Reports are highlighting that AT&T and Wireless handsets in the US are blocking the free tethering application ‘Wireless Tether’ – stopping users from downloading it. Sprint customers however can still access the software.
A Google spokesman has said that they are not blocking the application. Instead it appears that they are making it ‘unavailable’ for download via certain carrier networks. The Google spokesman said that if an application is in direct violation of the terms and conditions of a usage contract then the carrier can ask Google to make the app unavailable.
So while the applications are available on the Google Market, it appears that certain users on specific networks will not be able to see them. A KitGuru user from California said it is relatively easy to bypass this system by simply installing the application from another means, rather than directly from the Google Market. The applications which are ‘invisible’ will still work on the phone.
AT&T in the states have made a big effort to ensure that customers pay to use their smartphones as wireless modems. They have been sending email warnings to specific users on their network who are tethering phones without paying the extra fee. They charge $20 a month for this tethering feature, which allows a 4GB data use throughout the month. Customers exceeding this limit are then billed $10 extra, per gigabyte.
KitGuru says: Is this a sign of what is to come, with carriers in the US blocking specific applications they don’t like?