. the feature is built to reject unless a plan is on the phone for all ICS devices on TMO.

      • LeprechaunLiam

        Bought my One S 4/29.  I just turned “Mobile Hotspot” (with Tmobile symbol on the icon) on with no problem.  I’m on a classic plan with unlimited minutes, texting, data.
        YMMV

        • http://www.unscripted360.com/ Deacon

          you can turn it on but devices won’t be able to connect to it unless you have a data plan that allows for the feature.

    • Phil

       I had free tethering on my G2 forever and recently upgraded my phone to an unlocked Galaxy Nexus (bought from the Play store).  Still have my free tethering..

    • Grimbeaver

      I think in the past it was largely based on usage.  If you only use if a few times a year for not much data I think they let you get by depending on what plan you are on.

  • http://www.unscripted360.com/ Deacon

    they don’t have to pay the $14.99 though .. i mean it sucks but you can actually adjust your plan to where you’re paying at most $5-$10 extra .. not saying that’s a good thing just sharing the info.

  • whosaidwhat

    All the advantages for being with T-Mobile are disappearing fast. I have no reason to stay with them after my contract is over.  

    • Mat456

      I pay $59 unlimited all (talk+text+data2Gb) with T-Mobile. GOOD LUCK finding something similar from Verizon, Sprint or AT&T. Never buy T-Mobile branded crapware (SIII, One S, Amaze, Sensation, etc) get a Galaxy Nexus.

      • whosaidwhat

        Cheap doesn’t = Better. Most people (like myself) stick with “cheap” even though coverage might still be terrible. At some point, you have to weigh your options and see if the $10 extra with a different carrier provides a better overall user experience. I’ve always argued with people that T-Mobile is the only company that understands the whole tethering thing. Now, they take it away.

        Just like all the other carriers (crooks) out there, 2GB of data purchased should be used however the heck the user wants. On top of that, whatever, I don’t use should be rolled over to the next month. I rather have that than have my data plan throttled. 

        BTW…I know all about rooting but the average Joe probably doesn’t, and that’s why I strongly feel this is wrong by all the carriers.

  • Lordfinesse

    I have a Galaxy Nexus and I use to have a G2, so the tethering feature is something I cherish. However does the app Foxfi work for the sensation?  FoxFi is on the Google Play store (not for Sprint), and it offers free wireless tether for Android users.  

    • rickerlore

      I have heard that will work with the sensation if you use the Bluetooth option..but this was before i.c.s

  • Marc Klein

    A T Mo Rep told me that the hot spot feature is part of my data plan so maybe this is something different?

    • LC

      The new 5 GB plan has the hotspot feature included in with the data plan.

      • Marc Klein

        It’;s not new. I was on it till recently… I downgraded to 2 GB to save money.

        • Yogi

          My family Value Plan has three smartphones on it that I upgraded from 2GB to 5GB each just to get the included mobile hotspot feature. The problem is, while each phone does do some limited tethering each month, they don’t do enough to justify 5GB. In fact, I just checked and they’ve each hovered around 1GB per month for the past three months. I would like to drop them back down to 2GB each to save $45 per month ($15 each), but I would lose the included mobile hotspot feature. Since mobile hotspot is $15 per month by itself, it ends up being a wash.

      • nathan118

        How much does that plan cost?

  • nathan118

    Just got a tethering/hotspot page while tethering my Galaxy Nexus. Looks like I’m at 4.7gb used on my grandfathered 5gb plan.

    Interestingly enough, it’s only blocking me in Chrome (which I use the most). Running in IE, it still works fine. I installed a User Agent switcher in chrome, and spoofed that I was running IE 10, and chrome is now working again via tethering.

    And the most annoying part….almost all that data usage is from the cloud, on my phone…not from tethering.

    • zifnab

      And that’s why when new phones come out lacking large onboard storage I get irritated when people are like “Just use the cloud”… It’s not a solution unless you can be on wifi all day.

  • nathan118

    User Agent switcher I’m using can also spoof “android handset,” so that’s an even better option.

  • nathan118

    At least when tethering…otherwise I get mobile versions of all the sites, haha.

  • http://benpike.net/ Ben Pike

    This means nothing to those of us who know what we’re doing.

    Google (and XDA) is your friend, guys…

    • Marc Klein

      But voids the warranty.

      • Derrick

        How often do you use that warranty….think about it and do the smart thing, especially if you own the device with the data you pay for. 5gb of data beit shred is the same 5gb of data on the phone itself.

        root your phone…it is yours and use your data subscription however you choose!

        • Derrick

          oooops typo. “shred” is supposed to be “shared”

        • Marc Klein

          ALright.. I’ll try it. How do I root the sensation and is it done from the phone itself?

  • Daddym469

    OK WHY IS THE TRUTH NOT BEING MENTIONED….MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THIS IS MORE ABOUT THE PHONE THAN THE FEATURE ITSELF. ALSO USING A SOFTWARE UPDATE ESSENTIALLY AS A BAIT AND SWITCH IS WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS…. AFTER READING THIS IT APPEARS IF YOU WANT THE ICS UPDATE ON YOUR SENSATION…THE HOTSPOT FEATURE MUST BE ADDED OR ARE THEY SAYING THIS UPDATE WILL KILL ITS FREE USAGE?? I AM A LIL KORNFUSED….AS MY DAUGHTER WOULD SAY!

    • TMOTECH

      WHY ARE YOU YELLING? I THINK YOUR CAPS LOCK IS STUCK ON AND YOU ARE BLIND SO YOU DIDN’T NOTICE!!!!

      Seriously though. The truth is that they did not have the ability to charge you for the Hot Spot function before and now they do. So they are. This is because they also sell a hot spot only device and aren’t selling them because most just use their cell phone. They are in the business of making money and the free hot spot feature uses a lot of bandwidth. When you let your cousin or your neighbor use the hot spot they are getting free data and T-Mobile wants to be compensated for it. I do not think this is unreasonable. All the other carriers charge for this feature already. T-Mobile is just catching up. 

      • nathan118

        When I tether because I’d rather use my laptop for browsing than my phone, I’m using the same data, just in a different way. Why should I be charged for that?

        • TMOTECH

          I hear ya. But unfortunately they don’t know if you are tethering your laptop or sharing it with the whole frickin Starbucks on the corner. They have to draw the  line somewhere. Just do what others have suggested and use an agent switcher or use the terribly bloated IE… Ouch. Hate IE

        • nathan118

          There’s already a limit to the amount of data I can use. Once I hit my limit, it becomes pretty darned slow I’m guessing.

          So let me use the fricking data that I pay for however I want.

        • TMOTECH

          Good point. Hard to argue that. 

        • Third_Eye

          Welcome to the United States where in the wireless carriers  

          a) Will advertise Unlimited Bandwidth 
          b) Limit your unlimited bandwidth by throttling openly (like TMo) or ambiguously like ATT 
          c) Decide what kind of activity would qualify for “unlimited” bandwidth
          d) Decide which are the things that would even be allowed for limited bandwidth else charge for the privilege 

          All in the name of FREEDOM :-) 

    • Grimbeaver

      It was never officially a feature so you can’t claim bait and switch, loss of functionality, etc.

      • zifnab

        It is a loss of functioanlity, its been in Android since the Nexus One, T-Mobile has just decided they would like to make money off of something they didn’t create, while the user uses data they already paid for.

  • Dallas2046

    I’m using a rooted G2 running ICS 4.0.4 and I started experiencing redirects to TMO‘s teething sign up page today when teethering using Chrome. Firefox works fine for now…

    • nathan118

      Get a user agent switcher for chrome in the chrome webstore.

  • rob

    Does this go for prepaid customers as well?…

  • Caseybea

    This may be dumb, but this really only applies to TMOBILE device(s), with software updated FROM tmobile, right?    I am going to assume that my unlocked non-tmobile galaxy nexus will still tether just fine.   Or am I missing something?

    • nathan118

      Some of us on Galaxy Nexus phones are getting sign up pages using Chrome when tethering, so yes, you’re missing something. Changing the user agent fixes it.

  • http://twitter.com/thehalfling Kevin Gray

    The short story here is that on most of the android devices that started offering tethering as an option, it was left to the network to figure it out.  So, over enough time, tethering will stop working for free in most cases.  Newer devices/os versions have a software function in the device that confirms the presence of the tethering feature so it stops right away.  There are ways around it, but there are still the promo bundles available that would end up being $5 more for most people.  

  • Marc Klein

    Which means the warranties are still valid?

    • http://benpike.net/ Ben Pike

      Yes, BUT you are most likely breaking some portion of your user agreement…

  • Pfinferno87

    I apologize in advance if this is a stupid question, and perhaps I’m just misreading the article, but I don’t use tethering or hotspot (never have, and at this point in time I don’t really plan on using it). I bought the Sensation when I heard it would be updated to ICS. Does this mean I will have to pay 15 a month even if I don’t use tethering? Am I not able to download ICS unless I agree to pay more each month for a feature I never use?

    • http://www.thegadgetgurus.net Vic

      The upgrade is free. If you wish to use tethering, you have to pay $15/m now for it.

    • Primus42

      You only have to add the feature if you intend on tethering

    • nxtiak

      No you’re fine, after the ICS update, if and when you do click on the tethering option it will tell you that doing so you will enroll in the Tethering/Hotspot feature for $15/month (like all their other phones tell you). You can say no.

    • Pfinferno87

      Alright, cool. Thanks for the info then, everybody. I appreciate it.

  • bwinger79

    If they use the same method they used on the SGS2….you should be able to root and remove TetherManager.apk (/system/app) and bypass paying and additional $15/month for the same data you already pay for…..which should be criminal IMO….especially seeing as they already throttle you after you reach your “full speed data” limit.

  • Caseybea

    I use tethering MAYBE once or twice a month, and only in an emergency (I do sysadmin work).    Certainly NOT worth the 15 bucks a month EXTRA for the privilege of actually using the data I’ve already paid for…   so it appears I’ll go back to rooting and/or user-agent-switching depending on what is necessary for it to keep working. 

    Stupid.     I too, am liking T-Mobile less and less.

    (dear Tmobile, I bet if you changed it to $5, almost everyone, including me, would pay… just sayin’)

    • zifnab

      Agreed, $15 for a feature they didn’t create and don’t have to manage is a bit steep.

  • Rollk1

    So will you be asked to sign up once you turn on the hotspot? Or is the $15 automatically applied, hotspot used or not.

  • Mr_Slurpee

    The way I see it, I pay for 5 gb of high speed data a month. If I choose to tell someone my WiFi hotspot password, I’m agreeing to delegate some of my bandwidth to them. T-Mobile should have no right to charge me twice for the same data.

  • Brista

    i hate the fact if i wanna tether i get charged twice for internet i already pay for. its not like you can tether a lot of devices at once so y charge me twice for internet i already pay for?

    • Dumbazz

      Maybe next time before you take a discounted phone you will read your contract and understand what you’re agreeing to.

      I can see perfectly why mobile providers don’t want their network potentially abused by this activity.

      Don’t like it? READ AND UNDERSTAND your contract BEFORE agreeing to it!

      • zifnab

        Even if it wasn’t discounted it would still be blocked, so what exactly does discount have to do with it?

        And abused? If you paid for a certain amount of data, how is it abuse to use said amount of data? i’m perfectly aware its in the contract, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re making money off a feature that they neither created, or are effected by. If you run past your data, you get throttled, it didn’t matter how that data was pulled down. 

        Its cool, i’ll just leave pandora running the last 2 days of the month to ensure I use every drop of data every month… f* tmobile.

        • Dumbazz

          Do you need a hug?

  • skippy1960

    just spoke with customer care….they said it is only if you use it…also would not confirm update to ICS

  • NeedNewPhone

    Let’s say I upgrade to ICS, but never use Tethering. Later, if I want to use it, can I just restore the phone to factory settings and use the ‘free’ tethering app as it is now? Giving up ICS of course.

  • Marc Klein

    I don’t understand why you can’t continue to use it off your data plan? Since we’re already paying for it I feel like we are getting screwed here .. But question: What about places that have free wi fi hotspots. Does this mean we still get charged? I spoke to some T Mobile reps (store and on phone) and they told me that as long as you have a date plan, using the hotspot won’t cost you extra so why do I feel like I’m being f%%%%d in the A$$?

    • Dumbazz

      So you don’t read the contract you sign?
      Take some responsibility for yourself.

  • Danny_Aves

    Doesn’t work with HTC phones, only Bluetooth tethering will work.

    • Miss_emily_nicole

      I have a HTC Phone and PDANet works fine!

      • Danny_Aves

        Strange….PDANet uses FoxFi and FoxFi says it doesn’t work:
        “Turns your Android phone into free WiFi Hotspot – no rooting or tether plan required. Just install and turn it on. Bluetooth mode works for all phones. WiFi mode currently works on most Samsung/Motorola/LG phones. WiFi mode does NOT work on Motorola Droid 1, Motorola Triumph, Samsung Admire, LG Revolution or any HTC phones, use Bluetooth mode instead”

        • Miss_emily_nicole

          In order for it to work for example on my laptop, I turn on PDANet on my phone, hook it up to my USB cable and connect to the laptop. I just had to make sure that PDANet was on my laptop so that it could recognize it. I am using HTC Desire Z (T-Mobile G-2) and maybe HTC or T-Mobile didn’t realize it works or something. I know that I don’t have to use Bluetooth Mode.

  • Gmoez16

    if that’s the case….FORGET UPGRADING…..

  • Newbury

    Is this only for the WiFi tethering? Will I still be able to connect my phone to laptop with the power cord and use internet there that way?

    • Fake1

      Nope — $15 for that too — all considered tethering 

  • guest

    So lets get some official information out here since most people just want to voice an opinion, and unfortunately the service you pay for its based on your opinion. This would be section 11 of the T&C of service that you agree to when signing up…  ***Your Data Plan is intended for Web browsing, messaging, and similar activities on your Device and not on any other equipment. Unless explicitly permitted by your Data Plan, other uses, including for example, using your Device as a modem or tethering your Device to a personal computer or other hardware, are not permitted***. Since you are agreeing to this when you activate seems like being charged for an extra feature isn’t THAT crazy.

    • Dumbazz

      You are expecting a lot from people on this forum to use rational thought and facts to debate this.

  • FakeEmail

    When I get my 1st Smartphone and they tell me I can use Hotspot at any time and it will charge me 50 cents a day, that’s what I expect to get — hit the Hotspot button and its ready to go for 50 cents — that’s fine and what they said — not my fault it hasn’t been charging me the few times I use it

    now they want me to jump through hoops and pay $15 a month — forget it 

  • ANGELEDVIL75

    WELLL ANOTHER RAZON TO GO ROOT  :p !!!!!!

  • Mueller2051

    I have 3 tmobil phones the
    htc amaze, sensation and galaxy g4

    1 The htc amaze has never
    allowed me to use the phone for hotspot with out buying the hotspot feature. If
    I connect my laptop it will direct me to tmobil as soon as I connect to the
    internet

    2 The galaxy 4g use to work
    with the hotspot feature with out the add-on. But suddenly become blocked for
    no reason redirecting me to tmobil. I can only conclude that it was possible
    that mobile added the block due to my heavy use of data

    3 The sensation has worked
    fine as a hotspot with out the added feature from tmobil. I do not have this
    feature on my sensation and not had to pay for it. But if I update to ics I
    will be blocked and redirected to tmobil to buy the feature to allow me to use
    the internet on my laptop. If you already pay for the feature it will not affect
    you unless you drop the feature

    Always a catch that sucks I
    do have ics on my amaze already and honestly not sure ics is worth it on the
    sensation considering the hotspot will cost me 180 at full price for a year or
    with a promotion plan where hotspot only 5 dollar more but still cost 60 dollars
    a year

  • FakeEmail

    Yep — I bought a Sensation last June and was told Hotspot would work for 50 cents a day, if used — I use it when I go to the beach where there is no internet — Its great to have 4g wifi when you need it — my phone is stock and works GREAT with Gingerbread — I guess I’ll turn updates OFF and stick with GB so I have Hotspot available when needed 

    I helped a buddy of mine get an Amaze for free in October — he’s never tried Hotspot I dont think, and it sounds like yur saying his Hotspot wont work like my Sensation — so he should go ahead with the ICS update I guess

  • sorandkairi

    Anyone have a good build (stable rom) for ICS4.0 with sense 4.0! I’d rather just do that… Was looking at CYANMOD nightly for this phone but its been a while since I’ve rooted a phone… I still need to get S-OFF…. : /

    • http://twitter.com/puertoricanshan shan

      i use Android Revolution HD….ICS 4.0.3 with Sense 3.6….runs like a gem!! Super fast and awesome capabilities!!

  • Mueller2051

    yea my htc amaze never allowed me to use the internet  bought it last november  figured the softwear to block the hotspot with out  paying for it was already installed when they introduced it. so updating the amaze make no diffrence

  • circa476

    the tethering was never a traceable feature on tmobile’s network so if you had a device that would allow you to tethering then you were good to go…however if you asked about tethering when purchasing a device then reps would say thats an extra 15 buck…If you root the Amaze you would still be able to tether for free….They caught slack behind the scenes that why the company included the 15 tethering into the 30 plan…so long story short…reps were told to try to sell the tethering options…if a customer asked 15 buck…if not it was free…

  • circa476

    The use of web on the actual device vs tethering is no different…there were no red flags raised on your account if you tethered… .50 per day is $15 per month….

    • FakeEmail

      I realize .50 a day is $15 a month — but I was told it would only charge me .50 a day if I used it, which would be fine — I only use it 2-3 days a month, so no big deal — its sooo simple now

      today they said I would have to add Hotspot online or call each time I need it, then call again or get online to remove it, and it would pro-rate for how many days used — and they said it could take an hour or 2 to take affect when you add it — just makes it a pain in the ass to use now

    • FakeEmail

      effect — sorry

      It’s not that big of a deal — its still doable with ICS — just not nearly as quick and convenient 

  • mueller2051

    never asked them  just the amaze always blocked and redirected to tmobil from the day i owned it.   sensation never

  • Mueller2051

    point is the amaze already has the blocking softwear in the phone the sensation dont unless i upgrade

  • http://twitter.com/puertoricanshan shan

    Rooting is so easy! Just root!

  • http://twitter.com/305Buddyluv BuddyLuv

    Well Tmo, I guess am gonna drop you guys for ATT. This was on thing that was keeping me on your network. Now that its gone, am gone.

    • Haha

      You are an idiot.

    • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

      ATT charges $20 for hotspot. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    • Data Renegade

      So if your food stamps get cut off your gonna quit eating? Can’t get everything for free. Don’t be a bum.

  • S2j3607

    So tmo is forcing ppl to have the hotspots feature, and customers that have no use for a hotspots have to pay $15 a month for a feature they will never use???

    • Philyew

      NO! They are not forcing anyone to have the hotspot feature. They are simply saying, if you want it, you will have to subscribe to the $14.99 plan. If you don’t want it, you are welcome to update to ICS, but there will be not wifi hotspot capability enabled.

    • krazytrixxxsta

      lmao…. go read the article a hundred more time.

  • Aaa

    can’t you just use apn manager to point tethering to data?

  • nerdlust

    its all good with me. Im happy with the great rates im paying with tmobile. My office is next door to an att store and they do have great products but even with my 24% corp discount at att i would still pay more money then what im paying now with tmobile. The one time i took my laptop with me on vacation was going to try the hotspot the hotel had free high speed for guest. 

    • WW

      Same here.  Love their rates.  

      My employer also gets me discounts with the 4 national carriers.  With Sprint and AT&T (never priced BigRed), I get 24%-25% discount on the base plan but none on any add on services (like additional lines, hotspot, txt, etc.).  The TMo discount is only 10% but that’s on all lines and add-ons.  

      My bill for 5 phone Value Family plan is only $120.  All with unlimited txt & TMo to TMo.
      2 unlimited everything (2gb, 5gb data) Androids  
      2 500 minutes (kids with 200mb data) Androids (this is their 1st month so I don’t know if I’ll have to up them to the 2gb plan but that’ll only cost $10 more total)  
      1 500 minute feature phone (no data)  

  • Joshua

    Will I am a Sensation 4G hotspot user. I enjoy the freedom of my Sensation hotspot and being able to use my hotspot for my laptop in case I need it just a couple MB and not pay for it. I don’t find the use to pay just for a couple of MB plus never go over my monthly limit for 4G. So i find it unfair to pay for data and then pay to share for it if I don’t exceed the limits or abuse it when it was a free service in the first place by the cell phone maker and not the service provider. I think I will stay with Gingerbread.

    • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

      The 5GB plan promo is still running and it includes hotspot at no additional cost… so… yeah.

      • zifnab

        So the answer is to increase my data plan, and thus my cost, while also refreshing my 2 year contract… thats not really that we were looking for.

        • guest

          Changing your data plan doesnt renew contracts. you can go from 2gbs up to 10gb plans and back down all day long but that wont extend your phone lines contract. only changing the base rate of your minute plan or your family plan renews your contracts…or performing an upgrade. And if you are hardly using it then throw an extra usb cable in your car and tether manually. problem solved.

        • WW

          It’s coming so if you don’t have a way to mask your usage, you gotta pay it.  

          This is also a pro-rated service so you can actually enable/disable it on a daily basis and only get charged for it on days you use it.  

          Personally, I tried it that way but got tired of calling in (or logging in) to activate/de-activate it so upgraded my data to the 5gb plan with free hotspot and some photo upload service.